The Portugal Chronicles – My Parents Second Visit
I had the most incredible time on my trip to Europe. The real problem is that I have so much material to write about that I just didn’t manage to get to it all whilst I was travelling so some of the posts will be retrospective posts – referring back to the trip and perhaps reminding me of the enjoyable times as, to be honest, the last year of Uni is a bit of a struggle.
People kept telling me that the final year would be hard but I didn’t realise quite how hard it was going to be. Sure, you still have your independence and the room is a bit bigger than the van but the thing is the view from the van door changed every day. The view out of my Uni window (when I get the opportunity to look out) doesn’t. And Lancaster UK can be a bit cold and grey at this time of year whereas Europe in the summer was just full of colour!
Anyway, I’ve spent a pleasant three weeks, over Christmas, catching up with family and friends so I thought I’d use some of the time to catch up with some of the blogs I should have written whilst I was away.
Whilst I was in Portugal, Mum & Dad came out to visit me again. (If you’ve read my previous blogs you’ll recall that they last came out when I was in Berlin). This time, they spent nearly a week with me rather than just a long weekend. The arrangement was to for them to fly from Birmingham Airport in the UK to Lisbon’s Portela Airport. The deal was that I book Airbnb’s and they pay me back. That way, I can always make sure there’s somewhere for Rosie to live as well. As it was, they pre-paid me before I booked the accommodation, and I ended up making a small profit!
Whilst I loved the freedom of travelling by myself and I love meeting new people and seeing new places, I also love my family. The idea of being able to have them come and do a week with me travelling is something I could not pass up. Also it meant free food and board for a week!! I mean, I know I had the van but, sometimes, it’s nice to have running water on tap and to be able to stretch out in bed. And have I mentioned the free food – and beer?
We stopped in some fantastic places.
Lisbon, we stopped in a beautiful two-story flat right in the heart of the “old town.” The flat is owned by a really nice local couple who’ve recently moved back to Portugal from Brazil. He is a musician and owns one of Vangelis’s old keyboards which was kept on display in the flat (don’t worry – we didn’t touch it).
Using the flat as a base, we spent the next three days exploring Lisbon, particularly the old town. We also had an electric Tuk-Tuk tour with this guy who really brought the history of Lisbon to life. Highly recommended, if you’re ever in Lisbon. Unfortunately, we didn’t take a photo of the Tuk-Tuk. The only photo we’ve got is one of Mum gripping on for grim death. (She prefers driving and is a terrible passenger!)
From Lisbon, Mum and Dad experienced a tiny bit of van life as we drove about 400km to Porto where we rented a flat, with parking, about 40 minutes walk from the centre of Porto. (You didn’t have to walk in, the historic tram and the normal bus service ran every 20 minutes from just down the road.) We had a great time and Mum and Dad’s visit was a fitting conclusion to my trip – as I was only a couple of weeks from the end.