I’d packed last night, so all I had to do was get up and leave. I was feeling a bit stuck, I didn’t know what to do for the best. A guy had said I could stay at his house tonight, but I’d heard nothing. I didn’t want to pay for another nights accommodationo, nor did I fancy camping.
I turned on the iPad and ping, an email had registered in my inbox. It was the guy, he confirmed his address and said I could go anytime today. Relief. I was still undecided as to whether to head inland or drop down further south. The route inland and the cities where I would stay were beautiful, but because of this the accommodation wasn’t cheap. Was it worth camping to see the cities? I’d know more later on as the day unfolded. It wasn’t time to make a decision.
Now I’d left the accommodation it was time for Starbucks. A mocha and a piece of cake, not the best of breakfasts, but when I looked at the cake behind the glass fronted cabinet, I knew this was my last last and only chance to have this piece of sponge. I took it outside, sat directly below the morning sunshine and scoffed it! I was sitting peacefully until some French students sat next to me. What a bloody racket. The noise was worse than what a clutch of chickens would make, as if they had got their heads caught in between electric wired fence panels that acted as a defence barrier between them and a skulk of foxes. It didn’t let up, the French students were relentless, each of them wanting to be heard aloud. I was desperate to snarl and inform them to ‘pipe down’. They were only kids and I couldn’t shout at them, so instead, I loaded my pea shooter with steel ball bearings, circled them and took aim. Seconds passed, they were all sparked out, their foreheads had met with the top of the table they sat at. Now I had my peace again.
I’d got loads of time, especially now I decided to get the train to Setubal.
I went to a host the other side of town, practically on the sea front. They’d advertised they were looking for volunteers. This is a good scheme because in return for about 25 hours per week, you get free accommodation and anything between, one and three meals per day. Although hostels tend to only offer breakfast. Eventually I found it. Ive now learned that whenever looking for a hostel in a city, its first floor accommodation, badly signposted and just a couple of hinged doors set in between two shops. The owner wasn’t available. The receptionist took my details, I didn’t hold my breath. Had I have done, I’d be dead by now, it’s been three hours and I’ve heard nothing. I’m not surprised, they want youngsters and not some old guy with a grey beard.
The ride to Sete Rios train station was only three miles. I knew this imminent three miler could take an hour. The walking routes on GPS systems can be quite detailed and it’s easily done to make a wrong turn. I didn’t care how long it took, I was seeing more of Lisbon.
I did meet a policeman earlier on. I was riding on the road up a one way street. It’s rare as a traveller you get stopped. I mean, what can they do? Nothing. Anyway this guy flagged me down. I was prepared for a bollocking off the small wiry looking man in a blue uniform. His trousers tucked into his boots. I daren’t laugh in his face but, he did look somewhat daft. So the story goes… He’s got a bicycle and has ridden the route of the Camino de Santiago. He was nauseous, I couldn’t get rid of him. Should I shove him over and kick him in the shin, and let out a hi-jah, like some Ninja? I was tempted, but just practiced my hi-jahs vocally as I rode away. Three hours later I was still practicing.
The train journey proved invaluable. I spent forty minutes cleaning be chain and front cogs. What a difference I noticed when I got back on it.
The ride from the station to my hosts house was only 1.5 miles. I went straight to it and pushed the button for the buzzer to sound inside his apartment. ‘Huh, hang on, I’ll be down in a minute’, the dull tone came through the intercom. This minute lasted nearly ten. I knew before I’d arrived that I’d got an odd ball this time as a host. What a miserable sod, moan moan moan, that was him with his high frown and his down turned lips. If that wasn’t enough, I had to listen about the inward and outward flow levels measured at litres per second, this was his new assignment. C’mon man, give it up! Suddenly I was desperate to see the policeman again and his stupid boots.