Day 27 – Lisbon and Madrid, Portugal to Spain

We woke up, checked out and had breakfast before doing the most important thing on my trip so far… went back to Orion to buy all of the pastel de feijao there (unfortunately there was only 5 to share between us ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ) With that I said goodbye to Maxwell and went back to the hostel to plan how I was going to get to France.

I had a bit of a chat to a couple of guests and workers at the hostel, who then let me control the music being played hehe. The person at the bar was experimenting making up a new cocktail and gave it to me to try, why thank you. ย Then I went and bought groceries with the hostel’s chef (yes they had a chef) and found out he was originally from Sintra and cooking up a traditional Portuguese feast that night. While he was cooking he gave me a taste of the octopus and I actually really liked it (coming from a person who limits her seafood intake to fish. Just fish).

I then left for the train station, a little nervous of the long trip ahead of me and using my eurail pass for the first time. I was also freaking out about my phone being nearly dead and not having a way to contact my host in France when I arrived or in case anything bad happened. I hopped on a night train from Lisbon and arrived early in the morning at Madrid.

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Day 26 – Lisbon, Portugal

It was a bit rainy today so we planned to go look at the subway street art.. but couldn’t actually find anything? Oh well, we found 1kg of delicious strawberries for just 1 euro!! Food makes every day good haha.ย 

Anyway, all that day we roamed around looking at the interesting architecture. We stopped for a coffee and saw this old man feeding pigeons, how sweet. Until he suddenly started trying to kick them away. It was so funny, he had an umbrella, and to try get rid of the birds he would do this series of moves.

1. Umbrella in position and pointing at prey

2. Strike out at birds

3. Open up umbrella mid strike

4. Return to first position.

This whole series was done in this really slow sweeping motion that I will never be able to describe properly but it was honestly one of the funniest things I have ever seen.

We then began walking around again, and found a couple of art gallery houses (I think thats the best way to describe them?) In one of them we walked around all these really really old rooms that some were being used to display these abstract creations. We walked around then found some stairs. I didn’t really think it looked like we were meant to go down there but if we weren’t allowed it would be blocked off right? So down we went and found a kitchen and OH oops a couple of live-in artists who were extremely confused about why we were down there. After we were escorted out of their temporary home we found the actual art gallery we were supposed to look at.ย 

We continued exploring throughout the town and found a cafe to try some more Portuguese pastries. The name of the place was called “Orion” and has been around since 1945. We asked the cafe workers what they recommend us to try today so shared a mug of tea, a savoury.. thing with pumpkin in it, a chocolate and almond biscuit and……ย 

Pastel de feijao

These are the most amazing things that have ever been created. They are made out of sweet bean, and I recommend everybody tries them, simple as that.

Just before getting back to the hostel we sat at the lookout close to a big group of Portuguese people who were all sitting around singing and jamming with each other. A strange man started talking to us for a while who I could barely understand, but something about drugs, we ended up leaving him there and went back to the hostel.

Later that evening we went out again exploring the old town at dusk which was beautiful. We looked at all the white houses with red rooftops, with an odd pink or yellow house here and there. We found a little bar advertising free fado music (traditional Portuguese folk music) so went inside and bought ourselves a savoury pastry with fish inside it (weird but tasty) and a normal pastel de nata (custard tart). The free fado ended up being a girl singing along to a backing CD, not quite the musical experience we desired but still very cool.ย 

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Day 25 – Sintra to Lisbon, Portugal

It was a bit colder and rainier today, so we decided against going to the beach. We cooked up some baked beans and cheese on toast, then went for one little exploration. We checked out these gardens, castles and caves which were beautiful but not as impressive as the castle the day before. Afterwards we packed up our things and said goodbye to Sintra.

While trying to get onto and off trains and metros there were always little gate things where you had to insert your ticket and the doors open. Easy, yes? No. My bag was so big I would have to run as fast as I could through the gates before they closed on me. So far I had been mostly successful but this time I was not so lucky. For some reason I thought I would change my technique, instead of dragging my bag behind me what if I pushed it in front? Hahahahahahah idiot. My bag got stuck in the gates before I had a chance to push it through. It was seriously jammed in there and I tried ripping it out of the evil gates grasp, eventually I got it out, and walked on through to Lisbon.

In Lisbon it was absolutely POURING with rain, we had been lucky with the weather in Sintra, it had been cold up the top of the mountain but warm everywhere else, and the skies were mostly blue. We hid underneath the awning of shops, watching everyone running to get out of the rain and the umbrella men coming out to try make some money off our misfortune haha. There was this one guy a couple of shops down from us hiding in the shop entrance then as people would walk past hed shove the camera in their face and “sneak” a shot – he wasn’t very subtle haha.

Eventually we slowly made our way through the rain, to Oasis Backpackers Hostel (absolutely drenched). Once checked in we were shown the building we would stay in and who do we see? JD! Back at the hostel they gave each new guest a free shot, so we politely accepted then went back to chat with JD and make some dinner.

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Day 24 – Lisbon to Sintra, Portugal

Today waking up in Lisbon it was raining, quite a bit. So off we went to Sintra! Arriving in Sintra we roamed around looking for our hostel, which to date is still the coolest hostel I have ever been in. Every room was designed really funky and modern with random decorations all over the place. The common room had black and white striped walls with numerous portraits all hanging up.. Not just any portraits though.. Posters of cats and dogs dressed up as famous people and characters – a hairless cat with a lightsaber as Yoda for example. There was also a cute courtyard with rose bushes and heaps of places to sit and relax… Oh and the most important thing of all.

Free food.

So we spent a bit of time working out the best way to see all Sintra has to offer, and tried to meet up with Kirah, but in the end had to leave so we could see it all in time. We stopped by a place we saw a cool view of the ocean in the distance, then kept hiking up uphill until we found a little overgrown passage with stone walls on either side. Eventually we made it up to the Pena National Palace (on my to do list for Europe).

It was amazing. I loved it. We bought tickets to go up on the terraces and I am so glad we did, it was beautiful. It is decorated with tiles, and all multicoloured. Some sections are pink some yellow some purple some black and white. There was cool sculptures all over the place as well, one was really weird looking. The view was stunning as well, we both stood up on the ledges, beneath us it just a sheer drop. I really can’t describe how amazing the castle was.

Also I might just point out, I was the idiot who hiked up there in thongs, singlet top and short skirt. It was absolutely FREEZING and very windy up the top! After a fantastic day viewing the castle it was still a relief to get back to the hostel.

Back to the hostel to cook up a feast ๐Ÿ˜

Remember how there was a lot of free food in this hostel? Well we made the most of that. We made cheesy garlic bread, and a pasta with lemon, garlic, white wine, oregano, olives, and onion…. It sounds very weird but tasted pretty good! Then for dessert a creation we had prepared earlier. Nutella and muesli mixed together and frozen. Not the healthiest meal but our hunger was definitely satisfied ๐Ÿ˜Œ

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Day 23 – Lagos to Lisbon, Portugal

I woke up early to get a bus to Lisbon. Not early enough. I misjudged the time it would take me to get to the bus station, quite a bit. So I ran.. Running with an 85L backpack is not a particularly easy task and it was in that frantic state I honestly thought all hope was lost. I slowed to what I felt like was a speed walk but in reality I was probably moving about the same pace as my dad at Disneyland (slow). The whole way up the street I made eye contact with everyone I could, wishing that some super tank buff guy would come out of nowhere and lift up my backpack and run it to the bus. Anyway it all turned out ok and I made it to the bus – just.

I arrived in Lisbon, found Lisbon Old Town Hostel and settled in. I got speaking to a couple of other guests there which turned out to be very awkward. I was chatting to a guy and a girl, they asked me what I did back in Australia and how I funded my trip and I told them how I used to busk. They weren’t sure what that was so I described it like a street performer. The boy then pipes up enthusiastically, “were you a stripper?”. Well then that did it for me. I quickly assured him that I definitely wasn’t a stripper… Perhaps too passionately as he then told us all about how he was a stripper… I wanted to die and just prayed and hoped he hadn’t taken offence, oops.

Lisbon Old Town hostel was really cool. There was cool artwork and decorations, a kitchen, lot space, a really chilled out and friendly vibe, wifi of course and a free breakfast ๐Ÿ‘

Maxwell was also staying there is Lisbon so off we went to explore the streets of Lisbon. We searched for street art, and there is so much of it in Lisbon we were not disappointed, we strolled through some markets but they weren’t quite what we were hoping for so continued on to buy some Portuguese pastries, “pastel de nata”. We found a jazz festival so sat down and ate the pastries there. (By the way… Food in Portugal is really good)

One of the highlights of that day was stumbling upon an art gallery. Everything else we had looked into a bit so knew to find it but this we had no idea about. Initially I wasn’t really that interested in it, so many art galleries have extremely boring and stupid artworks (sorry to all those artists). Well then this one came as a surprise, I figured I wouldn’t know any of the artists with works displayed, but the very first artwork was painted by none other then Picasso ๐Ÿ˜‰ walking through we continued to find works by Joan Mirรณ, Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol and Salvador Dalรญ. I really really enjoyed myself in there and better yet – because all museums were free today we didn’t have to pay to get in ๐Ÿ˜€

That arvo I had fresh fish for dinner, one of Portugal’s specialties, it was delicious.

The streets of Portugal are seriously cool. So many buildings have entire outside walls of mosaic, it reminded me of morocco. Houses are often a light purple or blue or yellow or pink colour, very happy and bright.

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Day 21 and 22- Lagos, Portugal

Ok I can’t actually remember exactly what I did on which of these days so I’ll just pretend these two days are the same.

Today I said goodbye to Kirah and Shanay and begun my solo backpacking trip! Jean-David was still at the hostel so we explored the port of Lagos after deciding it wasn’t worth paying the bus fare just to get to the town to go for a hike. We had some lunch then to the beach Ponta de Ana. The beaches here are very beautiful, and there weren’t so many waves today. After nearly falling asleep on the sand I said goodbye to JD and walked to the next beach ‘Camillo’. On my way I passed a couple Brazilian friends and the same dog that had joined our picnic yesterday.

Camillo beach was less crowded, and the water was much nicer. I laid out my towel ready to enjoy the sun sand and water. Well now that day life thought it would play some games with me. Have a nice relaxing nap on the beach Kali? I don’t think so! Haha I was laying on my stomach with my eyes shut and all of a sudden the black neighbourhood dog runs up and starts rolling around the sand right where I am.. Directly under my head. It would sit up and put it’s paws on my hands and then bow down and I would pat it and rough it up and it would roll over and go nuts playing with me. It seriously was so excited it was rolling closer and closer into me, so here I am trying to make sure my swimmer top doesn’t fall down while trying to half pat the dog and half push it off me. It was very funny… And it didn’t happen just one time. Not twice. But three times!

After my new little friend had left me alone for good I went back to relaxing… Well.. Until a freak wave came and nearly swept me away! Ok not quite but I was very surprised when I was suddenly underwater and rushing to get up and lift up my camera and towel from the water.

After this I decided it was time to go for a swim and enjoy the water. It felt as good as it looked.. Although most water feels the same no matter how it looks… It was a tiny bit chilly but I got used to it so I could enjoy it. The water was beautiful turquoise blue and smooth ๐Ÿ™‚ it felt so good to finally be swimming in a beach again!

I made friends with the Brazilian kids who all invited me to go have lunch with them at ponte de piedade. It was another funny experience. Only one of them could speak English and they all spoke Brazilian so I couldn’t actually understand 95% of what was happening but it was still a nice experience. At a table next to us some portugese people started playing guitar and singing, and many people joined in.

After lunch we explored the cliffs again but this time walked right up to the highest point you could go, and then down right to the water level. This place was one of the most beautiful places I had seen. On our way back we planned to go kayaking but the afternoon had brought some rougher waves again.

I spent another night in Lagos, befriended another Aussie chic and had a BBQ with the hostel crew and went out dancing for my last time in Portugal.

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Day 20 – Lagos, Portugal

Today we all hired bikes for the day. We had a ride around the town, the girls bought bus tickets and we got some food. We rode out to Pont de Piedade where we had a picnic lunch and were joined by a friendly dog. The rock formations and ocean were beautiful, but the water was pretty choppy (apparently weird for this time of year). The girls took some photos but I waited for the next time I came here (it was beautiful so I knew id spend another day here) to take some photos and instead just took in the surroundings.

We came back to the hostel and relaxed. I made friends with Maxwell (American) in the kitchen and we bonded over vegemite toast and Nutella. That afternoon we went to check out an abandoned hotel, we climbed the stairs and ladders to the roof which was absolutely covered in bird shit. The view was beautiful though. You could see all over the town and ocean.

That night we all went out dancing again ๐Ÿ™‚

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