It’s 20:55 GMT and my flights supposed to take off right now, only I’m still in the airport.
No word of when we’ll be flying.
After almost missing my train and then going to the wrong terminal and nearly missing boarding in the first place, I already feel agitated and just want to be on my flight - I’d counted down to this day for the last 7 weeks.
I decided to message my host again to confirm that they were still aware of me arriving tonight.
“I leave at 00, I’ll find somewhere to hide the key for you, no one will be there to receive you.” — My mind was instantly full of doubt, what does he mean, why won’t anyone be there, what if I get lost who can I call, should I just turn back now.
No, I had to go. I finally boarded my plane at 22:00 more nervous and agitated than ever!
Once I get my bags, which were far too heavy for me to carry on my own - along with wearing my huge coat and walking boots to save room - I struggled on to get the metro.
My first leg of the Journey was from the airport to Alameda, I managed to make it. I then head towards the metro to Cais Do Sodré to be told by a guard that the stations have closed now! Furious with the airline for being late, I had to get an Uber which cost me around €30! Not a great spending start!
I arrive at my ‘Surf & Party’ hostel at around 01:30, it’s complete silence. After scrambling around in the bushes trying to find the key I was left, I’m greeted by two Brazilian guests.
They helped me with my bags and we started chatting about the hostel and what it’s like, my first questions were ‘why is it quiet, why isn’t the bar open it says 2 am on the website, why doesn’t any staff work here at night, why is the pool empty?’.
I’m told that the hostel is always quiet, the bar shuts at 12 and the pool had been broken for weeks!
Feeling more stressed and wondering if I’d made the right decision, I go to bed and wait for the next day.
Waking up with a smile on my face realizing I’d actually taken the leap, I brush my teeth, have a shower and go speak to reception.
“I don’t know anything”, I’m told. ‘Great’. Once I get to speak to the manager she tells me she will be coming over the following day and we can talk then.
She informs me about how the hostels going through a rebrand and that it will be pretty quiet the next few weeks as there is no pool and most of the rooms are couple rooms now. I have a few days off before starting my work exchange on Monday.
Monday morning I get up and ready to start my 08:00 - 15:00 shift.
The work isn’t strenuous at all - sweeping and mopping the floors, cleaning the kitchens and bathrooms, emptying all the bins and turning rooms once guests leave and doing the laundry. Easy.
The work takes 2 to 3 hours and the rest of the afternoon is spent relaxing & just changing the laundry once the cycles have finished.
It’s a pretty quiet day to day - far from what I was expecting. I’d recommend this hostel to people that wanted to be out of the madness of Lisbon and close to the beach - NOT to people that choose the hostel due to its name and the way the hostel is portrayed on their website.
A few days in and I get back from a day at the beach and everyone I’d met so far were all outside drinking, laughing and dancing together, I got a beer and joined them. It’s moments like this that makes me know in my heart that I’ve done the right thing.
Looking around me there’s a Portuguese/Scottish guy & his Polish boyfriend, 2 Brazilian guys who are traveling together, a Brazilian guy who’s doing a work exchange here and 2 French people here for a Buddhist festival.
Listening to everyone speaking in their own languages and singing and rapping and dancing gives me a whole sense of freedom, I’m so grateful to be here!
After 10 days in Lisbon, I’d spent around €150. Travelling around the city is so cheap with tickets starting at €1.25 up to €2.25 between Cais Do Sodré and Cascais. Foods fairly cheap if you stay away from the tourist areas or even better, shop from the supermarket and cook in the hostel, and it’s easy to find amazing wines for less than €2 a bottle and beers for €1!
Moving forward I have to tighten my budget or figure out how to make an income on the way. I have already met some incredible people along the way and I know that this is the start of the most amazing journey!