September 14th, 15th 2010
After an 8-hour bus ride, I arrived in Lisbon around 6 pm on the 14th. Stayed at a wonderful hostel called ‘Traveler’s Hostel’, which in my opinion, has been the best hostel I’ve stayed at so far. It had everything a hostel should have: friendly staff, super clean rooms/bathrooms, great kitchen, great location, and great amenities, all for a good price. Anyway, I spent the night walking the streets around Lisbon. Went to the closest pier and saw a ton of fish just floating near the surface. Saw the sunset on the coast. Saw some skillful skateboarders do tricks at a main square.
(Forgot what this arch was called but it’s one of the main ones)
(All the sidewalks were made of this beautiful smooth tile)
(All this fish were just chilling by the side of the pier, wish I had a line and hook)
I saw a street that had many outdoor seafood restaurants so I picked one and took a seat. No one brought me a menu so I had to get someone’s attention. Made an order of boiled cod and potatoes. A group that sat around the same time I did ordered, ate, paid, and left and I still didn’t get my food. I got annoyed. Another group came, sat down, ordered, and got their food so I gave them 5 more minutes. I was too nice. I figured, maybe boiling fish and potatoes takes a longer time than the food the other groups had. A waiter saw me looking at my watch and timing them so he came over to find out what I had ordered. Instead of telling him, I just said ‘If my food doesn’t get here in 5 minutes, I am walking away’. With 30 seconds left, they brought my food. It wasn’t even that good and wasn’t worth the wait. I started to get excited because I saw my chance to leave a penny tip for the poor service, my first one ever. And I did.
Woke up the next morning and guess who were having breakfast? Jos, Jayben, and Nick, the group of friendly soccer-loving Aussies I met in Barcelona and then Madrid. I knew they were going to be there though because they were the ones who recommended this hostel to me. They had just arrived after taking the night train. I left them to rest while I headed to Belem, home of the famous pasteis de natas or custard tarts, the most famous ones in Portugal. I actually had one the night before, after my suck-ass dinner, after spotting it in a bakery near the hostel. It looked a lot like a Chinese egg-tart, one of my all-time favorite pastries, so that’s why it caught my eye. One of the hostel staff members told me maybe the Chinese egg-tarts originated from the Portuguese version, a plausible reason as the Portuguese used to be world explorers. I had five of them in Belem for lunch. There was a long queue for it so I figured, I might as well make my wait count and have a few.
(Pasteis de natas)
(Torre de Belem)
(Slobs in my hostel room. Girls.)
That night, I decided to join several hostel-mates for wine tasting. I had missed on the previous night when the hostel had tapas night and regretted it when I saw what they had. I was reluctant to do the wine-tasting as I didn’t know anything about wine but the Aussie trio got me to join in. There were 9 different types of wine plus a port, all from different regions of Portugal. It was an interesting experience although I couldn’t tell the difference. I swirled, I sniffed, I drank, and they all tasted like…WINE. I have unsophisticated taste buds. I know my cousin Eugene would have loved this. Green wine anyone?