Portugal, Portugal… Wow. This was really something. Actually, so much happened in this country that it took us a while to motivate ourselves and create the post. The road to Porto was incredible. Porto was incredible. Everything was incredible! Amazing views, exciting curves and (finally) the warmth were making this trip really pleasurable.
We even crossed the dam as the natural border between Spain and Portugal is the river Douro. It was really spectacular! : D
Unfortunately we couldn’t find a host in Porto and our requests were mostly declined or ignored so we decided to stay in a hostel for some time. The first one we stayed at was quite creepy. Rooms were really dark and a shower was right next to our bed. Internet connection – tricky. As we arrived in Porto in the late evening, we felt a little bit lost and confused. We tried to find lamp oil, but with no luck. It meant no Fire shows; however we also met this guy who told us about good places to perform! And that there are no regulations concerning street art. With light hearts and hope for tomorrow we just bought something to eat and went back to the hostel.
The next day we tried doing some bubbles by the river at Praça da Ribeira, just for a warm up. It went just okay, but it was good to see it’s really possible there. ^^ We were melting though, as it was around midday and the sun was very strong. It was definitely a nice touch after the weeks of coldness, but as we were not used to it, we left early to a different hostel. This one was really nice, although it smelled funny. And it wasn’t really a hostel, more a guest house of some sort. We got comfy and then started to get ready to work.
We finally managed to find fuel for our shows (in Leroy Merlin, quite far away!).
Also, FINALLY the tide has changed with our work. The Fire Shows were better than anywhere in Spain or France and the people in Porto appreciative. After a nice set of fun we decided that Porto is really cool – very beautiful and calm, even though swarming with tourists during the day. Also, there are a lot of artists on the street, so if you don’t get there early, you might miss your spot. We had to keep that in mind.
While shopping for dinner (pizza!) we came across this little thing.
Is that some sort of wine for children? They should really attach a straw there somewhere, haha. XD
Anyway, after two nights in Porto we decided to go Braga, because our friend Pat invited us over a while ago. He lives in a nice house there with fellow students and a very cute and naughty dog Beck.
As we didn’t have much to do there (Braga is a small town and there was no people on the streets), we could finally get some positive energy, so needed for the rest of the journey. Nick took upon him a task to train Beck and he would probably succeed, if we stayed there longer. The dog really missed people’s attention and, basically, their company, so we were taking him for a walk every time we could. ^^
Pat told us about a really beautiful place – it was a church with a great viewpoint. He said that there are 600 stairs leading to the top (oh yeah, some people pay to be taken up there by this little train…). We were very eager to go up…!
No, really… ^^
We were counting the stairs of course. 600? We’ll see…
Finally we made it to the top. ^^ 584 steps.
It was definitely worth it, we could see the whole Braga from there! Sun was shining, Beck was happy and we felt completely satisfied with the World at this point. : D
Also, we decided if gods’ house is a church then most probably this was their summer house. That’s how beautiful place it was.
Eventually we said our goodbyes and came back to Porto. This time we stayed on CouchSurfing with Carol, a girl from Mexico. She was there on the Erasmus exchange. Her house had a great potential; even though it was dark, it had nice, big staircase and if only it was taken care of, you know, cleaned and fixed, it could be a nice place to live. For now it was okay, but we only stayed there for 2 nights, returning to a guest house again. We didn’t want to leave Porto just yet and we wanted to have still some fun here and to explore it a bit.
Fire shows were cool, so we happily went to try some port wine. We sat down out in the terrace, watching the river and enjoying ourselves. Besides wine, we also ordered a Portuguese traditional pie-thing. It was good to have something to snack on with this beverage, as we only had one glass each, but it was enough to make us more than tipsy. ; D
Nick: I haven’t even finished the glass yet, and I can already feel it… It’s really strong!
Waitress: First time?
Nick: Um… yeah.
Waitress: Yes, it’s normal. Been there, done that.
We asked a guy sitting next to us to take a photo. Then we started talking to him and it appeared we have a lot in common, especially the way of travelling. The guy was American, we’ve already forgotten the name, but he also doesn’t like the typical, touristic places. He likes to explore and discover; he told us a lot of funny stories from his travels. Eventually the waitress joined in the conversation. It was so nice. ^^ We talked for about three hours, laughing and drinking one glass of port wine each, again feeling happy, fulfilled and in unity with the world. Again. This gave us time to sober up (we had to go back by a motorcycle).
What is more, while performing in Porto we met this Polish guy (who lives in Germany) with not bad photography skills. He took some photos of our Fire show and sent it to us after some time. Yay! ^^
It was high time to go South. We found a host in Lisbon, at least we thought we did; a day before coming to his place he said he’s sorry, but something important came up on his end, so it’s no longer an option. We got really upset, as it meant we had to spend another evening/free time on looking for hosts on CS. Plus not too many people take guests on such a short notice. Meh. We booked a hostel.
You know how everything happens for a reason? So did that. This hostel was one of the nicest places we stayed during our travel. The first thing you see when you enter is a lounge with big pillows, blankets and comfy chairs, everything in an atmosphere of dimmed lights and with nice music in the background. People from the staff were excellent – so nice and helpful. Breakfast included. Showers, ah… I could spend hours there (oops, I hope I didn’t). And all of that for only 8 euro per person.
Seems wonderful, doesn’t it? Oh if it only stayed this nice… Lisbon could be a great part of our trip, however street art was… regulated, yeah. If we wanted to do something, we had to either apply for a permit or simply avoid the police. All in all, we didn’t earn that much; people weren’t keen to pay or watch for that matter. There also weren’t too many of them. Well, there were a lot of homeless junkies, drug dealers and generally unpleasant folk trying to sell us drugs (hell yeah, ‘cause whe a person has dreadlocks it automatically means one is a heavy drug user O_o).
After arriving to the hostel we went for a walk, just to look around. It was funny to come across these old type trams, which only go up and down from a steep hill.
Next day was very productive, as we went to look for places to perform in Lisbon. We’ve seen a lot, walked for hours and came back with nothing, only this amazing photo. For your information, they weren’t real dogs, they were only printed on paper. : P
However we did meet other bubble makers. From Poland. How come. Unfortunately, even though they were trying to be helpful they didn’t tell us anything we haven’t already known.
Oh wait, we also made a documentation on this pink street, apparently very full at night, you know, full of pleasure houses and all that jazz. ^^
It was very clear to us that we won’t make too much money here, even more highlighted by the encounter of bubblers, so we decided to visit a nearby town, called Cascais. Results were pretty similar, we managed to earn something, however it wasn’t enough to have savings. We were forced to spend another evening sending Couch requests. And then hooray! We got an acceptance from a girl living in Evora, a city we really wanted to visit. : )
So the next day, before leaving Lisbon, we still wanted to use the fact that we’re in Portugal and do some sightseeing. Our host, Merita, wasn’t home until the evening anyway. We’ve decided to go and see Sintra. It is known for a beautiful palace, looking like from a fairy tale. However when we got there, there was this huge gate and a security guy, telling us we have to pay 6 euro per person if we wanted to go to the part surrounding it and 11,50 if we wanted to see the palace. So our excitement to see this:
… had to be satisfied by this:
A little bit disappointed, we came back to the hostel for our stuff and to have a look on Couchsurfing one last time. While sitting on the floor, we saw a guy and a girl trying to set up a very weird looking… chair? Torture contraption? Not knowing what it is, we were staring curiously. When they set it up, Nick said to them:
Nick: What is it?
Guy: It’s a massage chair.
Nick: Sorry, but it looks very kinky!
Girl: Oh, guys, they always think about one thing, don’t they? (looking at me, looking for confirmation)
Me: Well, to be honest my first thought was also kinky… XD
What to think of it if the chair looked like this:
We talked with them for a while and now we’re friends, at least with Jimmy. ;) He’s from Australia and he’s a massage therapist. I actually was lucky enough to sit in the kinky chair and have a massage myself for a few minutes. ^^ It was really hard to leave, as they both appeared to share our sense of humor and it was a pleasure to chat with them. It’s a shame we met them when we were basically out the door!
And so we left Lisbon.
To be continued…
Niki (& Nick a tiny bit)[:]