Encore! To Lisbon

Lisbon (Portugal), 01.12.2013

At 05:30 in the morning a crying baby woke me up, shortly after the sibling joined in, and the morning in casa Wit started. The previous night my friend Alex and I had celebrated my return the Spanish way: with two bottles of wine, some delicious almejas, tender carabineros, a juicy steak and several chupitos of licor de hierbas at the end, at what is probably the best seafood bar in town. For the first time in months I woke up with no headache after that much alcohol. Welcome back to Madrid!

After breakfast I drove out of town to the warehouse where my entire household was stored, unloaded the Evoque, took the rooftop rack off and stuffed everything into the crammed storage space. In these months of constant unpacking and repacking, my space optimisation skills had improved to a point where now I had more empty space after I dropped almost the entire car’s content into the same storage. As I left, the Evoque felt empty, like a normal car. I had never driven it with both back seats upright in all these months.

Over the next days I met some friends again, and had to take care of several issues I had neglected over the past months. All the time I spent in the city, walking through my former neighbourhood or driving around, I kept wondering why Madrid felt so distant suddenly. I came to the conclusion that I must have disconnected with my previous life big time! Way more then I ever did on even the longest vacation. I had travelled to remote places I was not even aware of before. Many of them were so much poorer, had so much less freedom, peace and prosperity, and yet I felt comfortable in most of them due to their friendly people, beautiful nature or great cultural heritage. I had started to see my environment with open eyes, to actually really look at it as opposed to the rushing through a city like Madrid in day to day life, with most of my attention dedicated to a few-inch screen in front of me and in constant stress, running behind a clock all day. The few appointments I had in my agenda were a reminder of what lay behind me and probably ahead too at some point. But that point wasn’t just there yet, and I wanted to push it back as far as I could.

And so on a sunny sunday morning, after a café con leche and a barrita con tomate in an old-school Madrid bar, I got into the car and left for the last km that were left on the map to the west – to Lisbon. I was running out of places to drive tthrough on the Eurasian continents, but at least these last few hundred km were still there. The weather was great, and with few cars on the road the day went by smoothly. I entered Lisbon over the Ponte 25 do Abril as the sun started its descent for the day, and drove swiftly over cobble stone roads into the Chiado district in the old part of town. The baroque buildings, many in non perfect conditions, gave this city a very vintage feeling. After getting all my stuff out of the car, I turned on the heating in the apartment over the roofs of the surrounding buildings. And while the sun disappeared on the horizon and the city lights started to shine, I enjoyed a glass of wine from my last Mongolian food supplies I had bought in a supermarket in Ulaan Bataar many weeks ago.

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Trip data

– Km driven: 637

– Hrs on the road: 6

– Diesel l/100km: 7,4

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