Published: July 18th 2012July 18th 2012
I spent most of my time in Vienna catching up with Marlies. It was so good to see her again after so long! On the first day she showed me around the city and I swear I haven’t ever seen so many beautiful buildings in one spot. Of course amidst the city tour we couldn’t help but shop. That night we went to dinner with some of her friends and ate giant burgers. Her mum also gave me some medicine that has really helped with my flu.. I only have the cough at night left! The next day we went to Naschmarkt which I think was my favourite area, and a castle where out the front a Korean high school orchestra was playing with matching dance moves! Wasn’t expecting to see that in Vienna. Orchestra aside, the grounds of this castle were immaculate and after walking up the huge hill we were rewarded with a gorgeous view of the city.
Of course I left organising how I would get to Lisbon to meet Sophie and her friend for the music festival we’d bought tickets for ages ago to the last minute. So on the day before I was meant to leave, Marlies and I spent ages (danke!) trying to find the cheapest way to fly there. Unfortunately we couldn’t find anything under the $350 mark.. burn. So I figured out for about $150 I could get the bus to Budapest, fly to Madrid and get an overnight bus to Lisbon. It seemed like the perfect idea until the bus tickets to Budapest had sold out and I had already bought my flight and overnight bus ticket. Anyway, I turned into a massive stresspot, but lucky I had Marlies who looked into trains to Budapest that weren’t too expensive.
Other than only just making it to baggage drop on time with 2kg over the limit (my bag now weighs 22kg) the trip went pretty smoothly.. that was until I arrived in Lisbon. I went to the taxi rank once I got there and showed the taxi driver the address, eager to get to the hostel for some sleep before meeting the girls. He had no idea where it was. We spent about an hour in the taxi trying to find this place. I was crying and the taxi driver was crying and it was just a nightmare!! Eventually he dropped me at a different hostel where the guy working there helped me with directions. The hostel we had booked seemed to have 2 addresses, though one of them didn’t actually exist. I still couldn’t find the silly place after walking around with all my stuff for about half an hour, so I decided to settle into Maccas. Sophie sorted out the problem, and finally at 1 I checked into the hostel (Which I had walked past about 4 times) and chilled out. Just for the record, I wasn’t a n00b here! They stuffed up our booking, the hostel wasn’t signed, there was no reception and we didn’t know you had to call them when you got there. Anyway after all the drama it turned out to be a really cool place.. as did Lisbon!
I know I say this about nearly every place, but Lisbon is seriously one of my favourite cities! It reminded me a little of Brazil, but more chilled out. I loved how so many houses were covered with mosaics and tiles, the winding cobbled stones streets over the hills and little traditions like people sitting outside their houses just to talk to the people they know walk by.
Once the girls arrived, we made our way to the main square where Soph knew a walking tour started. As we got there a little early, we decided to find some food. At a little local place with a friendly old man we got soup, a pork sandwich and a glass of sangria for only 3.50 euros! Ridiculous! And it was delicious. After that we saw an epic cupcake store and couldn’t help ourselves. I really enjoyed the walking tour because as well as showing us the main sites, the guide took us to more traditional suburbs you wouldn’t normally find yourself in. He also told us if we wanted to try the best local cuisine at the best prices, we should go to the restaurants with the handwritten signs out the front that are packed with people!
So after the tour, the girls and I went back to the hostel, freshened up a bit and ventured out for a night of local food and nightlife. When we got to a restaurant like our guides description we immediately ordered a bottle of sangria (the best I’ve ever had) and asked the waiter to give us his top three favourite dishes. It was pretty hilarious because out came steak and fries, pork fillet and fries, and salmon.. SO Portuguese. After dinner and a few more bottles of sangria, we made our (long) way to Barrio Alta. This suburb has some of the coolest nightlife I’ve seen! The streets had different genres and were packed with bars. Instead of people drinking and sitting in the bars, they would just buy drinks or dance in them and hung out on the streets. Speaking of drinks, you could buy a Caipirinha for 3.50 euros. Win!
The next day, Sophie insisted that Milly and I try this stuff called Acai. It was this super delicious frozen berry mix. It was so cute because the lady who owned the little place asked us if we wanted anything more in English, but we thought she was speaking Portuguese. Woops. Following this encounter we found out she had been practising her English really hard and then I overheard her asking a Portuguese customer the same thing! It was hilarious because this time I actually understood her. Feeling pretty full, we ventured off to the remains of a church that had been damaged in the earthquake of 1755 (which was apparently 8.7 on the Richter scale) which is now a museum for some cool (and creepy) stuff (like mummies of children). After the museum we wondered in the direction of some markets we’d heard about where we made some awesome el cheapo purchases. While we were standing next to a huge pile of clothes we’d just bought some items from, the lady who owned it thought it would be funny to push me into it! I thought it was one of the girls. I love these people! Where else can you find people so cheeky? The afternoon went by so quickly, so after getting some food from a vegetarian restaurant we hurried back to the hostel so the other two could get ready for the festival.
Finally the day I had made me decide to go Lisbon arrived! We decided to check out a suburb called Belem on the way to the Optimus Alive festival mainly because we heard the best Portuguese tarts in the world were made there (that’s right not in Nandos). Before we set out to find these delicacies, we decided we had to try another local cuisine for lunch- bacalhau; cod that has been cooked after being salted and dried. It was an interesting flavour, though I didn’t finish it. Milly and Soph did though! So finally we tracked down these tarts and OMGOSH they were amazing. Still warm and covered with icing sugar and cinnamon. It was one of the highlights of Lisbon. After a couple of bottles of sangria, we hopped on the train to the festival. We saw the Kooks, Caribou, Radiohead, SBTRKT, and The Kills. I felt a bit sorry for some of the bands because not that many people got into them as they were clearly there for Radiohead. Though Radiohead was incredible!!! They played for nearly 2.5 hours and I was totally mesmerised by them the whole time, especially Thom and his dance moves. By the time we got home it was nearly 4 and we said goodbye to Milly who went straight to the airport to fly back to Holland.. what a zombie trooper! When she left I booked my flight to Barcelona for that night (don’t ask why I didn’t do it earlier).
After an epic sleep-in, Soph and I decided it was the perfect time to test the all you can eat sushi place we found the other day. Apparently the timing wasn’t so perfect because Milly missed out on the most delicious feast of her life! Not only could you stuff yourself with sushi and other Asian delicacies at the buffet, but you could choose whatever you wanted and however much you wanted from the menu. We went crazy and didn’t leave until they stop serving. We also didn’t want to leave Lisbon without having another cupcake so we waddled back to the same cupcake place as the first day and forced ourselves to have one. Time seemed to have flown and by the time we got back to the hostel it was about 7.30. My flight left at 9.40 and I still hadn’t packed or booked a hostel for that night in Barcelona (nope lesson still not learnt). I went into panic mode as I tried to squish everything in my bag and Sophie tried to find a hostel.. no luck!! So Sophie and I bid farewell for the last time this semester and I went to the airport with my backpack, day bag and 2 plastic bags not knowing if I would be sleeping in the Barcelona airport that night. Luckily, just as I was about to board the plane my amigo Francesc who I met in Lund and is from Barcelona let me know it was ok to stay with him! What a lifesaver!!! So I finally made it to Barcelona, a destination I have dreamt of visiting for years and I get to stay with real Spanish people. Let the adventures begin!