Goodbye Lisbon

Wednesday, 8th September

Well yesterday was a tight schedule and today we didn't have much to do except catch our train for Paris, late afternoon so we decided to goof around a bit.

We leisurely packed our bags and I took care with the shower, curtain rod, sink and the bath tub so as not to break anything today. We checked out of our room, and kept our rucksacks at with the lady at the counter and stepped out. We had a very relaxed breakfast of coffee, omelet and toasts. We finally went to pay at the counter, where I playfully punched at the vending machine kept there and out came a box of lucky strikes cigarettes. My hands moved quickly and stuffed the loot in my pocket. We then moved towards the Alfama, the soul of old Lisbon. The narrow streets had its own smell and charm of an era gone by. The place had distinct roots of Arabs and Romans, who once were part of the city. We picked up apples and cheese and bread for our onward journey.

The shopping plazas were neat and we found a public library were we could use internet for free. Heaven. To spend time checking and replying to so many emails. G wanted a hair cut and went towards the direction of a saloon and came back after a while, with a new face.

We moved back to the hostel, took our stuff, waved our goodbyes and moved towards the bus stop. There was no Mercedes to drop us back to the station, so we took the bus. The bus moved through narrow alleys and broad streets, passing by familiar churches, market places and houses. Colorful clothes hung from balconies and flags hoisted on roof tops. Kids played ball and the elderly sat outside on stairs and played cards. The tiles were all too lovely.

The train was waiting at the station and we got our couchette easily. Somewhere along the way we were joined in by an old couple, who kept chatting loudly throughout the journey. They had no clue of English and we couldn't understand what they were saying. and finally  when I requested them to keep their voices low, in Hindi they went quiet.

For dinner, we had fries, bread, mustard and mayonnaise. The train chugged along and somewhere it broke down. We looked in the darkness and all we could see was tiny flickering yellow lights, far away. We exchanged some conversation and cigarettes with a fellow passenger, who was on his way to Germany. We retired to our couchette and kept chatting and planning for our journey. After an hour or so the train resumed its journey but by then I was asleep.

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