Summer 2016: Part 6

I think it was the following day [i.e. more than a year ago] that we took a trip to Sintra to see Pena Palace.
Here it is.
A photo.

Wait, but this is a google photo! Why on earth would I put that up?



So the plan was to take the morning train to Sintra. We dutifully followed the plan. But Mawii and I were very irritated with each other by the time we were on our way. I think it started when I made her wait while I smoked a cigarette outside the station before boarding the train. She was worried we'd miss it or something and I was all, Mawii, relax, we won't miss it.

I know what you're thinking and you are wrong. We did not miss the train.


So she starting getting annoyed with me (in all fairness, I'm fairly annoying) and I started getting annoyed with her (because, if one is going to be equally fair, she can be goddamn anal sometimes). We got so annoyed with each other, we didn't even sit next to each other on the train.

Although, come to think of it, that might have been because we may have been just slightly late boarding. And there was no fixed seating - and it was a bank holiday weekend - so we had to make do with what we could get which wasn't much.

Sintra was packed with tourists. There were so many people milling around when we got out of the station, it felt like being back in India again. Minus the colour scheme.

Mawii marched on ahead, ignoring me.

I shuffled along, ignoring her, and eventually lost her in the crowd and ended up sulking near one of the bus stops.

Let her come and find me, I thought to myself.

But she didn't. And I know Mawii's moods,  I realised that she was capable of boarding the bus and leaving me behind, so I pushed my way through the crowd, muttering pardons and sorrys, and I finally found her standing in a queue at one of the bus stands.

We still didn't say anything to each other and when we got on the bus, that girl took the window-seat without apology or explanation.

That meant Mawii was Seriously Pissed Off, but so was I (the wordless occupation of the window-seat was the Last Straw) so I didn't care.

The castle is set on something that is too large to call a hill and too small to claim to be a mountain. It is surrounded by thick, dense forest. Both the castle and the forest are open to tourists. You can't, however, glimpse the castle from the drop-off point (which is a mountain path). You need to go into the forest to see it.

And, it goes without saying, you have to pay to enter the goddamn forest.

This is when I realised I didn't have enough money on me to enter. Not if I wanted to get back to Lisbon. I can't remember what happened, I think I'd left some notes behind at the B&B.

"I can't go in," I said to Mawii. "I think I left my cash behind at the B&B."

Obviously this is the point I expected her to lend me the money - feud or no feud - but instead she said, "okay, I'll meet you here in an hour."

And off she went.

In Mawii's defence, I found out later that she wasn't carrying enough cash for the both of us, but she was too annoyed with me to tell me then, so I called her many colourful names under my breath as I strolled down the path the bus had just brought me up on.

There was a cafe about a ten minutes away, tucked in on the side of the mountain. (Or hill.) I bought an Americano (even though I loathe them) because I couldn't afford the cappuccino. There was a little stoned-paved courtyard outside. I sat there and rolled a cigarette grumpily.

Time passed.

I took out a notebook and pen because it felt like the Right Time to Write Something.

Time passed.

It was not the Right Time to Write Something after all. I put the notebook back and rolled another cigarette.

Time continued to pass, as it tends to do.

A tiny robin - robins are the only birds, in my opinion, that are more or less okay - landed on my table and cocked its head at me enquiringly. I love the roundness of the robin, and the scarlet patch its chest.

Regardless, I hurriedly got up and left.

Robins might be more or less okay but I, evidently, am not.

It was more or less time to meet up with Mawii, so I headed back towards the entrance. I saw her looking for me, but - because I am extraordinarily childish and petty when I'm pissed off - I didn't go up to her.

Let her make more of an effort to find me, I thought.

Three minutes passed and the moron still hadn't managed to spot me, so I gave up and went across to her.

"It was beautiful," she said, in response to the obvious how-was-it.

"But I didn't go inside the palace," she said after a pause. "It was too expensive. I only saw the outside from the forest."

Boo fucking hoo. 

It turned out that the drop-off point was only a drop-off point, and not a pick-up point as most drop-off points are, so we started walking down the mountain (or hill) towards the town below. It was a good 2 km walk and we obviously made up along the way.

The conversation went something like this:

Me: Mawii, you really pissed me off.

Mawii: I think you may have pissed me off more.

Me: Probably. I'm sorry. I don't want to be pissed off.

Mawii: Same here.

Me: Cool.

And then we were back to normal. That's what I love about my friendship with Mawii. There's so much affection, but no fuss. 

My memory is a little hazy, but I remember us walking around trying to find a place to drink and eat at. We found our way to a winding lane where there were plenty of shops selling all sorts of things for tourists to take back home, and I saw about five hundred things I wanted to pick up for my family and friends, but I didn't have the money. To be fair, if I did have the money, I would've probably turned my nose up at everything.

I could go on about the rest of the day, but the thing is, I've been going on about this trip for more than a year, and I'm quite fed up. I want to get to the end now. Here's a rough summary though.

- We walked a lot.

- We had a couple of drinks and a meal at a cheap pub.

- We found a grassy and abandoned park and spent a very peaceful half-an-hour there.

- We found a bus that took us to the station.

- We found the train that took us back to Lisbon.

- We found that Mawii's map wasn't as trustworthy as we thought, and we got lost on our way home.

- A twenty minute walk, therefore, turned into a ninety minute walk.

- We reached home and collapsed.

I am very tempted to be all, fuck the rest of the holiday, maybe I should write about something that is happening now, but I won't. I will continue to document this goddamn trip for the next three years if I have to.

Because, though the posts don't do it justice, it's one of those things you want to keep with you, however abysmal your manner of keeping it.