The next day we awoke in our plush hotel, free from thinking about organising a day of cycling. Our bikes were safely stored and prepared for collection and our trusty rucksacks were once again full and on our backs. We found a cafe Refresh Snack Bar that would look after our rucksacks, for a small fee, allowing us to go for a wander around Lagos.
We now had to work out how to get back to Faro. Train or bus? We decided to take the train. This turned out to be an adventure in itself. The train was clearly passed its best. Covered in graffiti – although this seems to be accepted in Portugal. Luckily we were the first to board and it filled up quickly with all sorts of characters. There could be some good people watching here! Sure enough, it wasn’t long before we had something to hold our attention.
Just opposite us, there sat a lady who had a sweet old grandmother look about her. Quietly sitting reading her paper and enjoying her space but realistically knowing that the train was filling up fast. Who would sit beside this quiet unassuming old lady? We didn’t have to wait long. We heard him before we saw him. The sound was a sort of guttural groan mixed with laughter and gibberish. Yes, it was the obligatory drunk. Every railway carriage in the world has one and he was heading straight for our sweet old lady’s spare seat. Looking around we could see nearly everyone in the carriage wondering how this would play out.
The old lady did her best to maintain her straight-laced demeanor even as our drunk companion took on his role with great theatrics – swaying from side to side, laughing to himself, and leaning over to read her paper. She even struggled to stop a smile appearing as he took hold of his bottle of cider and caressed it fondly only to discover that it was nearly empty. Her face couldn’t hide it any longer and it just helped to add to this comic situation. Two people from completely different sides of the track sitting beside each other on a 2-hour journey but able to show respect for each other.
There was another character who I found more difficult when it came to people watching. This gentleman appeared to have some sort of nasal issue going on. Which was fine, we can all be afflicted by physical ailments that are out with our control but here’s my issue – He would remove a cotton handkerchief from his top pocket, blow his nose in a noisy extended trumpet kind of way then place the handkerchief on his lap, fold it neatly and place it back in his top pocket. 15 minutes later, same handkerchief, same nose, same sound, same folding and same pocket. On and on it went for the full journey! What kind of capacity for snot did this handkerchief hold! I’m sure that even our drunk friend was disgusted!
We finally reached Faro. Fast becoming a place that has a place in our hearts. We crossed over the railway line and walked to our next hotel – Hotel Monaco This would be our final stop before heading home to Scotland the next day.
We just had time for one final night in Faro. An evening meal in a restaurant we had eaten in one year earlier when we had sat and talked about coming back and doing a cycle trip. Then we headed to O Castelo for a drink with a perfect view.
Thank you Portugal for giving us happy memories and an amazing adventure. Until next time. x