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Monday, March 14, 2011

Braden's Dream Day/Welcome to Portugal

Upon arrival in Lisbon, we took some time orienting ourselves, which we have to do for every city, so it is getting easier.  The metro here was a must because the train station was quite a distance from the city center and our hostel.  We had to buy a metro card and fill it up to use it, but it wasn't terrible.  We found the hostel without much trouble and walked in.  It was only about 8:30 and check-in was at 2, so our room was not ready, but, they let us eat breakfast, store our luggage, and take showers for free.  They were so great!  Breakfast had eggs.  They were fantastic.  'Nuff said.  After 2 nights of having next to no sleep, Braden was not in the best of moods.  Hunger to me = sleep to Braden.  Lesson learned.

While we were getting to Lisbon, we got a text from the girls in London.  They were supposed to meet up with us around 10 and should be flying, not texting.  It turns out they were late to their flight by 4 minutes and British Airways had given away their tickets as they were "no-shows".  BAD NEWS.  The tickets were non-transferable and they were not going to rebook them, they'd have to buy their own tickets.  WORSE NEWS.  All the flights for that day were booked, so they would have to buy another hostel in London and fly out the next day and not get into Lisbon until 3 in the Afternoon.  THE WORST NEWS.  This meant that we were going to be in Portugal alone for 24 hours, with them 24 hours and then leaving.  We were very sad, but decided to move on with our plans as scheduled.

We looked up times and found a train up to Porto, Portugal, and explored the city while we waited for the train.  We saw the river that runs from Spain through Portugal and enters the Atlantic Ocean in Lisbon's port.  It was low-tide and there were beaches.  It was really cool.  I tripped and almost landed on the jagged rocks below, but NBD.  When the time of our train came, we got on and saw that the chairs and room were far superior to our night train and were pissed, but nevertheless, we settled in for the 3 hour ride and took a nap.

When we got to Porto, we walked around the station for a long time trying to orient ourselves.  I (finally) found a map and for once in my life could not make heads or tails of it.  I knew where we were and where we needed to go and even what streets we had to take, but I could not for the life of me execute this plan.  We ended up walking down a huge hill only for it to turn out a dead-end and having to walk all the way back up.  After that fiasco, we buckled and bought metro tickets.  From there it was very easy and we found our way, after a point in the right direction from the Tourist Office, at the waterfront.  It was gorgeous!  There was a huge bridge, and we needed to cross it to get to our destination.

You see Porto is where Port Wine is made.  All of the Port in the world (I think) comes from here, and this is why Braden was so excited to visit.  He had been raving about coming here since we arrived in Europe, and it was really living up to his expectations!  We chose to go on a wine cellar tour for only 4 Euro that included two small glasses of wine at the end.  Braden chose Sandeman's because that is the famous one he knew, and I'm glad we went there.  It was so cool, and they have one of the first official logos for a product in the world.  It's called "The Don" and it combine the Portuguese student's cape with the Spanish hat.  This is because the company made Port and Sherry, which was from Spain.  The tour and guide were awesome and the Port Wine was the best wine I have ever tasted.  It was so fantastic.

We hadn't eaten since breakfast and I was feeling a bit tipsy from the 20% volume of the Port Wine so we ate at Sandeman's restaurant.  It was fairly cheap and had a view that couldn't be beat.  I had a burger and Braden a Portuguese meat sandwich covered in hot sauce, and, of course, we each had a glass of Port.  It was so relaxing and wonderful and it was really beautiful.  It was just such a great experience.

The walk back wasn't at all fun because it was entirely up hill for about 20 minutes, but we managed and got back to the station just in time, we do that a lot.  The train got us back to Lisbon safe and sound and we went straight to bed.  They were so comfy and we slept like rocks.

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