Lisbon took my energy (days 66-68)

Day 66 – Saturday, 24.11.2012
I woke up early, washed my hair, packed few things, had my breakfast and then Damir and I walked to school. We were told we should be on time because the bus will not wait for sleepy people. Well we waited for a bus for about 20 minutes then… Portugal. =) There were already some Erasmus students from Leira on the bus and after that we picked some more students in Peniche. And so finally we were on our way to Lisbon.
First we stopped in Belem; it’s part of Lisbon where some galleries, museums and large monastery are placed. We had just about an hour and a half of time to visit whatever we want and so Damir and I decided to visit the Berardo Museum that has many different works of modern artists. Walesca and Júnior, our Erasmus friends from Brazil, decided to join us. Soon after checking some interesting installation we lost each other and so Damir and I checked the place together. I liked many of these modern works, but most of all I really wanted to see some works by Andy Warhol. Well I was disappointed because Gaja was there last weekend and she had seen it, but now that part of exhibition was already closed. Oh well, maybe some other time. And I have to mention that the entrance to Berardo Museum is free.
After that our IPL bus took us to the other side of Lisbon called Expo and we had about an hour of free time at Vasco da Gama shopping center, which is the second largest in Lisbon. To us it was really quite huge, probably two or three times larger than the largest in Slovenia. It was interesting to see, but most of all it let us wonder how the largest shopping center in Lisbon looks like, since it’s also the largest in Europe. And it was interesting that some other Erasmus students really were not impressed by the size of this one, since they have bigger ones in their countries. It made me realize that Slovenia is actually really small country… =) And it’s not that I want a shopping center of this size at home, or that I support this kind of modern lifestyle, but I admit that it’s interesting.
At 15:00 we were supposed to go to the Oceanarium together with all the other Erasmus students, but since we’re in Portugal it’s totally understandable that there is some delay. We walked there because it’s very close and then we had to wait for about 45 minutes to get the tickets and we were all a bit angry because we knew everything could be arranged in advance and so no waiting would be necessary. But ok, we got our tickets and we finally entered the Oceanarium. Damir and I decided to go through it a bit slower than others because we were staying in Lisbon but others had to return to bus at 18:00. We were there until about 18:30 and we enjoyed every moment in there. It’s relaxing to just stop at those huge windows and watch all those fish and other animals swim by. And we just loved the penguins! I’ve seen them in a Prague ZOO once, but you couldn’t see much of their swimming. Here you can see them under water and how they play and swim. It’s really cute! They are so playful animals! And I just loved the sea otters that were chilling in the water, just laying on their backs and cleaning their paws. Later we’ve also seen them from under water and one of them was doing some somersaults in water. =D Oh, there were so many fish, sharks and other animals, but most of all I was impressed by manta. It’s such an elegant animal.
Anyway, it was interesting, it was fun and it was relaxing and I could write so much more about it, but I’ll rather just add some photos because nobody wants to read so much. =)
After the Oceanarium Damir and I went back to Vasco da Gama shopping center and we decided that maybe we would eat some warm food. So we went to the restaurants area and there were quite a lot of them. At the end Damir decided for some Asian food and I decided to get some pasta with ingredients you pick yourself. I asked the lady that worked there about something and I mentioned that I’m vegan and she was so excited to hear that since she was vegan too. She showed me some soy “meat balls” that I could add to pasta and so I did. They were really good and they actually tasted like meat balls! =D After filling our bellies we went the Continent supermarket that is in the same shopping center. We thought that the one we have in Caldas da Rainha is quite big, but this one was so much bigger!
After buying some fruits and food for breakfast we took the metro to the station where our hotel was supposed to be. I just knew approximately where it was and I knew the name of the street. When we got on the street level I just looked around and I guessed we need to go up the street and then left at some point. We turned in the first street on the left and we realized it is some tram or cable car that is quite famous in Lisbon and it takes you uphill. Next to it there is a Sex shop/bar and we thought that was a bit funny because it was at the location we really didn’t expect it. And the funniest thing was that our hotel was just around the corner. =) Well, we were quite surprised that we found our hotel right away. So the Pensao Monumental, as it was called, was totally ok hotel, especially for this price. I made a reservation over and because it was practically last minute reservation price was 50% off, so we paid only 20€ per room.
We found one cinema in the city that is playing the new Tim Burton movie Frankenweenie 3D. It’s not that we would want to watch it especially in 3D, but it was the only cinema to play this movie at all! That is really weird since other cinemas had posters for it too, but they didn’t and still don’t play it at all. I don’t know the reason for this weirdness. It was rainy night, but we still decided to walk to the cinema that was about 2km away. Again we had no problem finding the building and we went to see the movie. Yay! We both really wanted to see it and I have to say it filled my expectations and it was a really good movie. Then we walked back to the hotel again and it was raining even more than before, but we were stubborn and we didn’t take the metro, though we could and maybe we should. Anyway, since the movie started at 00:15 (and that was the only show for that movie in a whole day) we went to sleep around 03:00 and we were soooo tired.

Day 67 – Sunday, 25.11.2012

Alarm clock at 8:00; press the sleep button. Alarm clock at 8:00; press the sleep button. Alarm clock at 8:10; press the sleep button. Alarm clock at 8:15; press the sleep button. Alarm clock at 8:20; give up and set the alarm for 8:30. Alarm clock at 8:30; it was hard but I managed to press the stop button and slowly, like a sloth, I managed to get out of the bed. I let Damir sleep a bit more while I was in the bathroom and I wanted to wake him up when I returned to the room. Obviously he was very tired since I had to call him like ten times and I head to poke him to wake him up. =) We had some breakfast, packed our things and at around 10:00 we checked out of the hotel.
It was raining again, but not as much as last night. We walked to the city center because our hotel was really close by. We checked the Santa Justa Elevator that was designed by Gustave Eiffel, the same guy that designed the Eiffel tower (that’s why it’s called Eiffel tower if maybe you didn’t know). We didn’t use the elevator, but we just observed the interesting design. Then we walked through the same street Gaja and I did when we were in Lisbon and since the Design and Fashion Museum doesn’t have any entrance fee I decided to take Damir there, because he might like it. And he did. This time they also had some temporary exhibition of some dresses. It was interesting.
Then we took the tram to Belem again where we visited the Maritime Museum that is located in one part of Jeronimos Monastery. Monastery itself will have to wait and I’ll visit it some other time when the weather will be better. Maritime Museum has free entrance if you enter before 14:00. It is quite large and most of all it is larger than it looks like when you enter. Since both of us are very interested in sea and nautical things we went through the museum slowly and after we got through the first large room I realized there is another large room and then after that one another room… At first we went through all the things slowly and with a lot of interest, but later on it was just too much information for me and I started to go through all the things faster. Damir was so interested in all the things I had to rush him a bit because otherwise we would stay there probably until it closes. I think at the end we were in there for about three hours. But it really is a great museum and they have so much information from the time of great discoveries. They even have an original archangel that Vasco da Gama took with him on his cruises. And they have so many models of ships! At the end there is a huge hall where they have actual boats and even some hydroplanes. So yes, we were impressed by the museum and I’m sure I’ll visit it again.
After that we were just really tired and our feet hurt because we already walked so much in the last two days, and my back hurt because of the backpack and Damir had blisters on his feet. So we took the first tram back to the center and from there we took a Metro and went to the bus station to check when it is the last bus to Caldas da Rainha. We realized that we have more than enough time to visit Colombo, the largest shopping center in Europe. From metro station the staircase leads directly to the hall of shopping center and when we saw it we both said: “Ok yes, it’s large.” We stepped outside to see how it looks and we were like: “Yeah, it really looks large, but I’m not so sure if it looks so much larger than Vasco da Gama.” Then we went across the street to see the Estádio da Luz, the stadium of Benfica football club. We would go closer and maybe inside, but we couldn’t find any path across the street and I really didn’t feel like walking and searching for it. I saw it from outside, that’s enough for me, at least for now. I’m not a football fan anyway, though I am architecture fan… Oh well, maybe some other time.
Well after that we turned around and realized that the Colombo shopping center is much larger when you see it from a side and then we were like: “Ok yes, this is not large, it is huge!” We went inside and I wanted to find the Fun Center and after some walking we found it. There is an indoor roller coaster that isn’t anything special, but still, how often do you see a roller coaster on the top floor of a shopping center?! And they even have those bump cars, bowling, billiard and so many different simulators and even a cyber-corner, where you can play games like Half-life and Counter-strike. But Damir got all hyped when he saw some flipper machines. He didn’t play it though, but I think next time there he will not be able to resist it. =) Then we were just so hungry and tired we really wanted to eat and sit down, but now there were so many different restaurants that we couldn’t decide what to eat. Ok it was easier for me to just ignore the ones that only serve meat, but even for vegans there are a lot of options. At the end I was just too tired to search and experiment and try something new, I gave up and had that pasta with different ingredients again. Damir chose pizza this time and he was a bit disappointed when he noticed it is thin as a paper. But ok, he survived. After that we decided to get some ice cream and I was happy to find some mango sorbet. =) Then we just went around the shopping center and we realized it is just too huge. I mean, we actually couldn’t orientate anymore and we were not sure where we already walked. It is just… simply… HUGE! Parts of building even have street names and areas their own names. It’s crazy. Financial crisis my ass (sorry for the word)! There were so many people and some of them had so many shopping bags I just couldn’t believe it. Obviously not all Portuguese people have crisis. I don’t mean to be rude, I know there is a lot of people that are really struggling and we saw a lot of homeless people and even some nicely dressed people bagging for money, but when you see this other extreme it makes you think in what kind of world we live in. It’s sad, but I try not to bother with it too much. If I would worry for every problem in the world I could already die out of sorrow. I rather deal with my own life and I’m trying to live it the way I don’t harm other people, animals or the planet. I know it’s practically impossible to do that totally, but I’m trying to do my best.
Well after this long and exhausting day we realized it’s time to catch bus back home. We were already a bit late and we had to find the way to the metro again. We were checking all the signs in the Colombo but it still took us about 5-10 minutes to find the way. We were running to the subway train and then we had to wait about 4 minutes for its arrival. When we finally got to our station we ran to the bus station across the street and the clock was already 20:13, the bus takes off at 20:15. But we managed to buy the ticket and we got on the train just as clocked turned 20:15. Now that’s what I call great timing. =D We arrived home safely and totally exhausted.

Day 68 – Monday, 26.11.2012
I couldn’t wake up in the morning. I just wanted to stay in the bed until noon or something, but I had to put the clothes to washing machine as soon as possible, because finally it was supposed to be a bit better weather and I could dry them outside. So I woke up at around 9:00 and I was like a zombie. I was on my computer until clothes were washed and I had to hang them to dry. Few minutes after that it started to rain, then it stopped, and through the day that happened about three times. This Portuguese weather is really weird. But at the end of the day most of the clothes were dry so I’d say that’s a success.
Other than that I edited some photos from the weekend, Skyped with my family and that’s pretty much it. I should go to the shop, but I didn’t feel like it. I’ll do that tomorrow. Today I’m just so tired of all the weekend. I should go to the class today but I couldn’t. I was just like out of my head, really, I was like a tired happy zombie today. =) But I think tomorrow I’ll be as new and with full batteries. =)


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