I got into Lisbon in one piece this morning after spending nearly 4 hours in the bus station in Sevilla waiting for the overnight bus to leave. I gave myself a lot of extra time to get from one station to the next, but I was lucky enough to buy my ticket from Sevilla to Lisbon while I was still in Granada, which aleviated some of the stress once in Sevilla.

The overnight bus was brutal, and every time after I take an overnight transport I swear never to do it again because I can never sleep on things that move. The bus kept stopping, turning on the lights, letting everyone know where we were and announcing smoke breaks. I attempted to sleep, but mostly stressed out about the fact that I was thirsty but didn’t want to drink anything because there was no bathroom on the 6 hour bus ride, and none of the smoke breaks or stops were places that had washrooms.

I met a couple of interesting girls in the bus station in Sevilla who were American and but living in Seville and studying at the University. They had decided that since they had no class on Thursday and Friday and happened to be walking by the bus station that they would buy a ticket somewhere and that happened to be Lisbon. They had no clothes, no passports and no luggage, save for their purses. I thought this to be somewhat ridiculous, but if you’re adventurous, travel savvy and resourceful I’m sure it would be ok. The only thing was that these girls weren’t any of these things. They had never stayed in a hostel before and when I gave them the name and some directions to a couple of good ones they just stared at me blankly and said “hey, that sounds cool” and wrote nothing down. When we arrived at the bus station at 5:30am I looked in my guide book and found out that the metro didn’t open for another hour so I was going to hang out at the bus station until then. They said that they’d rather hang out in the city instead of the bus station because at least they’d get to see stuff (did I mention that it’s 5:30am?) and they were going to take a taxi. At this point I have to mention that Lisbon isn’t the safest city, especially after dark. Not that there’s rampant crime, but there’s a huge drug trade and at 5:30 in the morning a lot of people are still drunk and coming in and out of bars. Not the safest place for two 18 year olds to be who have never really travelled. The only thing I could do was tell them to be careful and grimace as they smiled and waved goodbye. I’ve never felt so old.

After the metro opened, I headed to the hostel that I booked, expecting to be told that check in was at noon and that I could leave my stuff there and come back then. But much to my surprise, the guy at the front desk led me to a free bed! Aaaaaaahhhh sleep! I curled up into the nice feather duvet and slept for a solid 2 hours.

Once I woke up I met a guy from the states who was in my dorm room and he was headed to Belem, so we decided to go together. It started raining really hard when we first got there, so some of the pictures of the monument to discovery are pretty dark, but once we actually climbed the monument the sun started coming out and the rest of the day turned out pretty nice. We went to the famous pastry shop and got some pasteis, which we ordered way too many of and started feeling a little bit of sweetness overload. We saw the rest of the monuments in Belem and then hopped on the bus, which we thought would take us right to the hostel. We sat on that bus for a pretty long while, hoping that it would eventually loop back around to where we wanted to go. It didn’t.

But it did go to the Park of Nations (the site of the 1998 world expo) which was one of the things that we both had wanted to see! It was fate. So we wandered through the park, took the cable car and I climbed on the jungle gym meant for 8 year olds, we had some tapas and then hopped on the metro back to the hostel. I’m hoping that tonight will be a pretty quiet night, as I haven’t slept that well in the past couple of nights and I have to get up early tomorrow to go to Sintra.


2 Responses to “Lisboa”

  1. Rohan Jayasekera Says:

    It was so thoughtful of you to have ordered “way too many” pasteis, just so you’d have extras for your nata-loving reader(s) in Toronto. Looking forward.

  2. Jenny Says:

    Of course! I hope you don’t mind that I accidentally kneeled on the package when I was arranging the stuff in my backpack. Oops.

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