Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lessons Learnt In Portugal

Before leaving Edinburgh I managed to fit a few more things in. The previous Tuesday Jenni and I caught the bus over to Glasgow to go shopping for the day. In all the time I had lived in Edinburgh I had only gone to Glasgow once and that was at night for a Monkees concert. Random.
Jenni introduced me to Primark which is a cheap clothing store. All new and all cheap. We went wild! I loved it and we shopped until we dropped! Stopping only to refuel for lunch.
While walking down the main pedestrian walkway I saw a Hare Krishna so started talking to him and it just so happened that he remembered Averil and Eru from their WWOOFing stint at the Hare Krishna community there in Glasgow. He seemed really nice and I ended up buying the `Monk Rock´CD he was selling. I figured it was the least I could do seeing as they all looked after Averil and Eru so well.
We caught the bus back to Edinburgh and by the time we got back to Jenni´s our arms were a little longer and our wallets a little lighter.

The following Tuesday we met up with Jenni´s friends to go walking around (not up to the top as proclaimed in the last blog) the base of Arthur´s Seat. The Queen was having her annual garden party at Holyrood Palace so there were people and cars everywhere. Most people were all dressed up looking lovely. I stopped to talk to a policeman to see what was happening and asked what the chances were of us getting in. He said there was no chance. I think it was my unsuitable footwear that let us down. A bit too casual.

On the way around the base of Arthur´s seat we saw the royal helicopter and then not long after it flew off so that was a little exciting for us plebs.

On my final night in Edinburgh we went around to my friend Emma´s house for dinner and it was lovely. She has a nice wee flat in Leith and we had a wonderful risotto dinner with salad. Mmmmm. It was really great to see her again.

Which brings me to Thursday - goodbye Scotland, hello Portugal!
I flew with Easyjet and little did I know they don´t assign seats. As soon as I got on board it was a free for all scrum to an available seat. I was right down the back with a stag party who were actually very well behaved. The poor stag was wearing an all in one skin tone body suit and a blonde wig. At least I think that was the stag... oh, and a green sequined g string. Nice. He must have been boiling. Poor guy.

After arriving in Lisbon I got the bus into the city centre, then the train out to Cascais, then a taxi to the Happy Home that I had already booked on the internet. Unfortunately when I arrived they had no room for me. Had I been travelling with someone else we probably would have just laughed about it but I wasn´t and I didn´t. I felt very close to tears. As it turned out the lady owner was absolutely delightful and had organised for me to stay with her daughter and son-in-law which actually turned out better as they were only a 5 min walk to the centre of Cascais. They were very welcoming and lovely. I didn´t see a lot of them but the man (Pedro) dropped me off around at Claire & Helder´s apartment for dinner on Thursday night which was very kind of him.

On Friday I went walking around Cascais... for 7 hours to be precise! Cascais is beautiful and right on the coast. I even sat on the beach for about an hour but wasn´t game enough to go into the icy cold water even though the outside temperatures during the day were reaching 30 degrees.

Saturday was Claire and Helder´s wedding day. I got up early and went for a walk down to the nearby markets which are held on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. They were massive! Selling fresh produce, flowers, fish, and baked goods. It was amazing just watching.

Then I went home and got ready for the wedding. I caught a taxi to another hotel where Claire´s workmates were staying and had very kindly offered to share a cab with me.
One thing I found was the taxi drivers in Portugal don´t seem to know where they are going and this taxi driver was no exception. After dropping us first at the wrong church (luckily the driver checked before leaving us stranded) she then couldn´t find the correct church even though we had the address. She ended up asking a group of policemen who, after a lot of discussion, decided they knew where we needed to go and so escorted us there! How to arrive in style!
The church was lovely and Claire, Helder, and the service were beautiful! The ceremony was all in English AND they had Lord Of The Dance as one of the songs - My favourite!! After the ceremony we had a chartered bus to take us to the reception which was at a restaurant on the beach. The setting was amazing. The food was to die for. The whole wedding was absolutely magical.

Claire had even organised a message from Bryan Adams (Helder´s favourite singer) congratulating them both on their special day. Amazing.
It really was a special day.

Sunday was Helder and his twin brother, Sergio, birthday so we all had a big family dinner out at a restaurant. The meal was very nice and consisted of `hanging meat´- meat on a skewer hanging from a stand. Interesting, but yummy. I also learnt the name for a knife in Portugese is a `faca´- sounds like tucker but with an `F´. Of course I had to ask Claire to pass me the little faca from down the table. Oh, how we laughed. It was a most enjoyable evening and Helder´s family were just so welcoming and lovely. We all left with very full tummies.

On Monday I left Cascais to go to Lisbon for two nights. The taxi driver was very kind and gave me his card in case I had any problems and said just to give him a call. He also gave some good advice about when getting a taxi from any airport to always go to the departures side to get one as the arrivals taxis will pay a fee to work from the airport which of course, will be added on to the fare. Good to know.

Tuesday I went on an open topped bus tour of Lisbon. There were queues for EVERYTHING so I only got off at a couple of stops but Lisbon city is beautiful . The footpaths are cobbled which look beautiful but can be dangerous and are very slippery. Yesterday I nearly fell over while walking down a walkway. My foot twisted in one of the grooves between cobblestones and I have a nice wee bruise today. I hope no one saw!

I checked out of the hotel this morning only to be greeted with a whopping phone bill of 161.25 Euro for a 15 minute call I made to Mum last night. I nearly fell over and possibly asked for a knife. I am just about to head of to the airport for my next flight to Germany where I will meet up with Jenni again. Hooray! I´m not sure I´m really cut out for travelling alone. I much prefer having someone else there to talk to and laugh with.


  1. You are having some wonderful adventures and we're only sorry you cannot upload the associated photographs - something for us to look forward to when you get back to NZ. We remember well the Lisbon streets - utterly lethal. Heaven knows what they must be like after a shower. As for Easyjet - just be thankful it wasn't Ryanair. Not for the fainhearted!! xx

  2. I do have to keep laughing when I think about the knife. Good to know your vocabulary is increasing. Travel really does increase your knowledge. xxxx