Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Lisboa, Rain & Caipirinhas.

The 3rd - 8th December, for some wonderful reason, was an extra long 'puente,' - meaning bridge in Spanish and basically like a Bank Holiday. So for the 6 days from Friday morning to today, Wednesday morning, we (Nick, Danica, Rachel, Mike & Christy) decided to plan a trip to Portugal, seeing as we're 'close.'

'Close' maybe only by looking at a map...

On Friday morning we had a 9 hour trip ahead of us. One bus into Seville, at 10am taking 2 hours. A coach from Seville to Lisbon at 2pm, taking 7 hours. Fair to say we were glad to get off and use our legs after so long.

We checked in at Hostel Shiado right in the centre of Lisbon. Honestly, it was an amazing hostel and easily the best I have ever stayed in so far. For the location, the price didn't need to be so cheap and the service didn't need to be as great, but it was. The staff were really friendly & spoke multiple languages, always helps when you don't know any Portuguese at all, the breakfast (muesli, cornflakes, good bread, croissants, fresh orange juice, tea/coffee & an apple) was always fresh, tasty & plenty of it! The rooms were modern and clean, the bathrooms too. Which I've got to admit is the first time I've ever used a hostel bathroom (shower), usually they look like you might catch more things while you're trying to clean yourself than is worthwhile. Oh, and there was heating in the bedrooms! After being in a flat for three months without any heating, that feels like you're somewhere in the Antarctic, this was a great bonus.

Lisboa Centre.

Monastery Lisboa

The first day we explored a lot of Lisboa. Not sure I've ever done so much walking. We saw the Monastery, Castelo d. Sao Jorge, ate in a tiny but great café, walked around Lisbon at night, which was lovely because of all the Christmas lights and then later had some typical Portuguese food.. Although I'm still not exactly sure what I ordered.
Portuguese soups & beers.
My favourite part of Lisbon was the tram that runs through most of the city centre. They are tiny, yellow & white, the insides look like something from the 1950s and you pay 1.50 euro to just ride around wherever you want. They were cramped and slightly smelly, it was a bumpy ride but very fun and a great way to see some sights.

Me & Christy on the tram.

One thing I noticed, is that Portugal has a very 'old,' feeling to it. You can tell by the many multi-coloured buildings that the majority have seen better days. Also (probably just because of the weather; rain and icy cold!) for a lot of the time, I felt like I should be in Russia or Poland. The Portuguese language is very unusual sounding, to me anyway. It has a lot of similar sounds to Russian, but with Spanish / Italian accents. I kept expecting someone in a big furry hat and long trench coat to come over and say 'zdrastvweetye.' I did love being somewhere I didn't understand the language though, in a way is was a nice break from Spain and not having to focus on what was being said. But clearly it did have its disadvantages and you do end up feeling slightly hopeless!

Anyway, on one of the nights we went out into Lisboa to Barrio Alto, a place full of bars & restaurants. We happened to bump into this guy, who was a street musician. I had had too many caipirinhas by this point and decided to barter his album down to 7 Euros. He then decided to sign it, as he claimed he was already famous, and then sang my name to the beat of one of his songs.

He definitely made the night interesting! And actually the CD isn't too bad. It was worth 7 Euro for the entertainment anyway.

The next day, its safe to say I suffered from a caipirinha nightmare of a hangover. We then had to travel for 14 hours back to Estepa... The fun.

We set off at 9pm Tuesday and got back here at 11am Wednesday...

Although a great time, I've definitely had enough of coach journeys for a while.

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