Greetings From a Lazy Blogger

Hello friends, I felt it was time for a little update from this travel blogger who doesn’t blog.

I’m alive and everything is splendid. Splendid is a word I decided to incorporate into my vocabulary during my recent one month stay in the UK. A stay many of you know nothing about, because the last update I gave was from Lisbon. Since then I’ve been in Spain, France, Ireland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales. Tomorrow marks the three week anniversary of my return to Norway.

I have many stories I want to tell, so there might be some updates here in the future. I can, however, not make any promises, I have a reputation of being lazy to uphold.

In the mean time, I have uploaded a few of my short stories to the site Medium. If you’re interested in reading some of those, visit medium.com/@linn.lyster

 

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Centro Colombo – the mall you can live in

So in Lisbon, there’s this mall. It’s huge. And I usually try to avoid malls when traveling, because there’s malls at home, you know? But this mall, we passed it when we did a tour with one of those hop on hop off busses, it has a cinema and restaurants and bowling and Primark. According to the over enthusiastic tour guide recording on the bus, there was so much to do in that mall, that you could practically live there.

So those who have traveled with me before, know that I’m not one for passing up a trip to Primark, but this time is a little different as I only have a carry on with me. There’s no room for a shopping spree, if you know what I mean.

But I wanted to se this mall, and how long I could entertain myself in it. And Katie reminded me that I needed pjs an a towel, because I forgot both of of those at home, so I kinda had to go. Sadly Katie had to leave the night before, so she didn’t get to come. (Actually, I don’t think she cared.)

The mall is called Centro Colombo, and there’s a metro station in the basements, so that’s convenient. The hop on hop off bus also stops there, which is not convenient at all, but that’s a story for another day.

But anyway, I got to the mall, there was signs for toilets, the IMAX cinema, a hospital (because what mall doesn’t need one of those?) and of course Primark. Still it was hard to navigate, the mall was like a spider with legs of stores in all directions. The sign clearly said second floor, and I was on the second floor, I just couldn’t find it. It took me about thirty minutes before I remembered that they start counting at zero.

I got there eventually, and I thought: “I need to take a picture of this for the blog,” followed by: “I’ll do it when I get out.” Then I forgot all about it.

But I got my pjs and towel and I was ready to see what the mall had to offer! I had some lunch and then went for a browse, and after two stores I realized that It was just a mall. So I left. (After I spent another thirty minutes looking for the subway that is.)

Follow the tourist: our journey to Castelo de São Jorge

It’s time for a classic vacation game: follow the tourist!

The goal of this game is to find a destination with the help of a fellow tourist who, just like you, have never been to the destination or surrounding area before, but seem to have an authority based on the fact that they’re ahead of you.

First, let us establish how to spot a tourist:

If a person fits two or more of the following descriptions, they’re most likely a tourist.

• They carry a camera around their neck

• They have a backpack

• They carry their backpack on their stomach

• They have a sweater and/or a jacket tied around their waist or shoulders

• They are sunburned

• They have a selfie stick

• They have Google maps open on their phone

• They have a physical map

• They are wearing one or more pieces of clothing with the vacation destination’s name or a famous sight on it

• They look confused on where they are and where they’re going.

Katie and I played this game on our way to Castelo de Sao Jorge in Lisbon, after Google Maps had led us up a long staircase leading to nowhere. In front of us, we had spotted three young women, all were wearing backpacks, one was sporting a fancy camera, and most importantly, they stopped at every street corner to check their phone, in other words: we had found us a tourist! (Or a group of tourist to be precise).

In the hopes that their phone was giving them a different route than the one mine had presented, I tucked my phone in my pocket and followed them around a corner and up a hill where we met a new group of tourists. It was at this point the girls also decided to play follow the tourist.

A new game always start at a respectful distance. Therefore the three groups, although in a silent agreement to help each other, did not address one another. Instead we all politely pretended that we were just randomly walking in the same direction.

Taking a right, we followed a narrow street filled with people walking in the opposite direction of us. I think we all knew they were coming back from a dead end, but unwilling to give up hope, we continued on, and unsurprisingly, the end of the street unveiled itself in front of us. No matter how much the map told us that there was a street ahead, we could not ignore that there was a house blocking the way.

Defeated, we started our back tracking. Katie and I were now leading the way. That was when we ran into a group led by a middle aged Irish couple. Their group was more evolved than ours, already a little community getting to know each other and small talking. So they asked us directly if we were also on a quest to find the castle. When hearing our sad news, the two groups decided to join forces, but before we could proceed, a young gentleman with a girlfriend on his arm made his way through the crowd. His map said there was a road where we had come from, were we really accusing his map of being wrong? Nothing could persuade them that there was a building where the map claimed there was a road, and the young couple decided to go rouge.

Never the less, our group, now counting at least 15 heads, continued on and we walked and walked. We had the castle on our right hand side, and felt like we had circled the thing more than a few times (we hadn’t, that thing is enormous). As we approach what seemed like yet another dead end, a couple appeared from nowhere and told us to follow the rails. The rails? The question was murmured among the group members until we finally spotted them. The tram rails were crawling their way down the cobble stoned street. And we were off, not in the direction of the rails, but in a street that seemed to be parallel. One could argue that that might not have been the best solution, but all of a sudden we were by the entrance to the castle and our group, bound together by the common goal of finding the castle, now parted in silence.

Also: here’s a picture of a peacock we ran into:

I’m fine, really

I’m fine really

I have been told that my previous post makes it seem like I’m depressed and that I’m having a horrible time, and i can see how it might seem like it. Therefore I want to make it clear that my emo post from yesterday represent just a tiny bit of my trip. There’s loads more fun times than horrible times.

I will tell you about the good times as well, I just got to do some sightseeing first. In the meantime, here’s som pictures from Oceanário de Lisboa:

The Guest House

Lisbon – March 25th 2018 – 3 am

As I open the door, the damp, moldy air of the room hits me in the face. Could it possibly be worse than what it was ten minutes ago? I make my way to the window and open it. I’m already wearing enough clothing to go skiing, I should be able to survive an open window.

The guest house wasn’t exactly how I expected it to be. I had pictured an old lady running a quaint bed an breakfast out of her house. For 22 euros a night, I didn’t expect luxury, but at least a warm atmosphere. I quickly learned that a place doesn’t have to be cute, just because it has a cute name, and that a guest house just as well might be an old, run down apartment building.

I passed the place three times before I finally found it. From the outside it just looks like an old residential apartment building, but it had a sign. I locked myself in with the pin I had been given in advance and made my way up the narrow stairs. As it turns out, this apartment building houses, not only one, but several different guest houses, and even some hotels. As I reach the third floor (fourth for those of us who start counting at 1), I have counted no less than 5 different guest houses/hotels. I punch in the pin Once again and the door unlocks with a bang.

An automatic light turns on and fills the corridor with a grey, cold hue. The kind of hue that can only stem from cheap LED bulbs. Each door is numbered, five in all. One door is marked with WC. In the end of the corridor, there is a kitchen. Down the hall I see a key in the door of room number four, and a vague memory of reading that there was no reception or contact with staff, enters my mind and it dawns on me that this key is the only welcome I will get.

The room has the same grey, sharp light and the unmistakeable smell of old hotel slaps me in the face, the smell that is also known as mold. On a table in the corner, there’s a note saying:

“PLEASE LEAVE IN THE ROOM 29,40 €

IS THE AMOUNT MISSING FROM THE RESERVATION

THANKS”

Cool, then the payment is settled. The tiny double bed squeaks as I sit down on it. It’s held together by tape in some places. The plywood holding the mattress has several cracks in it. But the sheets are clean at least. It’s not completely horrible. And there was butterfly stickers on the walls. Butterflies are nice. And I wouldn’t be here alone at least. In just a few hours, Katie would be here with me.

Katies arrival also marked the discovery of a second bathroom. Out, through the kitchen, there was a sunroom. The corner of this sun room had been converted to a tiny bathroom, complete with toilet, sink, shower and a window that can open up to make a balcony. The level of cleanliness showed that this was still a somewhat hidden feature of the third floor apartment.

The first night was uncomfortable, to say the least. Even with the window closed, the duvet we shared wasn’t enough to keep us warm. I had to get up in the middle of the night and put on my fleece. This room was like ice.

The next few days went pretty much the same. We learned to ignore the smell. The hot water and decent water pressure in our balcony shower was a daily highlight. And as we told a Dutch lady we talked to on a bus: if the room was too comfortable, we would spend all of our time there, so it didn’t matter.

But now, Katie was on her way home, and I was stuck alone in the damp, moldy, cold, fire alarm-less apartment that called it self a guest house. Did I even tell you about the fire alarms? There isn’t really much to tell, there wasn’t any. And in my mind, every building without a fire alarm will immediately burst in to flames with me in it. We made a motto: “travel together, die in a fire together”. As I lay there alone, the motto changed. “Travel alone, die in a fire alone.”

So … this became a lot more depressing than I planned. But don’t worry, the building still haven’t burst into flames. I know this, because I can see it from the window of the hostel I now live in. “Travel alone, die in a fire with perfect strangers”, right? (But the hostel does have fire alarms, I’ve checked).