Andrej Raider

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Good Bye Europe (Fatima – Lisbon)

Posted on | July 31, 2011 | No Comments

Original date of post | April 15, 2009 |

Lisbon came closer.

Lisbon was planned to be the last station of Europe. On the way I was thinking how to leave the continent. The first idea was to check the port and ask if they let e work on the ship/container. If that doesn’t work out i ll have to look for a little job and work until I have the money for crossing the big lake. I didn’t know how, but somehow I would get out of there.

We slept in Alcanera, as usual at the fire-fighters, and walked a pretty long way to Santarem the next day. We arrived in an inn starving and were fed by the young and friendly bar keeper. He advised us that the fire-station was still 10 kilometers away. This last 10 km were a literally a pain. The entrance hall of the fire-station was a bar with lots of (drunk) customers. Even the some fire-fighters were drunk. The bar-keeper, who was absolutely wasted, tottered around the counter and asked us what we want. I explained our situation. On my question if it was possible to sleep there he replied with a slurred speech: “its difficult” and kept tottering upstairs without any further comments. After a minute he came back with another drunk woman. I had to repeat our story. She seemed to have understood us and brought us to a huge hall, where we had 2 mattresses to sleep on. She explained us the house-rules with a mix of English, Portuguese and French language. Unfortunately we didn’t understand anything. But in this situation, just nod and smile and you ll be fine.

And we were fine. After having a coffee the next morning we walked to Cartaxo. The fire-station in Cartaxo had a room with blackboards for us.

Refreshing arts- and maths-skills

Refreshing arts- and maths-skills

We continued to Azambuja, where a very friendly and hospitable man, called Nataniel invited us to have lunch with him. He was the very first person from Cap Verde, I have ever seen. He told us a bit from his country and culture and after listening to him I decided: Some day, I go to Cap Verde. He gave us some Euros for the way and we said good bye. This night we slept in Vila Franca de Xira at (what a surprise)… the firefighters.

Along the main street of Portugal we kept walking towards Lisbon. We were almost there, when we saw the famous bridge “Ponte Vasco De Gama”, the longest bridge in Europe, with 17,2 kilometers.

Through couch surfing we arranged a place to sleep in Lisbon. The description written by Joao, the couch-owner said: “My place is small, dirty and always full of people. You com on your own risk. This is not a joke”. Since it sounded like another adventure, we were eager to arrive there. When we arrived at the street, where the place was supposed to be, we were first doubting in its existence. The street looked more like a shopping mile. But indeed: Between a vegetable-shop and a flower-store, there was a small door which lead us to a 1 1/2-room-flat with a dozen of English-speakers in it. The beds, the floor, and the garden were considered as sleeping-surface. We camped in the garden and had an incredible time with Germans, Canadians, Americans, Swedish, Latvians, Chinese, French, Italians, and so on. We cooked together, partied together, sat at the fireplace, singing songs, sharing stories and experiences. In those days I made use of my Reiki-skills and helped Joaos neighbor, (who’s name was also Joao, and was also hosting people at the same time) to recover from an injury he had in his knee and earned some Euros to contribute a bit to the community.

Every day I went to the port, asking for ships hitting to south-America. But it seemed the people working at the port didn’t know either where their ships are going. Not even the port-administration could tell me if the have ships going to south-America. They gave me some addresses and I ve checked them all. Finally, one day I arrived at the office of a commander. I walked on an expensive blue carpet through the long corridor, decorated with statues and monuments of ships, pictures of great Captains and Admirals, until I arrived at the reception where an unfriendly secretary didn’t want to let me in. “Hes out of office!”. I asked her where I can find him then. “He is busy at the moment!”, she replied. “Well I need to talk to him!”, I said and mentioned some names of “important people” working at the port. She picked u the phone, dialed a number and gave me the phone. Of course the commander spoke Portuguese only and I had to focus to make him understand what I want… I greeted, said my name and explained my situation briefly. “Well”, he started “unfortunately we do not have passenger-ships going to south-America”.
“No ships in the whole city?”
“No ships in the whole country.”
“Okay, and how about containers?”
“Yes, that we have. But to take you on a container we would need you to have a seaman-certificate, first-aid formation certificate, insurance, basic nautical-course, ……. ” he kept on and on with the list and on my question, if there is any way to avoid all this, he replied “Maybe 30 years ago”.

But I didn’t want to give up. I went to the docs to speak with the harbor master. Unfortunately the docs were behind a big fence. The entrance gate was secured with a numerical code-security system. Before I could start shouting bad words around, I heard a voice behind me: “two, seven, four, two, five, A”. I turned around and saw a full-bearded sailor loaded with plastic bags which he was about to bring on his boat. I dialed the code and the gate was open. The bearded sailor jumped on his boat and after a little chat he casted of, to France, where I started. And I… I went to the harbor masters office. The old friendly man didn’t even ask me how I got in there, but unfortunately he only could confirm, that there is no way for me to get on a ship. This mission ended with a disappointment, but no-one can tell me I didn’t try.

My next plan was to get a cheap flight. I called my family and told them to quit my membership in our cooperative building society. Since I was not likely to go back soon and get a flat to live. They canceled and I got 300 Euros refunded.
Now it was the time, to grab the sacred little box, which was deep in my backpack waiting for months and moths for this day to come. I took it, and while I held it in my hands for some seconds, I remembered the moment in Spain, when a friend, another spiritual walker, gave me this present with a little notice in addition which said: “This is for your ticket to south America only”…

With 600 Euros I went to the traveler agency and asked for the cheapest flight to south-America they have. After some minutes of searching, the lady said to me, with a smile in her face, as if she knew my situation: “This would be a flight in 3 days, to Rio De Janeiro in Brasil, for 600 Euros.”

To be continued…

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