Hello Portugal! A plane teleported us in four hours away from the flat we were emptying — away from painting, cleaning, packing, carrying boxes full of stuff, unslept nights — straight into a different reality. Flying has its advantages but it’s not our favorite means of travel. After hours spent on disassembling bikes and the trailer, cutting and patching cardboard boxes that would fit the gear, and than assembling them again at the Lisbon airport, we promised ourselves that it’s the last flight with the dog and bikes. But I wonder, how long will that promise last?
Luckily, a warmshowers host was already waiting for us. We could recuperate after the lost night and slowly readjust to the new situation, because there was no time for this before we left. For those who don’t know, warmshowers is a hospitality exchange website for touring cyclists — that means company, a place to sleep, a warm shower and likely help with planning the route or fixing gear. It’s similar to couchsurfing but the users are a more specific group — cyclists. Our experiences so far have been stupendous and this time is no different. Our host, Gonçalo, allows us a soft landing is Lisbon. He than takes us on his daily ride with kids to/from school and offers a sightseeing tour of the city.
From Parque das Nações, a modern district built after the area was developed for World Expo, we set out riding along the Tagus river to the historic part of town. There we lock out bikes at a friendly bike shop and enter the crazy side streets on foot. Traditional sightseeing is not exactly our cup of tea, we rather prefer to float around wherever our sixth sense takes us. This time we give up our ways because Gonçalo takes the lead and shows us what he thinks is interesting in Lisbon. He loves walking as much as cycling, so we spend the whole day rambling here and there. There’s lunch break, pastéis de nata break, plenty of sun-catching at vantage points and a meeting with another crazy cyclist girl, who’s planning a similar tour with her two dogs. Our thought on Lisbon? Even though it’s winter, to us it seems filled with tourists, the famous trams are taken over by them, likely for the purpose of ticking another item off the list of attractions. Nevertheless, we take in the sights and, with a slight feeling of envy, watch the little streets, each filled with old townhouses and feast our eyes on the wonderful patterns of the famous azulejos. For me, it’s worth coming here just for this.