|So we left Tignes in the morning, Steve dropped us off at Bourg st Maurice station at the bottom of the mountain. He gave us all a hug and kiss goodbye, little did we know, this was not goodbye just yet. At the station we printed our tickets, Jess' didn't work so she had to get the lady at the desk to do it. I had a weird feeling about our train as I couldn't see what platform it was arriving at, it just said GR. But I quickly dismissed the feeling as the train would be the only one leaving at 9:10 so we would just wait. We just weren't paying attention and suddenly the few people around us were gone and I look up and it's 9:09. Panic. But there's no train. I went to ask the lady at the window but she was gone and only returned at 9:11 and by then it was too late she said "autocar! Quick! Go!" turns out the first leg of our trip was an autocar or a bus as we call it and they depart from outside the station. My face paled, my stomach dropped, I felt sick. We ran out side only to see the tail of or bus slip around the corner. Shit. Curse the french and their obnoxious need to not translate anything or let us know when jess is printing her ticket that its a god damn bus!
I took a deep breath and called Steve, luckily he wasn't too far so he turned around and got us. He was on his way to Albertville to do run some errands which just so happens to be where the bus stops on the way to chambray which is where we get our train to Geneva from. We were full of apologies to steve and relief that he was around to save the day. We were able to catch up to our bus and jump on it from Albertville. So more hugs and kisses and we were finally on our way.
We annoyingly had to get another train to Geneva airport, which we thought we were going to arrive at but of course we didn't. I hate travel days, when you are in transit it's always the lowest your mood will be.
Once at the airport it was easy, as we booked with easyjet...see what I did there. But seriously all we had to do was put our reference number in a machine, it printed our boarding pass and then we dropped our bag off. The flight was 3 hours but felt like 2 as the time goes back an hour in Portugal. Jess' uncle, Mike, was so nice, he took a 3 hour trip up from Faro where he lived and where we were staying, to come pick us up as the coaches down to Portugal got so confusing and we didn't know what to do so he said he'd pick us up. He found us in the airport and we were on our way on another 3 hour car ride. I tried to stay awake as long as possible but soon sleep overtook me. What I did notice on the drive down was that the landscape didn't look too different to australia, same dry dusty planes dotted with tall trees.
I woke up just in time for the decision to go to a pizza/pasta restaurant for dinner. It was around 10 and I was starved and keen to cure my pizza craving. The Portuguese, like a lot of other europeans eat late so there was lots of people out and about. I ordered a cheesy Romana pizza that was more delicious than I imagine it to be. I pretty much inhaled it. Mike was even nicer and shouted us.
Once we were full of pasta and pizza we went back to Mike's villa. The place was huge, it looked to luxurious, our own personal resort. Within the villa there is a separate attic/house on the side with a kitchen living area, bedroom, bathroom. This is where we stayed, again so so so spoilt. If we didn't have it good enough already we looked outside to see a illuminated outdoor pool. But once I hit the bed I was out.
Portugal was like our resort experience. We woke up to the sun on our face, padded downstairs for breaky (marmite's got nothing on vegemite), patted Mike's dogs or his "boys" Jake and Henry, then pool. We got supplies for the week from the supermarket, and lunch at this place that Jess remembers from when she was a kid that makes "the best baguettes in the world!!". They were delicious and I was starving so it was even more satisfying.
Portugal gets damn hot, hotter than it did in Spain by far. So having our own personal pool was pure luxury, so good flopping into the cool oasis to relieve the burn. What else do you do when on a resort holiday? You read trashy magazines and watch terrible reality TV, which is exactly what we took advantage of. Keeping up with the Kardashians, Geordie Shore, Dirty Sexy Things, The Hills... we did watch will and grace to balance things out.
For dinner we cooked this yummy chicken salad that Jess' mum makes, again the girls had made it before so I was given the role of barmaid. I was in charge of making the "Pimms" which is this English alcohol that you mix with lemonade and a whole bunch of fruit. We did it with cucumber, strawberries, apple and orange. Apparently it was really good and since it was my first jug just shows you how talented I am.... I see a bright future ahead of me.
Pool, sun-bake, eat, drink, watch keeping up with the kardashians, Pool, eat gummy bears, pool, pool, pool, dinner, late night swim= basic routine.
Also whilst we were here we took advantage of the Internet and the computer to organise Spain and Italy. Which is never easy, always is a headache and puts you in the worst mood. Why? Because when you put it in English, it will switch back to spanish at crucial moments, the page will have an error and you have to start again, it rejects your card etc. In my case using my credit card became impossible because this thing called comes up and it's like a security measure you have to go through for it to work. It asks for the name and D.O.B on the card and it kept rejecting my birthday, of course I'm like "but thats my birthday!!!" and I temporarily locked my card because I got it wrong 3 times... So I emailed Dad and he told me a number to call. So I had to use the landline, call a reverse number to call my bank, be on hold for half an hour, set up phone banking and answer 20 questions, then she told me the birthday they had was completely wrong, so that's why it didn't work, they had a complete wrong birthday. Annoying. She told me to keep using the wrong one and change it when I got back. So much effort but at least now my card will work and I wont want to punch the computer in a fit of rage.
One night for dinner we went out to the Chicken Shack, a place Jess told us all about, where you get the best chicken and chips better than charcoal chicken. So she talked it up. I was very excited to try this angel chicken. We ordered chicken, chips, green salad, tomato Salad and beers. I'm trying to get used to beers more as I will be hitting up Oktoberfest and it's working because I downed mine before the girls with ease. Jess was right, it was epic, so much delicious BBQy flavour. It was so cheap as well, everything for only 10€ each! It was satisfying for my tummy and a fun experience as it was an obvious local spot. Everyone was getting their fix.
After we went to Val Do Lobo, where we planned to go out the next night, to check it out and get ice-cream. Something I miss about Australia is the extreme friendly service, we went to the ice cream place and as we looked for a table the waitress walked passed all annoyed and said "you cant stand here" (all ghetto voice)...
it was a really nice, posh looking area and apparently is the really rich area. The little complex area where all the bars are is really classy looking so things were looking good for our night out.
We have gotten into the show Geordie shore whilst we were in portugal, it's like England's Jersey Shore but worse. We did some shopping around the fancy stores in town, I bought a scarf on sale and I've been meaning to get one my whole trip so tick that off the list. We almost melted from the heat, Mike picked us up so we wouldn't have to walk back and age 30 years from the sun. We went out in Val do Lobo that night. First we hit a bar for some drinks and me being the practical backpacker on a budget who can only afford one drink found the most potent drink. Long island ice tea...boy was I right, it came in a huge long glass and was 99% alcohol the rest was probably just ice. It was intense and we had to drink it fast to get into gecko (the club) before 12 for only 5 euro entry instead of 15. We downed our ginormous shots and got in line. Looking around I thought "am I at my grade 5 blur light disco or something?" " is this cruze? Am I in mornington?" everyone around us was 16. We felt so old, it was like we were at a year 10 party, it was disturbing, but this is all we had so whatever and we got a free drink card so bonus! Not only did our age make us stick out but our accents put a huge neon sign on our backs to bring attention. Everyone was either Portuguese or a Brit on holiday. I met this Portuguese girl who asked "are you Portuguese?" "no I'm Australian" "no you are Portuguese" "no" "yes" "okay I'm Portuguese" "good". It was weird. We danced to terrible music and laughed at all the young people. By 3am we were over it so we began the straight forward walk home. It took us 20 minutes but it was easy, and nice to walk off the alcohol.
Hungover we skipped the pool and decided to check out the beach. At least this one was the normal size I was used to, no pebbles and not littered with people and it was windy so we didn't feel the full burn. This beach was the most similar to Australia, even the water was freezing whereas everywhere else has been super warm. Britt noticed she was getting heat rash so we went to a cafe on the dune to get some lunch. I got a much needed hangover hamburger, it tasted glorious and we had a great view of the beach. The heat became unbearable so we walked back in what felt like a desert worthy sun, I B-lined straight for the pool to drown in its sweetness.
Mike cooked us a good ol' aussie BBQ for dinner, sausages, burgers (with bacon of course as my craving continues) and we had a lovely meal outside by the pool. So relaxed.
On our last day we were busy and frantic organizing flights, trains and planes, its such a long stressful process. Mike took us out on our last night for drinks at the melting pot where he usually goes and then dinner to this typical place where all the locals go. It was full of drunk portuguese yelling and laughing, it was great to see. This place was nothing fancy but the food tasted amazing and we got a true Portuguese experience.
Portugal was a nice easy relaxing pit stop before we start the faster pace, intense part of our trip. So next is Madrid and my birthday!!