Lisbon is the city version of a fuck boy. It hurts you but you don’t really care because it’s so sexy. The first few hours in Lisbon were big time hurt, small time sexy.It’s so beautiful even writing about it makes me happy. I had such high expecations from what everyone had said about it and I was not let down. After one of the most uncomfortable bus journeys I’ve ever experienced (with NO WIFI 😡 ) I arrived into the outskirts of Lisbon to closed down bus station. Not a great start. I had to wait around an hour until the public transport started again to get into the city. I was grumpy, hungry and poor not the best combination. I got off at the metro stop closest to the hostel I had booked online only to be greeted with a massive fucking hill. Not happy. After climbing what I felt was Portugals answer to Mnt Everest and then also tackling stupid slippy stairs up to the door of the hostel, I got to put my shit down, have a shower and eat some free food, my favourite type of food. Although I wasn’t able to check into my room til two o clock that day (it was only 0830) I was able to have a lie down on the bean bags in the lounge or out on the sun loungers on the terrace.
I wasn’t sleeping very much so I got up and joined the free walking tour from the hostel at 1030 of the historic city centre. Free walking tours are always pretty similar and I do think that it’s a good way to see all the important bits if you are stuck for time and money, like I was. We got to go through all of the important neighbourhoods and up to the top of the Elevador de Santa Justa. The street art and decorations in Lisbon are super pretty and it feels like it’s christmas all year round.At the end of the tour I went for lunch in AO26 a vegan resturant at the top of a hill, of course. Second to the vegan pizza I got in Madrid that I still find difficult to believe was actually vegan, was one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Would definitely recomend it to vegans and meat eaters everywhere.
Every Sunday during the summer in Lisbon they were having a continued summer jazz festival for free in a public park. I rocked up on Sunday afternoon with a new found friend for a few drinks and to enjoy the music. Unfortunately I can’t upload vidoes, the atmosphere was so nice with mostly locals just dancing, drinking and chatting surronded by good music, good food and good vibes (lol).I really wanted to chill out for the last few days of my trip so I booked a hostel in Cascais, a beach resort 40 mins outside of Lisbon, packed my smelly belongings together and departed.
I heard so many conflicting things before going to Madrid, most people loved it and warned me that I would be sucked into the city only to be seen again when my bank account was empty and then others told me it was too hot in the summer and I’d be confined to my air conditioned room for my entire stay. The reality for me was somewhere in between.
Although it was unbearably warm at times and I showered what felt like a million times a day most days I was still sucked into the cities charm. Well maybe it was more like slipped on a pool of my own sweat and slithered into it, either way my trip that was meant for four days turned into two weeks and I still felt there was more to see.
I did all the obvious touristy things (the ones that were free anyway), Prado museum, la renia Sophia etc… Most of the museums and galleries are free either in the last two hours of opening or if you have a valid student card and you are under 25. My favorite museum was la renia Sophia, which houses collections from Dali and Picasso as well hundreds of others. It’s super big though so I did it over two days.
The city is full of wild life with turtles and fish in the ponds in the parks and in the train station. They are perfect lunch dates, even if you do look mental trying to talk to baby animals in public… The parks and plazas were perfect for passing the days away doing nothing more than people watching and reading (two of my favorite activities).
I spent my birthday here, this was one of the first times I got to proper experience Spanish nightlife. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to spend my birthday then on a roof top pool in the middle of the city and then topped off with cake and free drinks in the evening.I would like to give a full comment on it but being me I blacked out after pub two on the pub crawl… All I know for sure is that there was like of stage dancing and hair flipping, my two favorite things.
Most of the people I met in Madrid were so nice and accommodating apart from the first hostel I stayed in where I had major problems with some of the men that were staying there and the staff were so unhelpful. The second hostel I stayed in was so nice and I made some really good friends there, the staff were so friendly and willing to help with anything. Mad4You, the second hostel I stayed in was sick. The breakfast was the best I had in all the hostels I’ve stayed in, it was the highlight of my day, every day.
When the second week was closing in I realised that I needed to move on and see more places before my money ran out. I was really sad to leave but I will definitely come back to Madrid it’s a place where I don’t think I would ever get bored. Although I was planning on going in the general direction of Lyon, a free over night bus ticket to Lisbon fell into my lap so my decision was made for me.
Everyone who I meet who has stayed in hostels always says the same thing, you meet the weirdest people in hostels.
After last night, I now realise that Gabby and I are those weirdos. We over share, are over emotional and over enthusiastic.
Two Kiwis came to stay in my room here in Madrid and within ten minutes I had already told them far more than they ever wanted to know. Luckily this didn’t scare them off and the agreed to come for cans with us.
After a sniff of alcohol things just get worse, we spent a long time letting everyone know how we felt about saving the NHS and repealing the eighth. After the ball got rolling we just couldn’t shut up. Gabbs let everyone know about the time she woke up a Portuguese town by setting off a house alarm trying to leave some guys house, while I shared my weakness for tour guides on a power trip.
For us, it’s normal and natural to share every dirty and disastrous detail of our messy lives. Some people this freaks them out and maybe we come on to strong, I think this is why I am often on the receiving end of eye rolling and lots of side eye. Sometimes this can hurt my feelings, but it’s also natural I’m definitely not everyone’s cup of tea.
Maybe one day we’ll learn to use our filters but for now, I think I’ll continue sharing as honestly as I can.
I’ve been in Madrid for the past three days staying in the worst hostel I’ve ever stayed in. When I arrived I had to walk through a group of men who looked like they had just been released from prison and I was the first woman they had seen in ten years. Uncomfortable start.
There was no common kitchen so no where to store food which meant that you just had to eat out all the time which was super costly. There was a common area but it was negative craic. Like it literally sucked the energy out of your body it was so dull.
Outside there were always that group of weird men sitting around the entrance making everyone with a vagina feel very uncomfortable. This in addition to the unwelcome and inappropriate touching at breakfast from one of these men made me feel in general very unsafe and unwelcome at this hostel. It is the first time on this trip or other times that I have been staying alone that I have felt vulnerable.
Not only did I personally feel unsafe but I was also concerned about the security of my belongings. One morning a man walked into the hostel common room from the street and stole someones ipad off the table while he wasn’t looking. Luckily the man noticed and ran after him and got it back, but still.
Previously I have just been picking my hostels based on the lowest price but I think that in the future I need to pay more attention to the reviews and the facilities in the place especially in a big city like Madrid.
I’ve moved to a new hostel still in Madrid now, and already I’m getting a way better vibe from it.
Due to minimal budgets I basically just find the cheapest transport and accommodation possible. On Saturday night I found a cheap hostel in Madrid and a super slow train through the mountains all day Monday. It was about double the time and half the price of most of the other journeys so naturally I took it.
I was waiting at my platform expecting a semi modern train to arrive when a glorified steam engine pulled up. The doors didn’t even open themselves, it was like something from Harry Potter. There were no plugs or wifi on the train and the only toilet smelt like balls and urine. Despite this it was actually a really nice journey.
The ticket inspector at the beginning of the trip told me something in Spanish, I panicked and just said “si”. When he said the same thing to the girls behind me they started asking questions about time and place names so I had to ask them what he said. Turned out I had to change trains towards the end of the journey. Thank fack I asked the girls otherwise I would probably be in some tiny town in the middle of Spain right now instead of sweaty Madrid.
The actually journey was so beautiful we went up into the mountains around Valencia and through all these tunnels and over valleys. It was definitely one of the most relaxing and picturesque journeys I’ve taken. We passed through tiny little farming towns that look like they are ten million miles away from everything else. It was definitely worth the 30 beans for the views alone.
I think after this I will definitely always be going the longer slower route. I didn’t get to take many photos but I’ve never seen country side like what I saw on the train and I definitely would have missed it on a faster train.