So, having jumped ship Lorraine and Jamie head down to Portugal’s capital, Lisbon, by coach.
Lisbon is as cosmopolitan as Porto is traditional. This is apparent as soon as you hit the streets, which are bustling with travellers, hippies, performers, artists, musicians, Bohemians, and gays. Yes, it seems Lisbon is home to the hom. A wrong look in the direction of one of the many pretty boys here and you could find yourself in a tight spot. Literally.
Whilst trudging the streets after a tiresome bus journey Lorraine and I headed towards a pensao (I think this translates as ‘pension’ – these are apartments normally privately owned with bedrooms and shared bathrooms. I think they’re called Pensions since they are normally occupied by students, cheap-skate travellers like ourselves and ageing alcoholics), via one of the main streets in downtown Lisbon. The first street performer we spot is a guy playing a piano in the back of his van! Classic! Unfortunately the piano was out of tune and the guy couldn’t play for toffee, but this didn’t stop Lorraine falling in love with him and whiling away her time in Lisbon with romantic ideas of running off with him to Paris. Seriously, the guy sucked (sorry Lorraine).
So, we’re in Portugal’s capital. How do we celebrate our new found freedom? How else but a visit to a fantastic jazz café (Hot Clube) that’s played host to some of the jazz greats. After necking many potent whisky and waters (the only drink to be imbibing whilst listening to some cool blues), and having made friends with some locals already, Lorraine and I then check out one of Lisbon’s biggest clubs, Lux. The Lonely Planet, which is invariably misinformed, describes Lux as a converted warehouse, playing house to a ‘knowing crowd’. Well, it got the bit about the warehouse right. It was a fantastic venue right on the river front. But house? To a knowing crowd? What was it this crowd knew? Jane, if you’re reading this, put me in touch with some DJ chums in Lisbon…they need educating! Oh yeah, and the Portuguese can’t dance, it’s official. Even when Lorraine suggested five minutes of ‘stupid dancing’, we were still showing this ‘knowing’ crowd a thing or two.
Sunday, by contrast, was a rather more educational wander around the old part of Lisbon, with a visit to the castle and general meandering via the backstreets.
By Monday I have decided I need to head down to the Algarve to check out two of Portugal’s most important ports (Portimao and Vilamoura), with the aim of finding another vessel to join in order to continue my journey across the Atlantic. It’s only been three days but already I’m missing the water. Let’s not forget why I’m here in the first place! Lorraine, who is less pushed for time (being the spring chicken that she is she has years of discovery ahead of her!), decides to stay on. She’s only been here a few days and already she knows most of the people here! Good on her, I say.
We celebrate our last night together with a huge blow out in Lisbon’s most expensive restaurant, which is owned by John Malkovich don’t you know? That was the only reason for going to be honest and I gleaned much pleasure from turning up at this swanky emporium in my grubby shorts and sandals, much to the disgust of the other diners of course. I think the waiters also got a kick out of this since we were given the best table in the house, right by the window overlooking the river (not that you could see anything due to the time of night). I thought about complaining that my gazpacho soup was cold, just for a joke, but you never know what those gay waiters ‘add’ to your main course when you’re not looking.