After 13 hours without sleeping on the night train because of the evil child (read here), the only good thing is to see Giacomo clapping the hands each time that the little ball of lard tries to close his eyes; a deserved revenge after the night we spent because of him. Today, to see Magui again after so much time it is a joy. We shared an apartment during our Erasmus in Madrid, in 2008, and I still remember the laughter, the parties, the complicity we created in order to bear our unsociable homemate. Now Magui is hosting my friend and me, showing how a friendship can stay alive even after years and thousands of kilometers.
We visit Lisbon with Magui as a guide. With the sultriness of august, the colorful houses, the little busy trams, the streets trampled by thousands of feet of every ethnicity, arouse a sense of exotic and found freedom. In this place on the borderline of the world before the sea, you cannot think anythig else but to leave, to explore unknown lands. A positive melancholy wafts in the alleys of barrio alto, the oldest area of the city, while a soup and a bifana (sandwich with meat) give us the strenght to climb all the Miradouro from which is possible to see the city.
A castle, a huge fleamarket, azuleios and lookout terraces, stairs and alleys. Also the second day in Portugal starts well! An extraordinary square offers a multicultural lunch: a lot of stands sell ethnic food from all kind of nationality, the tables in the square are free and our palate can go around the world in few mouthfuls. While Magui is working, Giacomo and me take a train to Belen, the little village where – apart the famous monastery and tower – there is the only pastry shop in the world making Pasteles de Belen, typical sweets of crispy pastry with a delicious cream. It reveals a must.
A light dinner for 2, with 30 meat balls, carrots and salad, peaches and beer, before our evening. At 12am we go to take Magui at the hotel where she works, after losing ourselves a couple of time, driving without a map in a foreign city. In the outdoor bar from which we see the illuminated port, I cannot ignore the suggestion on a local drink: Caipirão, a kind of Caipirinha made with the typical Licor Beirão, immediately climbs the top list of the best cocktails I ever tried.
Sintra is our destination for the third day. The mornig, singing in the car, begins really well, but when we arrive at the town, the idea to reach by walking Pena Palace is not good. About 10km uphill tire us a lot before to start the visit and, once inside, also to get lost in the park is not so nice. The little electric train saves us and we succeed in enjoying the visit of the wonderful place where we are, between majestic trees, towers and little lakes, little bridges and sculptures. Once outside, the tiredness overrides all: we ear a couple speaking Italian and we ask them a passage to the center of the town. They, maybe for kindness, maybe because pity for our condition, say yes.
13 liters of sangria help us to gobble cod, spicy sausage cooked on the fire, potatoes and vegetables. A friend of Magui invited us for dinner with a group of friends. All the Zé Carlos (how they call each other for making everything simpler… or harder) are likeable and also the evening after dinner, in the busy city center, is nice, between laughter and indecent proposals made by a drunk rasta girl who’s fixed for Italian style.
READ HERE THE STEP N°1: Munich (Germany)
READ HERE THE STEP N°2: Bayreuth (Germany)
READ HERE THE STEP N°3: Bruxelles (Belgium)
READ HERE THE STEP N°4: Bruges (Belgium)
READ HERE THE STEP N°5: Antwerp (Belgium)
READ HERE THE STEP N°6: Delft (Netherlands)
READ HERE THE STEP N°7: Rotterdam (Netherlands)
READ HERE THE STEP N°8: Amsterdam (Netherlands)
READ HERE THE STEP N°9: Luxembourg (Luxembourg)
READ HERE THE STEP N°10: Marseille (France)
READ HERE THE STEP N°11: San Sebastian (Spain)
READ HERE THE STEP N°12: Guernica, Bermeo, Mundaka, San Juan de Gaztelugatxe (Spain)
READ HERE THE STEP N°13: Bilbao (Spain)