Hurry Up and Make Portals Already!
I spent about 20 hours travelling from Manhattan to Madeira. Not really ideal, but who cares, I cut a layover in Lisbon by about twelve hours and caught an early flight to Funchal, thanks TAP!
EWR to OPO: Newark to Porto
29 December 2011
I left my apartment 3:50 pm and sat in traffic for about two hours (no joke), I finally got to Newark in a cab. Good thing the airport was empty! Security was a breeze and my flight actually left late – 35 minutes late. They were waiting for some lost luggage to be put on the plane, go figure.
Tiago sat next to me (he frequently visits Portugal for family) suggested to get the swordfish from Madeira and to avoid the touristy spots! He also mentioned that Porto is little older than Lisbon, so maybe Lisbon will be more fun for us.
I watched Horrible Bosses and some good ole’ Modern Family to help pass the time. After all, I usually didn’t sleep until one or two in the morning (Eastern time zone).
Surprisingly, we arrived in Porto ahead of schedule due to some tailwind. Good thing since my connection was just forty-five minutes and I had to go through customs!
OPO to LIS: Porto to Lisbon
30 December 2011
This airport was completely futuristic looking. I felt like I was at a spaceport, not an airport. I got to the gate fifteen minutes before boarding and hopped on a bus to board the plane. I felt a little douchey thinking, “they can’t even build this new airport with jet bridges?!”
Everyone was hesitant to get on after getting off the bus, but I looked up at the flight attendants and they nodded and waved us in – I was the FIRST to board, woohoo! I felt so boss.
Right when we got to cruising altitude, we were notified that were were ready for decent. I didn’t realize this flight would be so short!
Pretty much no customs here, there wasn’t even a line. I had to get my boarding pass to FNC and took a short bus ride over the terminal.
LIS to FNC: Lisbon to Funchal
30 December 2011
This terminal is freaking tiny as hell! I was not prepared for a twelve hour layover, so I went to try and an earlier flight. I asked the lady to get an earlier flight and she immediately said no with a straight face, but then smiled and said the next flight out was full. She kept grinning and the printer started spitting out a ticket. She got me an 11:35 flight out (note: times will be military, it’s so much easier and less confusing than AM/PM).
I scrambled to get wifi and let Syp know I was arriving early, so I grabbed a coffee to get free wifi and thank goodness everything worked out just before boarding! Keep in mind, I’ve never met this girl and I have no idea what she looks like.
I snapped a few pictures of the airport while waiting for the bus too arrive. What a great start and I’m only at the airport!
A Quick Tour While Waiting for the Stragglers
I hopped on the bus to town and got off to find a warm smile from a girl I could only guess was Syp. Thank goodness she waited for me there, otherwise I’d be completely lost and it’d probably take me an eternity to find my way to her place by myself.
She gave me the tour and one of the porches looked over the ocean – RIDICULOUS VIEW. I sat outside to enjoy it for a while, despite the scorching sun. We walked around and I got a brief tour of the city while waiting for Ben, Sarah, and Natalie’s flight to arrive later in the evening. I decided to leave my camera and phone and just take in this new place.
We caught a bus to the airport to meet the stragglers and tried to greet them as they got off the plane, but they arrived early. We found them waiting for us outside, boo. I’m so glad I caught that early flight, I would have had seen them in Lisbon as they left for Funchal and have to meet them up again at the airport, whew!
After dropping off all their stuff, resting a bit, and settling in, Syp took us to dinner. After a few drinks, I think we were the loudest group there. Everyone kept eyeing us, looking over, but we just kept having fun!
New Year’s Eve on an Island with FIREWORKS
31 December 2011
It’s New Year’s Eve and I woke up to the smell of coffee. That’s the best way to start the morning. We then just wandered around Madeira, most the same places I’ve already been, but it was much more lively since it was a Saturday.
We kind of zig-zagged our way to a lunch and the wait was worth it. This was probably one of the best places we’ve been to throughout the trip.
Next up, the Gondola ride. The view was great and we even saw a naked man on his balcony looking over the streets – HILARITY. Somehow I even spotted a cat crossing a ledge off a pretty high cliff. After reaching the top we wandered around and ended up walking down some stairs that took us to someone’s house. It’s amazing and really tiring to walk around steep slopes for such long periods.
We took a cab ride down and he opened up the sunroof for some us to stick our heads out! When he saw a straight away, he’d gun it, even if someone was hanging out the sunroof, hehe. The sun started to set and we knew it was time to get back and prepare for the fireworks.