My brother Byron and I said are farewell to Salamanca and new friend Louise, who we met through Couchsurfing early Monday morning. This is my brother’s 2nd time traveling to Europe and first time meeting people through Couchsurfing and staying in a hostel. I’ve been super stoked about his visit and to have this opportunity to share this type of travel style with him.
Buses run from Salamanca to Porto, Portugal at 11:45 Tuesday- Saturday, Sunday there is no bus and Monday there is only a 1:30am bus. Though we enjoyed the small university town of Salamanca and we were sad to say our farewell to our new friend but we knew it was time to hit the road.
Night buses aren’t my favorite but I became used to them living in Roquetas and having limited options of getting to Madrid by bus or train. So when the night bus was are only option, unless we wanted to stay 2 more days in Salamanca, I didn’t think twice. Throwing my brother right in!
We bought our bus ticket in the afternoon and were back at the station in the black night of morning.
- Sleeping upright isn’t comfortable, even if the seats recline. It’s even more difficult when the bus driver drives hecticthat you feel you keep waking up from being jostled
- The bus driver decides to drop everyone off at the ticket agent “Internorth” instead of at the proper bus station as it’s stated on your ticket. The directions we have for our hostel are useless and we can’t find where we are on our guidebook map. (It’s too early for any information booth to be open and hardly anyone on the street at 6am).
- You decide to take a taxi who quotes a decent price (6 euros but we realize later it’s only 3 minutes away, picks up other travelers who are walking yet don’t wave down a taxi and then when he arrives at your stop, he charges you 2 euros more than what the meter ssys and 1 Euro less than what he quoted you. (Normally, you’d argue or question but you’re too tired, you don’t speak Portuguese and you just want a bed)
- All you want to do is sleep in a cozy bed but it’s 6am. Check in time is noon. You think it’s 7am but that’s Spanish time, Portugal is an hour earlier than Spain. You arrive at your hostel and the woman at reception seems to have just been awoken by ringing the doorbell. She doesn’t offer us to crash in the common area and suggests we return at 11am or noon. Oh God. Help us.
- You chill at a café and try to read a guidebook and or look at a map to get your bearings of this new city. For a moment, you question why you’re traveling, what you’re doing with yourself and why you though traveling was a great idea in the first place. You order overpriced café and snacks because it’s the only café open this early and you’re grateful since it’s raining outside.
- Weird people seem to be the only ones roaming around the street and one approaches asking if you speak English and then mumbles how he’s a piano player who lost his job 3 years ago. He’ll bug everyone on the street and then forget he’s already asked you, and ask again. Your brother questions why we came to Portugal and thinks Spain is much better.
- You take a nap for a few hours when you can finally can check-in and feel you’ve wasted part of your day. You venture out but you feel out of it. And then you curse the city of Porto, built on steep hills for having to hike when you legs fill like someone has inflated them with air, your back aches and head feels fuzzy
- While aimlessly roaming the city to get a feel for the place and just see what happens, my brother gets shit on by a pigeon and wonders if this is a sign for us to get the heck out of town. “ I can’t remember if this is good or bad luck,” he says.” We laugh till we cry and go in search of coffee to try to kick our delirious state.