Portugal The Cis-Male
Mad jet lag is the determining factor that led to my short four day stay in Lisbon. I was due to set sail for a 15 day Mediterranean cruise, and did not want to sleep for the first week. I can literally make a one timezone shift and have my body react as though I was on my first day withdrawing from 14 years of heroine abuse, so to think about what crossing 7 would do was enough to push for an adjustment period.
That said, Lisbon is the perfect city for the time I needed, and it’s just fuckin awesome. First of all, it is rated one of the safest cities in the entire world, and second, it’s got New York City levels of 24 hour things to do; without the smelly, overcrowded, dirty, congested vibes that comes with it (having been in NYC the weekend prior, I was still full of haterade). The city of Lisbon is stunning, typical European charm in the architecture and is filled with people embodying the epitome of friendliness and fun loving. I become an extremely grumpy cunt when met with exhaustion (jet lag) and not once did I feel the need to take that out on anyone, it was completely smooth sailing.
Hotel for this leg of my journey was H10 - a chain I was recommended by my contact in Barcelona. The hotel is set in a prime location near Marqués de Pomba in an 18th century building that was remodeled and presented in a way that is pure Lisbon. Beautiful, tasteful tile work abound, cutie rooms, and a fantastic overlook of the city - I would stay at this place every single time. Staff was very well spoken and worked hard to ensure each guest felt right at home (much needed since I planned to fall into a sleep like death here...sans the spinning wheel).
My arrival at 8:30am after 16 hours of traveling meant the first place I went was the bed. A 45 min nap and I was up to see the city to stay awake as long as I possibly could. My location was prime and centric to main tourist attractions, I made the most of the extreme walkability of the city - I wouldn’t need a cab to get about, just some ambition and comfy shoes. Stop number one was a 2 mile walk for brunch in Praça do Comércio, an open area where the city meets the waterfront surrounded by stately buildings and prime shopping. Cantina restaurant served up my first dose of Portuguese food, and I will likely crave tastes like this for the remainder of my life. Seriously, the food is next level delicious and I’m drooling just writing about it. I must have been at lunch for 3/4 hours because the afternoon was quickly approaching evening and my eyes began to sink like the titanic...one of the lids half down while the other shuddered up and down yo-yo style. No matter, the walk home was a beautiful mix of parks and pretty buildings. I landed in bed by 3:30 and woke up sometime around 7am the next morning.
Have you ever slept so hard that you wake up having lost the memory of the days before? If not, allow me to elaborate on how it feels to wake up in a bed in a foreign country with nearly no recollection of getting there. Let’s set the scene:
*gentle oboe playing from my phone alarm*
*sunlight playfully peeking through the curtains*
*crisp cool air conditioning flowing over my face*
Me (waking up screaming): PORTUGAL!!!!!
[I literally woke up yelling that word as though I was on a flight to Paris and suddenly remembered it was the name of my child left home alone].
Dazed, confused, half aware of my surrounds - I was finally back to normal.
Out the door I go for breakfast and off to see Castelo de S. Jorge- an 11th century Moorish castle atop the hills. If you follow my blog enough, you know I enjoy setting my adventures around recreating my favorite obscure lyrics (one night in Bangkok to see if I’d be humbled, getting in on a 12:30 flight to Africa, saying hello to my ex from the other side after calling a thousand times). Well, this is no different and I Halsey’d myself straight to the castle - they didn’t make me their queen. I tried.
The castle was freakin awesome, as most castles are. I have a specific image in my head of what a castle should look like, and this was it. Only 10€ and you’re able to live your best life running all over up and down the stairs in and out of all the little towers and courtyards. I adored every second, and thanks to a flock(?) of peacocks that live within the walls, I knocked out a Katy Perry favorite of mine....it got me wondering...a bunch of crows is a murder, you can have a siege of cranes, a group of hawks is a cast, hell even a lot of magpies is called a tiding....but nothing for peacocks.... I have decided to deem a group of peacocks a bukakke. So. Much. Bukakke. Here.
I polled 30 gay men on grinder and 15 on scruff to determine which bars would be the most poppin for a late Monday night adventure. My votes came down to starting at Friends Bairro Alto and ending at Finalmente - a tiny drag bar. Needless to say I was no disappointed in the least!!!!! I met some great lesbians and an amazing gentleman from Brazil, who would end up being my companion for the night. It took me many many many drinks to get to the level of inebriation I am accustomed to in the US, due to the difference in what “two shots of vodka” mean. I digress, I had some kick ass people to chill with and this night was gonna be awesome.
We hung out from around midnight to 2:00 AM at Friends Bairro Alto and began making our way to the drag bar Finalmente. The trek to the bar was as entertaining as the bar itself. In Lisbon, you can walk around with alcohol, so ordering a drink at 2 and carrying it out was both unusual and fascinating. Brazilian man (Rodrigo) and I met this crazy amazing Portuguese girl and her friend, we all took our booze, and off we went. In the streets she was yelling in Portuguese all kinds of things at her best friend that I couldn’t understand, I would later find out she was calling him “piece of shit drug addict” which sounded more elegant before I knew what she said. (i love her).
Her friend jumped on a strangers back, who then carried him to the bar as we three laughed and boozed our way behind them. Finalmente is a drag bar, which of course is my favorite - this night ended up with the same result as when I did Latin drag night at Toucans in the US - I couldn’t understand any words but had a great time dancing. 5 am came around and my hunger had set in...out the bar I go.
*googles nearest open McDonald’s* - 2.5 miles.
As I begin my walk to fast-food nirvana, the clouds open up and it begins to rain like a motherfucker. Walking turns into a run, run turns into a sprint, and after 300 solid feet of that, I am on instagram sending wet videos of me to Hawaii and my sister as I entertain myself about the situation.
I realize I am passing by my hotel, with another mile and a half to go, and that feeling of is it worth it sinks in...fuck yeah it is ya drunk bitch go get your food. 45 mins later, success in the bush. I’m full, I’m at my hotel, in bed and I have 5 hours of sleep before my car is set to arrive to take me to the cruise ship! Lisbon, it was realness.