Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I think train travel is one of the nicest ways to get a feel for a country. All that looking out the window, passing the sites they don't mention in the guidebooks. So Sunday morning I booked myself a window seat, and stared at 4 hours of pretty Portugese pastures, all the way to Portugal's second largest city; Porto. Like I said, it was Sunday, so the streets were quiet, and everything was pretty much shut down. I wandered around, hunting food. But it was 4pm, my stomach was getting vocal, and the restaurants showed no signs of opening. I caved and went to McDonalds. It was a crazy art nouveau McDonalds. Does that help?
There weren't many people in the streets, but from time to time I'd see a crowd of students conducting odd rituals, often involving cheers, running, and strings of soda cans. It was some kind of hazing routine. I noticed that they were all dressed in interesting Hogwartsy uniforms. Girls wore a black skirt, blouse, and long, drapey cardigan. Men wore the pants version. I was getting hit on by a lot of old (old!) men. Later on I walked past mirror and realized that I was wearing a shorter, sexier version of the schoolgirl uniform. Score.
Later on, I met up with a couchsurfer who showed me the nightlife. One bar turned into 4, and each was better than the last. I was impressed that so many cool spots could hide behind relatively plain storefronts. Needless to say, the guidance came in handy. I easily would have passed every single one of those excellent bars. Cheers to internet networking!