Archive for the Travel Category

Unnecessary stuff

Posted in Self-improvement, Travel on April 20, 2009 by Fax

Just got my tired ass back home from a weekend in Berlin. I wanted to write this real quick, it’s bugging me since I turned around from the last goodbyes to the complete wreck that was my subsequent trip back home (don’t ask):

I’m not sure if I ever wrote about not worrying much about things that are not worth it, but even if I did, the angle is different this time anyhow – most of the times when you’re doing something that induces stress in someone else, you really have no reason to be doing so, and you’d feel gutted if you knew how that may change that person’s day or week or… life.

I’m tired, so that paragraph above probably made as much sense as TV static. OK, example:

Some time ago I was driving back home from work, and some chick did some weird maneuver on a roundabout, in front of me. I honked. Right after was when I realized I was well on my way to losing all the Zen-ish attitude I’d happily acquired. Why the hell did I honk? Sure, she did something dumb, but I had plenty of time to react to her dumbness, and I did. I just had to use the damn honk though. Honking as a punishment, so that she’ll learn and not do it next time? Remember what I said about the time being now? She’s not a dog, and anyhow I bet she realized she’d done something wrong the moment she did it. The honk just stressed her up (I could see it on her face, main reason for me feeling off right after), and God knows what that drop of stress did to the rest of the stress cup. Seen the Benjamin Button movie? The part where they go through the trouble of describing the whole deal that led to Cate Blanchett being ran over by a car[*]? No, you give me a break, that is how shit happens.

Hah, you’ll probably think I’m in a bad mood, I’m not, it was a great weekend :-) Just a heads-up. Don’t do unnecessary stuff.

Keep it up!

[*] Edit: I actually got it for you, but do watch the movie if you haven’t. Here you go, the link to youtube and the transcript:

Sometimes we’re on a collision course, and we just don’t know it. Whether it’s by accident or by design, there’s not a thing we can do about it. A woman in Paris was on her way to go shopping, but she had forgotten her coat – went back to get it. When she had gotten her coat, the phone had rung, so she’d stopped to answer it; talked for a couple of minutes. While the woman was on the phone, Daisy [Cate] was rehearsing for a performance at the Paris Opera House. And while she was rehearsing, the woman, off the phone now, had gone outside to get a taxi. Now a taxi driver had dropped off a fare earlier and had stopped to get a cup of coffee. And all the while, Daisy was rehearsing. And this cab driver, who dropped off the earlier fare; who’d stopped to get the cup of coffee, had picked up the lady who was going shopping, and had missed getting an earlier cab. The taxi had to stop for a man crossing the street, who had left for work five minutes later than he normally did, because he forgot to set his alarm. While that man, late for work, was crossing the street, Daisy had finished rehearsing, and was taking a shower. And while Daisy was showering, the taxi was waiting outside a boutique for the woman to pick up a package, which hadn’t been wrapped yet, because the girl who was supposed to wrap it had broken up with her boyfriend the night before, and forgot.

When the package was wrapped, the woman, who was back in the cab, was blocked by a delivery truck, all the while Daisy was getting dressed. The delivery truck pulled away and the taxi was able to move, while Daisy, the last to be dressed, waited for one of her friends, who had broken a shoelace. While the taxi was stopped, waiting for a traffic light, Daisy and her friend came out the back of the theater. And if only one thing had happened differently: if that shoelace hadn’t broken; or that delivery truck had moved moments earlier; or that package had been wrapped and ready, because the girl hadn’t broken up with her boyfriend; or that man had set his alarm and got up five minutes earlier; or that taxi driver hadn’t stopped for a cup of coffee; or that woman had remembered her coat, and got into an earlier cab, Daisy and her friend would’ve crossed the street, and the taxi would’ve driven by. But life being what it is – a series of intersecting lives and incidents, out of anyone’s control – that taxi did not go by, and that driver was momentarily distracted, and that taxi hit Daisy, and her leg was crushed.


I know what you did last summer

Posted in Erasmus, News, Travel, Vacation on September 1, 2008 by Fax

Hey guys,

I’ll start out by telling you about what I’ve been up to lately – vacation!

Less than a month after I arrived from Bristol, I was already hopping on a plane to get back there. The plan was to fly there on the 30th, taking my big suitcase empty, and then come back there after the vacation trips, pack the rest of my stuff and for the last time (this year) (yeah, I’m optimistic about it :-)) fly back from Bristol to Porto, on the 20th.

Throughout the year I got myself convinced that Bristol would be completely empty in the summer, since all the students should go somewhere else. Well I was wrong – there was pretty much the same lively atmosphere, both during the day and during the night.

Actually, if anything, there were more people. But that was only because the Bristol Harbour Festival was going on. The city was absolutely crowded. Check these out (photos from my phone):

Millenium Square during the Harbour Festival

Millennium Square during the Harbour Festival

Pero's Bridge during the Harbour Festival

Pero's Bridge during the Festival

There were all sorts of weird stuff going on. Like here, a row of people throwing water baloons at another row of people:



Fun! And it wasn’t only the Millennium Square, Queen’s Square was the same or even better, with concerts going on and inflatable parks for kids. Wow!

Well I had other plans anyway: on the 2nd of August I flew to Pau, in the French Pyrenees, where Hubert would pick me up to take me to Bayonne, where the Ferias (huge) party was going on. Again sorry and thank you very much at the same time for the trouble of driving me that night, Hubi! There I also met Felipe, Lorenzo, Marion, Nico and Tim, great to see you guys again :-).

Bayonne is located in the Basque Country, so if you think “Hey, you are dressed just like the people in Pamplona!”, now you know why. The party was immense. If you are Portuguese, imagine Queimódromo in the alleys of a city. Same thing. That was during the night – young people having fun “their way”. During the day, they were all sleeping :-) and the city was taken by older people and children, having fun “their way” as well. The place was really lively and happy, I have to go back there with more time.

Bayonne Ferias

Bayonne Ferias (photo by Felipe)

I say I want to go back with more time because after all I was only there for two nights and one day. On the second day we (Me, Felipe, Hubert, Lorenzo and Tim) packed our things and got in the car for a loooong trip all the way to Italy – we basically did the whole south of France!

The goal for the first day was Antibes, where Tim’s brother kindly provided us with space to sleep at his place. We stopped in Carcassone, half-way there – it’s a beautiful and well preserved medieval city.

So we spent the night in Antibes, and in the morning Tim showed us a nice walk on the rocks by the Mediterranean.

With time for a swim

With time for a swim

Then in the car again we go. A cheer as we cross the border, Italy! Tunnels and bridges along the Mediterranean, until we arrive in La Spezia. We have dinner with Lorenzo’s family, our hosts for those days, and it doesn’t end very well… some high-tension scenes, but hey – in the end the dinner was for free :-).

From La Spezia to Portovenere it took only 20 minutes. My words, stepping out of the car: “this is beautiful”. Lorenzo told me to “wait until you see it by day”. What a wonderful place.

Streets of Portovenere

Streets of Portovenere


Portovenere (photo by Felipe)

The views were absolutely amazing, I could make a photo blog out of them.

Well there we spent a bit more than a week. Each day was usually comprised of waking up around 12 (or later :-)), eating something between a breakfast and a lunch, and then hopping on Lorenzo’s boat and going to a different place around there, for a relaxing afternoon in the Mediterranean. Absolutely relaxing indeed. Just sunbathing while being rocked by the can’t-really-call-them-waves on the boat, going for a swim, exploring little islands, eating peaches, fishing… there was actually an ice-cream boat, just in case you went “ah, if I had an ice-cream right now, I’d be absolutely perfect”.

Afternoons in Portovenere

Afternoons in Portovenere

When it got around 7 we’d weigh the anchor and go back before the supermarket closed. We’d have dinner and go out, usually to a beach party nearby. Great times :-).

When we didn’t go on the boat for some reason, we’d explore the city or other places nearby. After all, the Cinque Terre are so close people usually think Portovenere is one of them. So we visited four of the “Five Lands” (only leaving Corniglia for next time) – Monterrosso al Mare, Vernazza, Manarola and Riomaggiore. These were beautiful villages as well, all by the Mediterranean. Between Manarola and Riomaggiore is the Via dell’Amore (“Walk of Love”) – if you are considering impressive places for kneeling in front of your soul-mate and saying the M-word, you can’t go wrong with this one.



Time flew. Soon it was time to wish to come back (Lorenzo, I’ll be your neighbour one day! Thanks again mate!) and then catch another flight, this time to Paris! Marina, who had joined us in Portovenere a couple of days before, joined me in this one. Ed had arrived that day as well, and broke a sweat running after our train – I’ll never forget that, mate! A long trip ensued. Train, bus, airport, airplane, another bus and trains and metro, and none of us was able to sleep. But even when absolutely exhausted, Paris is an amazing sight. Very open streets, bright buildings, iconic places, I liked it a lot. My local friends Roxane and Sahir were brilliant tour guides, thanks a lot again girls :-).

I was too tired to believe I was there!

I was too tired to believe I was there!

Again, I must go back with more time. After all this second French leg of my trip only lasted for four days, two of them in Paris. Another day was spent visiting very impressive châteaus in the Loire Valley, and the last one, a nice lazy Sunday, walking around Chartres, a nice little city dominated by its magnificent cathedral.

Château de Chambord

Château de Chambord

Alas, time to go home. Not without stopping by Bristol first, as planned. Everything packed, empty room, and this time not taking the key with me, I was ready to go. Well, more or less :-). But it’s definitely more than time to move on.

Stay tuned for what’s happening next!