March 25, 2010

O caminho a Lisboa

Yes, I am in Lisbon :)
Because of my lack of internet access, mobile phone (and utter lack of further motivation to do anything more than the necessary about either of those problems) I have found me a nice hostel for the time of my stay here. It's the Alfama Patio Hostel, a very nice and cosy place near the medieval castle. Tonight a Portuguese girl is cooking for the 15 guests and staff currently staying here and later there will be a "fado tour". I hope to get a good impression of this town by taking some program offers.

The way here was a bit stressful, although teh Portuguese have been helpful on every step of the way. My language skills are obviously fine, because I already made friends with a nice police officer studying in Bragança. We shared a room at the youth hostel and he spoke no other languages. He even offered to help me out should I run into any kind of trouble on my trip.

But the only thing that was a bit troublesome was the weather. First though I quickly visited O Porto and found a youth hostel full of noisy school kids in Coimbra. Coimbra is a university town, but should be called "town university" because the city center is literally the university district and students rule the place, with a party for the "caloiros" (freshmen) in the central park and all.

And last night I stayed at a camp site in Santa Cruz, a really pretty beach near Torres Vedras about an hour from Lisbon. I was pointed to Torres Vedras by my Portuguese teacher and wanted to see the place. I was not steered wrong. For the first time in Portugal, after the short stopovers and the stress, I felt relaxed. I wandered around in town and later on the beach and slept a little on the benches carved in the rocks on the shore. Wind was strong and the sun kept showing and hiding, but I was not worried when I set up my tent. It was only later that night, at half past one, when I was woken because the wind pressed the tent in my face ;-) Gladly there was little rain and I was able to put the car as a windshield. After reassuring myself that I would not be blown away in my sleep, I put in ear plugs again and slep soundly :)

These are my adventures so far. Hope you all are well! Boa noite!

March 22, 2010

Quick travel update

I am currently sitting in an internet café in Oviedo and will later travel on to O Porto, Portugal. I spent the last week hiking and camping in the great Picos de Europa National Park with a long time friend who returned today. We had a wonderful time:
- weather of all kinds (rain and strong wind while walking over snow fields covering the path; torrential rain at night; strong spring sun and warm evenings)
- all from no to the greates view of all (dense fog in which we got lost for an hour -fortunately there was a big group nearby which we rescued eventually- and 360º panorama of surrounding mountains)
- a lot of animal sightings (cows ringing bells all night long, sheep and goats, as well as huge birds of prey sitting on rocks and crossing the valley above and below us)

I however have two more weeks of travelling before me. Seeing friends and making new ones. It has all gotten so much more difficult to organize since my phone battery died a sudden death and left me without phone numbers or any means to contact anyone quickly (which also messes up my couchsurfing plans). I also left my laptop at home in an attempt to live less digital for three weeks only to discover again that I depend on it in some respects (no ways of using free wifi at the mall for example).

Well, this is it for now. Life is good and the Iberian Peninsula has me back once more. If I remember my camera next time there will be some fotos :) Have a great week everbody!