Welcome to our final blog, coming from our final destination, Cecela on the Eastern Algarve, other wise known as 'Dad & Cath's'.
I think we left you at the bull fighting in Madrid didn't we? The rest of our stay in the Spanish capital was concentrated firstly towards a free tour of the City. The tour lasted a gruelling 3 and a half hours but gave great coverage of the City and helped us to not only understand the history behind Madrid, but also to gain our bearings somewhat (our map that was provided in our Hostel wasn't the best!).
Our second evening was spent drinking with our new found Brazillian friend Lincoln. We headed to a few bars, including an Irish bar which we had previously tried to avoid whenever possible (not for a dislike of the Irish we must say!), but 6 Heineken for 12 Euro was too good to turn down. We also got some free food chucked into the bargain after accepting leftovers.
Into the early hours we went, striving to find areas populated with hoards of people, but after visiting all the main hot spots to find that pretty much everywhere was closed. Max, Lincoln and our new found Irish friend Ross (see, I told you we have no grudge with the Irish!) grabbed a beer to sink at Plaza Royal before I decided to call it a night via an additional hour and a half tour around Madrid, hosted by me and with just the one participant, which again was me!
The following day's highlight was a tour of the Bernabeu Stadium, Home of Real (Royal) Madrid F.C. The tour provided a really intriging insight into the History of the club, from it's rather humble inception back in the early 1900's to the current status of the world's biggest club (something that even I can not dispute!). We were able to see the vast arena from the stands before a sit down in Mourinho's seat in the dug out and a stroll through the changing room's.
After the tour was concluded, we headed to a nearby 'cafe' for a quick bite to eat, but quickly exited with our tails firmly between our legs when we realised the place specialised in Tapas only (and let me tell you, Tapas doesn't come cheap!). The waiter wasn't best pleased, especially after bread was already placed firmly on the table in preperation! We did contemplate taking the bread and running, but thought better of it and headed back to the Hostel via the Subway.
In the evening we made our was to the famous 'Neptune' fountain to join in the celebrations for the Athletico Madrid football team, who had returned from Monaco triumphant in their Super Cup clash with Inter Milan.
Our final day in Madrid was a long one. Our only way of travelling from to Lisboa via train was to catch a night train, at 22:25, a journey which would last 10 hours, of which around 1 was spent sleeping due to the fact we thought 30 euros was too much to pay for a sleeper carriage. ERROR!
We used the day to explore the city of Madrid a little more, visiting the impressive Palace with it's 2,000+ rooms (of which we explored only a handfull) before making our way across to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. Here we discovered some of the most famous pieces of art from the past 5-6 centuries, including work from our old friend Van Gogh, Dali, Picasso, Monet & Gauguin. We (Lincoln included) then headed our for some food before making our way to the train station, where panic ensued after we failed to realise our train was departing from a different station. After 5-10 minutes of utter confusion, we managed to get onto the subway a make it safely to our platform in time to hop on the train to Lisboa!
We arrive in Lisboa at around 8.30am and head to the Hostel to see if we could check in. As expected, we were unable to do so as check-in was anytime after half 2 in the PM, but we could at least dump our bags before heading out to do some exploring. We walked around the quaint cobbled streets for a few hours before heading up the Santa Justa Elevator some 45 metres or so to see Lisboa from the skies!
After finally checking in at 3, we did some chilling on the plush leather interior of the Yes! Lisbon Hostel. After we each grabbed a quick Siesta, we felt refreshed and recharged to explore the city by the night. We ate at the Hostel, which proved 'a great success', as 8 euros each bought us a starter along with Piri, Piri Chicken wings (sorry Lincoln, I can not repeat your interpretation of these, this is a family show!) for a main and Ice Cream for desert along with 3 free beers. DEAL! This set us up perfectly, and after a few more drinks, we congregated a small army to go out. We visited one 'lively' and another 'empty' bar before finally (after much deliberation, and by much, I mean a good hour or so!) plumping on the 'Jamaica' club. This proved an awesome choice as the 6 euro entry got us 3 free beers (maybe the Portugeese' lucky number, I'm not sure?) and allowed us to Rock out to some epic classic's such as ACDC, Metallica, Nirvana, Radiohead & The Killers to name a few. By 5.30, my dancing shoes had worn thin, so I headed off back to the Hostel, leaving the other guys (Max & Lincoln included) to continue through to 6.30. I made the grave error of not telling anyone I was off, so I awoke to 2 text messages and 8 missed calls enquiring as to where I was. I replied at 8.30 to say I was back safe and sound. Hey, better late than never I say!
The next day was a chilled affair (especially in Max's case, who didn't arise until 2pm!), but we did have time to explore the city via the famous 'Route 28' tram. We grabbed some supplies for tea en-route back to our Hostel and cooked up a mountain of Spaghetti to help soak up the ensueing alcohol to be consumed again, until the early hours.
We awoke feeling tired, but not hungover, as we had teathered our consumption somewhat, but still didn't return home until 4am! Our train to Faro wasn't until half 1, so after breakfast we chilled in our luxurious surroundings (if you plan to visit Lisboa, we would highly recommend the Yes Hostel, it was one of if not the best place we stayed at!) before heading off.
4 hours to Faro and a further 45 to Cecela, our final destination on our tour. We are just heading out for an English Roast (yum, yum!) before catching a live band later on! GOOD TIMES!
This will definately be our last blog, so can I thank everyone (or maybe anyone!) that has taken the time to read. We will leave you with some of our favourite quotes from our Trip..
Catch you all soon!
Steve & Max
'There is always something happening around a beer' - Heineken tour
'You have to plant your Maypole in her front garden' - Scottish tour guide in Munich
'Do you remember me from the internet?' - Steve is approached at an Internet Cafe in Munich
'Let's not go out on the last night here' - at arrival to a new City..this always failed to materialise
'TOP TUNES!!!' - Titto's DJ title
'Cup of English Tea?' - Titto's pisstake of the English
'Left, right?' - standard directional procedure if all else has failed
t***, bums, tap' - Jimmy's new and improved version of our classic
'Arriba, abaso, al' cientro, y a dentro' - Lincoln's Brazilian version
'I didn't know he/she was American?' - Max in repost to Steve's attempt at accents
'It's better by the night' - Spanish David who did not like the sun much
'Steve out' - Mark, Tommie and Scott's call when it was time for me to leave
'How can we be lost if we don't know where we're going?' - Steve stollen from 'Max & Paddy' everytime we failed to pinpoint our location on the map
'Standard press-conference pose' - Max whilst at a press conference at the Bernabeu
'You have to lose yourself to find yourself' - Lincoln's somewhat more unexplainable version
'Make Love, not War' - displayed above the bed in the 'Yes! Lisbon' hostel!
'If you don't like it (pause), then f**k you! - Steve to Lincoln
'Get the book out' - the call to retrieve the 'Lonely Planet' book from the backpack
'Alright Soc!?' - when Steve put his earphones in or Max on Facebook
'Have you seen this?' - when attempting to off load an unwanted item to an un-suspecting victim (instigated by Lincoln)
'Hungry, hungry, hungry Hippos!' - Max to the choon of 'I think I like it' by Fake Blood
'Shall I crack her open?' - Steve when asking whether it would be wise to open 'Marge', our offical mascot since Rome, on the train to Faro!
'Steve...Steve, can you hear me now!?' - Jeff on Skype at Calico Park
'I don't ask stupid questions, I do it to make conversation!' - Steve to a rather confused Dad, Cath & Max