6/7/10: Lisbon, Portugal
It’s June 7, 2010 – which means we’re almost at the nine-month mark on on trip. Which means we’ve stopped counting the firsts on our trip, and now we’re counting the lasts. And this morning marked a very important and very special last for us: our last night sleeping in an airport.
Now, it’s important to note that I pretty much spent the entire day yesterday sleeping (/pretending to be deathly ill when I was only medium-ly ill) at our hostel, and if the subway here opened up earlier than 6am, I would have spent most of last night sleeping at our hostel as well. But unfortunately, with a 7:30am flight and a half hour metro ride, we decided to play it safe and spend the night at the airport. As airport sleeping amenities go, last night would have been one of the better nights. We found a quiet spot with a cushioned bench, listened to a Hamish and Andy podcast together, and then Kevin promptly fell asleep. I stayed awake. I don’t know if it was the unexpectedly plush surroundings or my sore throat or maybe some leftover airport-sleeping-angst from our night in Lima, but I stayed awake the entire night. So it’s with happiness that I announce that our last airport sleeping night on the trip (and perhaps ever – hopefully!) was not too bad, given the circumstances. Now – let’s move on to better topics.
Our hostel in Lisbon.
Don’t let our picture fool you. Yes! Lisbon is one of the best hostels we’ve stayed at on our trip so far (my personal favorite is still Han Tang Inn). Upon arriving this morning at 9am, we checked in and were given yellow bracelets with our bed numbers on them. Your bracelet unlocks the front door, the door to your room, and the storage locker underneath your bed. Did you hear that? A storage locker under your bed that is opened electronically BY YOUR BRACELET. That blew my mind. (Hey, it’s the small things.) Yes! Lisbon (I love typing that) is also pretty cheap; our dorm beds cost us 13 Euros each. I especially love the privacy curtains and the fact that each bed has its own individual reading light. Yes! Lisbon also offers a dinner menu every night for eight Euros (soup, appetizer, main course, dessert and three drinks), which I’m sure we’ll be partaking in at some point during our stay.
Having stayed in lots of hostels over the past nine months, Kevin and I have really learned to appreciate the hosteling lifestyle. This has been especially clear to us over the past few days, when we stayed in a place that was more of a hotel than a hostel. There was no common area to sit and chat with other travelers. It didn’t have a book exchange, a kitchen or laundry facilities. And you know what we missed the most? Hostel staff. Hostels’ staffs know everything about a city – they know where the nearest grocery store is, where all the good restaurants are, what events are going on at a certain time – and more importantly, they’re happy to sit down with you and answer as many questions as you want. In fact, they usually want to sit down with you and help you plan out your stay. But in Madrid, we had to actually plan out our days in by ourselves (gasp!), and we never asked the guy in charge any questions. Now that we’re back in a real hostel in Lisbon, that’s all going to change. (What’s a good place for a cheap lunch? We’ve got three days – what are some of the things should see? Where’s a good place to watch the World Cup opening match? How do you say “thank you” in Portuguese?)
As for Lisbon itself – well, it’s no Madrid, but it’s still a lovely city. And as soon as we leave our hostel and actually see some of it, we’ll tell you how it is.
Picture of the Day: Trams are just one small part of Lisbon’s charm.