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Keeping a Journal

So, perhaps you kept a “secret diary” when you were about 13 years old?

Not me.

I never saw the point in writing down every thing I ever did, or that ever happened to me.

So imagine then my surprise when I found myself wanting to keep a journal whilst here. I’d always thought simply having photographs of my trip would suffice.. or talking to people about what I’d experienced. It just hadn’t occurred to me to physically write things down.

I went and bought myself a nice moleskin-esque blank paged tan coloured journal. Then I went to write in it…

..what the hell was I going to write?

Instead, I did what I normally do. I sketched.

Some people keep journals as a very private memoir, but I like to think of it as being a way of showing people how I’m feeling that particular day. Plus, I wanted others to add to my journal. To that end, I’m now collecting journal entries from others. It can be anything they want.. they can glue in a picture, draw something, write something.

I’ll include a collection of my sketches below.

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Love,

Sophie x

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Carnation Revolution, BBQ’s and Henna..

So, the Carnation Revolution.. otherwise known as ‘Freedom Day’.

Portuguese people know all about it, but I would wager few outside of the country do. A quick history lesson:

The Carnation Revolution was a military coup in the capital, Lisboa which began on April 25th 1974 to overthrow the regime of the Estado Novo (authoritarian). Along with a civil resistance movement , officers from the Movimento das Forcas Armadas who opposed the regime the regime led to the fall of the government and the withdrawal of Portugal from it’s African colonies.

The name “Carnation Revolution” comes from the fact no shots were fired and when the population started descending the streets to celebrate the end of the dictatorship and war in the colonies, carnation flowers were put into the muzzles of rifles and on the uniforms of the army. The Portuguese celebrate the national holiday of Freedom Day on 25 April every year to celebrate the revolution.

So, that’s our history lesson over!

Annemarie’s last night and Freedom Day almost coincided, so we decided to have a big BBQ! I made Freedom Day bunting (but forgot to take a picture, sorry!) to help decorate the garden.

We all ate lots of good BBQ food, drank good wine and even tried this herbal liquor gifted to us by a University Orchestra from Dusseldorf (it was best when mixed with lemonade). As with most hostels, we had a good few musically talented guests staying with us that week which led to a post-dinner jam session!

3 guitars, a violin, a djembe, spoons, forks, and several half filled glasses later we’d sung and played our hearts out whilst getting, I’ll be honest, fairly drunk. It’s funny how the more alcohol you drink, the better you think you are at doing certain things (singing [unfortunately] included).

Post BBQ we headed out to the infamous Bairro Alto (a warren of smalls streets full of bars where you mostly drink outside). We went straight to 89 where we got free shots, followed by some pretty delicious mojitos!

On the topic of cocktails and Bairro Alto.. if you’re ever there find 89, it has cheap beers, good cocktails and reasonably priced shots. Also, on the same street there’s a bar that does pint cocktails for 4 euros (yes, you heard me right FOUR). I forget the name but it’s pretty easy to find.

No bartender I’ve seen here so far seems to measure the amount of alcohol they put into cocktails.. as a result you usually end up with a healthy measure of rum your mojito or caprihinia.

And that’s it for this post!

We were all very sad to see Annemarie go, but she’s having a brilliant time touring Europe and she’s still in touch 🙂

I forgot to mention, we also all did henna tattoos on each other. I’ll post pictures of the day below.

Love,

Sophie x

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A Little Note on Timings..

So, a little note on the timings of the last two posts and the one to come.

I wrote them when I arrived, but held off posting until now! So, the actual dates of writing are as follows:

I’m Here! – March 14th 

Lisboa Metro – March 25th

Freedom Day, BBQ’s and Henna – April 27th (not yet published)

And that’s about it!

I will post the last one later this evening/tomorrow afternoon and from then on everything will be up-to-date.

Love,

Sophie x

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Lisboa Metro

On to the Lisbon Metro. I cannot overstate how EASY it is to navigate the metro system here. I know people get very confused by the London underground and rightly so; by comparison it’s as muddled as your brain after a heavy night on the town. 

 Here however, you have four different lines for the city. Azul (blue), Amarella (yellow), Verde (green) and Vermelha (red):

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As you can see, all pretty straight forward. Even buy tickets is simple.  

No matter how long you’re staying I’d recommend the Viva Viagem card you can buy at any of the metro stations. You pay 0.50 cents for the card itself but after that you can top it up, the more you top it up, the cheaper each single journey becomes. I chose 10 euros as I’m here for a few months and it gets my journey price down to about just over a euro for a single trip. The card lasts a year and you can top it up as many times as you want. If you don’t want to use the automated machines you can go to a kiosk and buy. The staff are all incredibly helpful, and understand English so you shouldn’t be hesitant! 

Another thing, not using the metro means you miss out on some beautifully designed stations, along with the artwork contained in them. Many stops have had artists commissioned to design sculptures of tiling. I saw one station in particular I loved, and I intend to visit it just for the stop itself!

 To conclude, use the metro!

 

Love,

Sophie x

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I’m Here!

So after a 2 hour flight, 20 minute metro ride and another 20 minute walk.. I finally arrived!

 Gatwick was pretty much pain free oddly, no huge queues or last minute disasters due in part to the fact that I was there about 4 hours before my flight and I’d already checked in online! Oh the wonders of Easy Jet.

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 Waiting to board…

Anyway, no surprises as far as the airport was concerned – munched down on a sandwich and waited for my boarding call. Boarded the flight okay and then the pilot announces that we’ll be delayed by about 10 minutes because there was a huge group of children that were running late and he didn’t want to leave them behind. Kudos to the guy, he probably risked his job for it but all the kids eventually arrived; flustered but pretty relieved they were actually going to be able to get home!

 Quick headcount and we’re off!

 The flight over was okay, except I was sat next to a guy who; for want of a better phrase… was a pain in the arse. You know that thing that some people seem to do when they sit down? They open their legs as wide as they’ll possibly go and pretty much think everyone else can shove it? Yeah, that. Except he did it with his arms too. Eventually after being curled up in a corner, being elbowed in the side he realised he was being a tool and stopped it. 

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Look at all the frost on the window!

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Night over Lisboa… stunning.
And above is the scene that greeted me as we landed in Lisboa. All the little street lights looked so super twinkly in almost didn’t look real. 

I got on the metro at Aeropuerto (red line) and alighted at Marques de Pombal (blue line), after a little switch over at S. Sebastiano (red line).

I’ll admit, I was a tiny bit worried about using the metro – not because I don’t understand HOW to use it, but because metro stations are notorious for being very, erm, step-heavy. To my delight, every stop I used had either an escalator or a lift so not a big deal at all! However, when I came out of my final stop (Marques de Pombal) I couldn’t find either, so I dragged my case up the stairs, bashed my foot on the way up and had help from a lovely passing young Portuguese woman.

Lisbon itself is pretty easy to navigate.. if you get lost, head downwards and you’ll eventually hit the harbour and you can navigate from there.

I found the hostel, got inside and was greeted by Filipa, Quique and Linda! All three are lovely and made me feel incredibly welcome. There was a bit of a mix up on my arrival date which meant I couldn’t sleep in the staff space, so I was put in a room with guests. The beds are comfy and the duvet is plenty warm enough.

I had an excellent nights sleep and a nice cheese, bread, jam and chocolate spread based breakfast (with some cereal thrown in for good measure).

After starting out cold, the day has turned out surprisingly warm (for March in Lisbon at any rate) and is now a comfortable 15 degrees. I’ve found a good little supermarket that even sells chocolate soya milk (yummy!) so I’m sorted for food for the next two weeks.

I start work on Sunday so I think the next update will probably be then!


Love,

Sophie x