The blog is not finished! But after the Theft (yes, capital letters), the want/need to update the blog took second fiddle to dealing with the Theft and just finishing the trip sans computer. Since being home, it's been hard to get that motivation to complete it. But I will. Ever so slowly. Please be patient!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Overseas Birthday

The following takes place on Days 153-154, April 29-30, 2011

IMG_5257A curious pattern seems to be emerging, I’ve noticed, when it comes to me and travel days. They become almost a complete waste. Take for instance my travel from Barcelona, Spain to Lisbon, Portugal. First I was extremely bummed out that I had to leave behind Jordi and Esteban. At least there’s a huge reason to come back to the area. Second, I get extremely exhausted sitting on a bus for an extended period of time. I left Barcelona at just before midnight and, after a quick transfer in Madrid, arrived in Lisbon at 4:30pm the next afternoon. When I successfully navigated the metro system and found my hostel in the center of Restoradores Square I had been on the move for over 17 hours.

So what did I do with what was left of the day? The same thing I seem to do with every travel day. I plucked down on my bed and did absolutely nothing.

My first full day in Lisbon also happened to be my birthday. I was now 26. I had no real plans as to what to do for my birthday. I was still questioning whether I should’ve stayed back in Barcelona and had my birthday with the boys in Sabadell, but too late to change plans now. My mind was now starting to look forward to June 13th, the day I am supposed to be in Athens, Greece to meet up with a friend from home who is coming over to spend three weeks traveling with me. With that date fast approaching, I had to start planning on getting my ass in gear so I can see Portugal, Morocco, and Egypt and be in Athens in time to see her land.

This will be a common theme I suspect in the next few posts.

IMG_5294Back to my birthday though! Much like many of my birthdays back home, it was cloudy and kinda rainy all day. Ah, spring time. How I’ve missed you. I took myself out for a walk, checking out the few squares that were around my hostel. Seeing a castle overlooking the city, I decided to wander the streets in a concerted effort to find the entrance.

My first attempt failed as I turned left instead of right at a IMG_5298pedestrian roundabout somewhere up the mountain and ended up on a completely different hill by a church. Not discouraged though as it was very pretty. Along the way I was fascinated by the many tiled walls of the houses and buildings in the city. Every street and block had at least one house done up in the Portuguese styling. It was beautiful and a very interesting way to throw some colour and life into some otherwise older streets.


IMG_5322I eventually did make it to the castle(Castillo de San Jorge for those that are curious), and spent a number of hours wandering the old city within the city, gathering in some interesting history of the city(including the shock that Lisbon had been an Islamic controlled city at one time in its history). It was a fascinating area, having seen occupations by many different cultural and religious groups.

I wandered down the hill and, without any particular area I wanted to go to, allowed myself to pick streets at random to go to. I ended up walking by the cities massive cathedral. I seriously need to figure out why all Portuguese cities have a main cathedral called Se. If I find out that that’s just a word for church I’m going to be disappointed. There must be some history behind it.

IMG_5426After the cathedral I found myself walking right into the middle of a huge parade of different groups with masks on close to the large public square, one of the largest in all of Europe. There were cool drumming bands, people dressed up as haystacks, witches, and one groups dressed up as bulls with bloody aprons on. I wasn’t entirely sure what was going on. I found out later that it was a major mask festival with different groups from as far away as Ireland performing and showing off their costumes.

I ended my birthday off by taking myself out to a bit of an expensive meal. I figured that it IMG_5473wouldn’t be often that I’d be overseas on my birthday so what the hell, eh? A bottle of Portuguese wine, Portuguese style steak with fries, and grilled shrimp. A damn good meal all in all. After that I went on a mini pub crawl through the Principe Real area of the city. The last bar I ended up at happened to be a drag queen pub with a group of Portuguese drag queens celebrating the birthday of one of the queens. It was a great way to finish the night.

1 comment:

  1. Well HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY COREY!! That meals looks delicious and you deserve to splurge for it lol. I bet it's bringing back memories of the grade 12 Europe trip eh? Well continue to have a bast and i'll continue to read about all your interesting posts about your trip!!! P.S. we miss you here at work.