A couple of weeks earlier I saw a fun party boat on the Tagus river in Lisbon. I put it on the maybe to do list when I return to Lisbon in a couple more days.
A couple of days after I did take that boat for a ride.
I attended a sunset cruise. During the cruise there is commentary in multiple languages and supposedly a welcome glass of wine (it ended up being more than one glass – partially because I kept spilling mine and I blame the wind for that, um yes wind).
It is here that I finally broke out of my anxiety shell and chatted with other tourists. As a solo traveler who is also an introvert, it is very easy to let days go without real human connection.
It was a beautiful evening to cruise along and watch the sunset. I am very glad I booked the boat ride.
Sometimes normal life things don’t get put on hold for travel. I paint myself as a low maintenance person but partly because I am lucky and normally have hair that behaves with little effort. For the past couple weeks I have struggled with my hair. My normal shiney and nice hair (one of my good physical features) has been tangled and raggy mess. No haircut in 7 months and using whatever shampoo is lying around gets the blame for my hair being a wreck, not to mention bad water.
Since I am low maintenance I would not complain but I COULDN’T EVEN REALLY PUT A BRUSH through it without pulling out gobs of hair.
I need a haircut but I am in Portugal. I run a google search and find a place one subway stop away that has decent reviews from tourists that stopped in.
My stylist speaks no English and I no Portuguese. I learn the word for cut (Corte) and mimic cutting my ends and then say lavar (which I think is Spanish for wash) and she gets it and takes me to the sink to shampoo. I decide asking for layers and thinning my hair out is way too complex to translate and could lead to very bad results if misunderstood.
While she is combing out my rats nest I get out my google translate to try to make jokes about my hair. Split ends doesn’t translate but bad hair does. She smiles. I broke the language barrier. She asks me a couple questions I don’t understand at first but we eventually figure it all out.
Now my hair is freshly trimmed.
She blow dries it straight which I don’t love. After my next shower I feel the difference. My good hair is back for now.
I also broke down and bought some argan oil. It is in a glass container and is more weight for my pack but I didn’t bring a ton of other beauty products so this will be my one sacrifice (until I get tired of carrying it!)
Since I now had more time in Lisbon I decided to do the day trip to the “must see” Sintra.
The guide books say to get there super early. I took the train from Rossi around mid-morning.
Once you get to Sintra it is a long bus ride from train station (bus 434). It is the one with the long line. I walked past it at first because I thought it was a chartered coach. It costs around 6-7 euros for a hop on hop off pass.
In all it took about 2 hours to get to the first castle from the train in Lisbon.
Don’t try to walk it to the castles. It is a long walk uphill that will take lots of time (over an hour). You will waste all your time and energy, you need it for the hillls and lines of the castles.
Also buy your tickets in advance but don’t buy tickets for 4 castles like I did and only have time for two. Unless you get there super early 3 is max you can probably do on a busy day. And try to go to Pena at the start of the day or late afternoon. You’ll still wait in line to get into the park but you won’t wait in that horrible ticket line.
Pena palace has me all stabby today. Decided to eat first since the line to get into the palace was over an hour and there were people cutting in line. I had low blood sugar so I ran off to get some food. Luckily when I came back the line was somewhat shorter but not by much. Once you get inside you stay in line while walking through unless you are the Italian girls behind me who pretty much pushed through everyone to get to the instagram photo spots. And as a side bar I really hated Instagram today (and many moments later in my travels). I love sharing my adventures with friends and family on instagram but it makes sightseeing unbearable anymore. Lots of groups of girls in cute outfits/dresses and fully made up (do these girls not sweat?) that hold everyone up in key spots so everyone in their group can get their perfect pose in front of the pretty/cool/different thing. I was about ready to go full B on some of these girls because it got downright ridiculous. I don’t mind a few tries for cute pictures at a couple of locations but these girls stop everywhere and block everything. I had a hard time getting in just to see something (not to mention actually taking a photo of my own) and every time I thought I had a break to take my own photo a stupid girl would jump in my frame and start doing modeling poses. So this rant is a PSA of sort, girls chill a little.
But Pena palace is kind of cool looking. I think I would have enjoyed it much more if I spent a couple days at Sintra and did it first thing in the morning before it was chaotic.
Because I wasted so much time at Pena I really only had time for one more castle before closing time.
I chose the Moorish castle.
The moorish castle was definitely less crowded. There was still a little bit of the photo shoots but nothing like Pena castle…not enough to really hit my fuse and to be honest sometimes that is short.
I like that it was less crowded and I liked that it gave me a view of some of the other castles, especially since I wouldn’t have time to see the other in person.
What I didn’t like is that I lost my lens cap. There was a long way down and every time I took off my lens cap I kept saying to myself I am going to lose this thing. Guess what? I did. I wasn’t able to replace it until about a week later when I arrived in Turkey.
After the moorish castle I chose the long walk down to the historic center. It was all downhill and I was not in the mood for another bus ride.
I took this opportunity to chill out after a chaotic day. I ordered some steak and a drink. The meat wasn’t the best but the sauce was pretty good.
I bought a couple of souvenirs from a local shop then hopped back on the bus to the train station.
It was an OK day but I think I would have loved Sintra more if I stayed there for a couple days. Hopefully some day I can come back and do that.
I am back in Lisbon for a few days. It is from here I will fly to my next country.
When I left a few days ago there was so much I had left to see. Luckily I am able to come back, but this time alone 😦
I check into my rental. It was an adventure getting here (isn’t it always).
When I booked my rental I knew it was in Alfama and very close to the train station. I made a mental note that I should be able to walk there from the train.
When I am going somewhere I double check and triple check (maybe even quadruple check) things like addresses and whatnot.
When I checked my email after I arrived my google maps said the rental was miles away.
That seemed off and I was somewhat communicating with the owner of the rental at the same time but I didn’t figure out there was a problem yet.
Nope. I hopped in a Uber to my address.
When I arrived things still seemed off. This didn’t seem like the neighborhood I booked. There was no owner waiting for me.
So I checked my email again.
What I discovered is that google totally screwed me up.
Let me explain.
Google, or gmail in this case, tries to build in features to make our lives oh-so-easy. We become dependent upon them and don’t question them.
One feature is that google reads your emails and gives you a summary at the top for times and dates and addresses, etc.
In my case it saw something about “apartment in Alfama” and looked on its stupid little map and came up with some random apartment it thought it represented. I used the address in the summary for my Uber.
The actual rental address is different lower in the email message.
Once I realized what happened I called Uber back to take me to the correct address. The owner of the rental was visibly annoyed at my lateness. I tried to explain it was google’s fault. But whatever. I am checked in now. The kitchen is super cute and has a washing machine.
BUT NO AC. What kind of freak books a rental in Lisbon in the summer with no AC?There is a fan but it is a little fan and there is only one of them.
I sweat it out for a few days.
I keep meaning to let them know to buy a bigger fan.