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Brian "Gadget" Lewis
Begins: Sep 14, 2017
Date: Wed, Sep 13th, 2017
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On to Lisbon
Today worked out just about exactly as planned; I flew to Lisbon, and Milky was waiting for me right after I walked through the "nothing to declare" customs line. We figured out the subway system - - - there seems to be an almost universal set of rules for how such systems work, so not hard - - - and got to our hostel.
This hostel isn't one focused on hikers, just generally young people who want to stay cheap in Lisbon; in fact I think we're the only geezers I've seen here so far, and the place is booked up (and it's not a small hostel). But they seem to treat us pretty much like everyone else, so no worries. We're in bunkbeds in a six-to-a-room arrangement for tonight and tomorrow night. Very friendly place with good (fast) Wi-Fi, and they serve inexpensive meals. We'll eat dinner here tonight for not too much (money), and breakfast sounds like a steal at 2 euros. They have a walking tour in the morning that we think we'll join, but we're skipping the pub crawl tonight (that's how it's advertised - - - pub crawl).
After we got settled in a bit, Milky and I walked to a sort of big arch that you can pay to go up (and we went up), then out onto a big adjacent square that looks over the bay/ocean, and then to the Cathedral to get our pilgrim "credential", which is a little booklet sort of thing that pilgrims get stamps in along the way to (a) prove that they walked what they said they walked, and/or (b) as a kind of fun thing to do for memories or whatever. Since I can't remember where the other two "I hiked the camino" certificates went that I got from other trips, it's not really a bit deal, but in fact some Albergues only allow pilgrims to stay, and the way you demonstrate that you're a pilgrim is that you have a credential filled with stamps collected along the way.
Our little lockers (really drawers) in this hostel require a small padlock to secure, and the folks working at the hostel here tell us that this is common in Portugal, so we each bought little locks for 2.50 euros each. The keys are really little. I put one (of three) copies of my key in a little sort-of pocket in the running shorts that I use to be minimally dressed for such situations when I went to take a shower, and then was dismayed to not be able to find the key afterwards. So I retraced my steps, then Milky did it with me I looked everywhere I could think of, feeling all around the shorts I was wearing, the other clothing, but... Nothing. Finally I got one of the cheerful folks in charge to come up and cut off the lock, which took some doing. Making me incidentally more comfortable with these pretty small locks. So the first thing I did was to take off my running shorts in preparation to swap them for my long trousers, when... you guessed it... the little key I had been searching for clinked onto the ground. Milky and I agreed that we can handle the trip if this is the biggest disaster we'll have to deal with, and I've had lots of practice in life at being shown to be a fool so - - - no big deal!
Lisbon looks to be a fun place to explore. We're in the "low" (baixa) part of Lisbon where the 1755 earthquake did the most damage. So we see all sorts of old tiled streets and sidewalks, tiled in attractive patterns. I think these were all put in when the city was substantially rebuilt after the earthquake. In any event, certainly more to see than we can in just one day, but so be it. My only concern at this point is staying awake for and through a dinner tonight that's served at 8:30 pm, but such is typical for dinner time on the Iberian peninsula.
Gadget's Trail Journal
The Camino de Santiago is the name of any of the pilgrimage routes to the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the saint are buried. Many take up this route as a form of spiritual path or retreat, for their spiritual growth.
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