Hello there, I hope you’re well! As I write this, I’m currently on a plane home from Lisbon, the topic of this post!
So, as you’ll know if you are an avid reader of this blog, something which I’ll absolutely love if you are, I was extremely excited to go on tour to Lisbon, Portugal! It was a chance to escape the bubble of the United Kingdom for a few days and soak up a few sun rays in the company of my absolute favourite people. LOVE YOU MTW. Tour did just that, it was a perfect time of the year and I thoroughly enjoyed it, just like Prague!
Update: We’re taking off, I’m listening to Alexander Hamilton, and I feel so powerful.
Anyway, tour was fabulous and all the superlatives that are synonymous with wonderful. Whether it be the architecture, the cheap alcohol, the company, the hostel or just the cultured vibes of Portugal’s capital, it was great to go to another country once again. Not long now until I live in another country, which is mad exciting!
So, this is tour in a blog post. I can’t get to sleep because the plane’s lights are on onboard and I’m in the middle seat and it’s not really the dream but such is life. I feel like a proper journo blogging and discussing my thoughts and feelings. There’s also a baby next to me crying while the mum is drinking wine and a part of me doesn’t exactly think ‘top parent’ right now. Anyway, I’ve digressed, on to discussing #tourtourtour.
Tour was finally going to kick off! I’d got my suitcase packed full of summery outfits, praying that I’d brought the right clothes. I’d got my new handbag ready and I couldn’t wait to set off, even if it meant leaving the house at 5:45am (sorry, Dad). I made it to Stansted for 7am, checked in with ease and then waited in the departure lounge to find out what gate we were and then hop on that 10am flight. Except, that didn’t really happen did it? Of course not. We got delayed to 11:50am at first, but then to cut a long story short, we didn’t fly until 2pm. DELAYED was not the way to start tour.
Couldn’t quite believe it, first time I’ve ever flown Ryanair and I immediately realised just how shit they were. Treating us like cattle (according to the lovely Emma Tarcy), and not being helpful in any situation at all. When we finally started flying, there was no real sympathy from any crew member onboard. Didn’t exactly fill me with confidence of the Portuguese attitude. Aside from this, the flight was great, and I got some gorgeous photos of the skies.
We then finally got to the hostel; the lovely Lisb’on Hostel booked for us by our tour exec, Louise. I did actually run for this position last year, of which I didn’t receive but I’m so so so happy for Louise that she did. She’s done such a cracking job and I’m super thankful towards her for organising every aspect of tour! Anyway, the hostel was great. Big, spacious dorm rooms, a kitchen, a terrace, a bar, a garden, a pool table and a LIFT. Extremely thankful for this when we’d done a full days walking up and down Lisbon’s hilly terrain and you wanted to give your legs a tiny rest for a moment. However, due to our delay and then being stuck in rush-hour traffic, we then had little time to get ready for dinner.
For dinner, we hit Lisbon’s Time Out Market and what an absolute find this was. Basically, think of any cuisine you could think of and it was there. There was so much choice available that I had no idea what to choose. I went for a hotdog with “sweet potato fries” which left a lot to be desired. But, the market did sell bottles of wine for €2.95 which is incredible in comparison to prices back in the UK. This seemed to become a running thing, in that how cheap we could get alcohol became a competition. (I spent €0.69 cents on a litre of rosé in a supermarket, it was rancid and I’ve messed my throat up, but well done me).
For the first night out, we were all very tired but all got on it. Nobody wanted to waste the night; the day had already gone and been wasted. But, we smashed it as a #squad. In retrospective, I can’t actually remember what happened on this night at all, whoops. I do know that we went into a bar at 1am and packed out the bar because there were 43 of us on tour. I also got my boogie on to Partition, because who doesn’t? Beyoncé is a bloody queen. I did come back from this night quite early, but I’d been up 22 hours and my body was screaming for a bed.
We all woke up on Tuesday morning a bit hungover to say the least. Seeing who made it down to breakfast each morning was interesting in itself, but by 11am we were all ready to explore a bit of Lisbon and finally see the city in broad daylight! It’s fair to say that Lisbon is gorgeous, and the architecture was wonderful!
After going into the cathedral, we went for a gelato and headed back to the hostel to pick up the rest who didn’t make the cathedral walk (hangover central is high on tour!) to explore a different part of the city. We went into some cathedral ruins which were breath-taking; lovely to pick up some Portuguese culture, even if this did mean dodging shady men every 30 seconds trying to sell you sunglasses but in reality asking if you want ‘hash’. No, piss off mate.
Once we’d been to the ruins, we were free to explore. However, a few of us were so hungry we headed to a Portuguese McDonalds, because obviously going into a new country requires you to go into a McDonalds…
Soon enough came dinner time, and Louise had organised dinner at a restaurant very near to our hostel. This was good for the ears, as my legs were currently aching so much from the amount of walking we’d done! For dinner, we were given lots and lots of pizza and we had as much as we want. The pizza was… interesting, for want of a better word. Black pudding pizza? Sugar pizza? Who knows? But, what I do know was that the unlimited sangria was top quality and it’s fair to say we all left the restaurant a bit worse for wear.
Once we were back in the hostel, we played the old trusty tour tradition of ‘Mafia’, also known as ‘Werewolves’ or the ‘Village’. I’d have lots to say but the society killed me off from the start. It’s okay lads, haters are my motivators (haha, I don’t mind at all, I am the provider of the hilarity). We then couldn’t decide whether to actually go out or not, but at 1am we did. However, I was back in my bed by 2am as, let’s just say, I didn’t really like the environment of the shady side of Portugal*.
*If you’re going to Portugal, I would recommend remembering every step you take, you’ll probably need to take someone home whose safety is depending on you. They’ll help you by being the protective figure and ensuring that you’re not pulled off by a stranger who wants to fuck you.
Wednesday brought an overcast day to Lisbon. Whilst I was in my dress thinking, oh god, I definitely haven’t packed correctly, my fears were quickly allayed when we hit the train to Cascais to go to the beach. Instead of discussing the beach in words, I think it’s fair enough to show a few pictures, as words truly cannot capture the gorgeous surroundings that we found ourselves in.
The beach was just incredible, and we all got ready to go out for our last night in Lisbon (sad times). Louise had organised for us a traditional Portuguese night complete with more sangria, fado music and traditional cuisine. I had the Octopus (because I’m a baller and can’t be tamed) and sat next to the tour guide; who whilst at first I thought was quite attractive, quickly realised that he conformed to what I hold the Portuguese stereotype to be: a little bit creepy. YOU CAN’T STEAL KELLY AND LUCY’S WINE?!
Once we’d been at the restaurant for what felt like a day and a half, we then went back to the hostel for a bit more of prinking and working out where to go. In the end, we left the hostel at 1:45am to go to the main strip where we found ourselves on Monday night/Tuesday morning and entered ‘Bar Europa’. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the company I was in, but genuinely the worst drinking hole I have EVER found myself on. I’ve come back into the UK with a smoker’s cough because the EU STILL ALLOWS SMOKING INDOORS. I’m going back to uni with a new found love for Smack (previously my least favourite club). This was worse than the creepiness of Karlovy Lazne, and I think I’ve come to the conclusion that clubs in the continent aren’t as good as the UK.
Thursday, so yesterday, brought us checking out day. We’d put all our suitcases in the baggage rooms, and we were ready to explore on our own for 6 hours! I decided, like the majority of the tour, to go to Lisbon Castle because I knew it would be gorgeous. Whilst my legs died on the way to the castle (I cannot walk up more hills, my calves are broken), it was so so so worth it.
Whether it being walking by the grass, watching a Portuguese school’s sports day, featuring in the Tour Diaries or imagining you were Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones, the Castle was definitely one of my favourite parts of tours, and for the mere price of €5, it was worth it! The worst part was trying to avoid the tourist traps of a selfie stick, just piss off PLEASE. I have arms for a selfie stick?
Tour came to an end in the square where we started on Tuesday morning, skimming stones on the water with some of my favourite people and eating a traditional Portuguese custard tart. Wonderful.
So, as you can see and read, tour was bloody exquisite and there’s a reason why that was my 4th tour! I love travelling to new places and making memories with fab people. Now comes a tough bit, in terms of a song from tour, I could go for a classic fado piece, but I know no Portuguese. There wasn’t a song I heard blasting from a shop that made me think of Lisbon like King by Years and Years did for Prague. I’m going to have to go with a piece of music that was playing when the plane just took off. It’s an olden, but a gooden.
Enjoy (and make sure you check out Lisbon too!),