Too much port wine and sunshine for one man.
After breakfast we spoke with the attendant at the hotelâ€™s front desk, we needed to do some shopping and wanted to see more than high street outlets where things sold in London are sold for London prices. We were told to catch a train (from the main station in the old town, just around the corner) to a nearby town called Espinho which has a big market every Monday. Big market, bloody hell, it was huge!! A long, beat-up, old car park full of stalls that just kept going and going. Lots of local food, pottery and cheap, cheap clothing available. It rained most of the time we were there but we managed to avoid getting too wet by negotiating the lanes of canvas roofing above the stalls (which always threatened to dump large puddles of water on you if an owner was poking it with a stick).
Mish at the Monday Market
By mid afternoon weâ€™d shopped so much we didnâ€™t really have many spare hands for carrying anything more so we returned to the Port wine cellars, touring Taylorâ€™s cellar and sampling their wares, before buying up all the port we could carry home. Russ and Sarah managed to turn it into a real test of strength by purchasing 120 miniture (50ml) bottles of port from Taylorâ€™s (gifts for guests at their upcoming wedding). Fortunately we found a cab, so we cheated our way out of walking across the bridge and up the steep hill to the hotel. Once there we repacked our bags before heading to the airport.
Thankfully our combined baggage limit accommodated all the port we had bought and once checked in we were able to relax and enjoy another drink before playing Ryanairâ€™s stand-and-wait game in order to get seats together.
This time our flight was delayed, so we had chance to squeeze in another cheeky drink before boarding.
Lots of Port .. in Barrels.
We arrive in London just before midnight only to find a huge queue for non-EU at the passport checkpoint. Nevermind though, because while Russ was stuck in the queue, the baggage carousel broke down, so by the time the rest of us had grabbed our bags, Russell was through passport control and we were on our way â€¦ to the taxi booking stand, where we had to wait another Â½ hr for a cab to take us 5 minutes down the road to where we had parked our car. At this point we were all thoroughly knackered and ready for sleep but Russell was an absolute trooper and, after turning down the opportunity to juice up on coffee, drove us all safely back to the other side of London! It was 3am before Mish and I were in bed.
Poor old Mish was up for work the next day at 7:30am. Jamie decided to use his more flexible working hours to his advantage and snuck in an extra couple of hours sleep. What he forgot though was that he was not allowed any respite from the booze because that evening he had to go out for a workmates leaving drinks â€¦ welcome back to life in London!!