Watto's Euro 2004 Diary

  

Paul Watson experiments with travel logistics in Portugal.

  

 Day 10: Saturday 19 June 2004

  

Wake up early.  Leave at 10:30, which gives me 9 hours to get to the game.  Guys at reception don't seem to know anything so I just go to the bus stop.  Facing wrong way, I cross road and wait for the bus.  An English woman, former teacher, comes to the stop, she now lives in the Algarve.  Sell up and move?  Tempting.

Bus to Portimao.  Find bus stop, wait for bus to Faro at 12:35, notice that there is a bus to Lisbon at 13:05, change ticket and have lunch.  An Everton fan and a Wolves fan join me for a beer.  The Wolves fan won't sit with us.  Everton fan apologises for his flip flops — they have a Wolves logo on them — he has burnt his feet so he has to wear them.  Talk about Radzinski.

Get the bus, arrive in Lisbon at 16:30.  3 hours to get to Porto, should be OK.  Bus to Porto get there at 20:30 - half time, taxi to train station.  Run around station, panic, realise train takes 3½ hours as well; work out that PT Campanha is Porto.  Miss 17:04 train trying to buy ticket.  Next train arrives at 21:30 in Porto.  I have missed the whole match. 

I ring my wife, I'll be back tonight, her credit goes on her phone.  I ring Orange, press 1 for services abroad, 2 for direct debits, 3 for contact changes 4 to repeat the options.  No, no, no.  I buy a phone card, I ring Stefan, no answer.  Train to Faro about to leave.  Stefan rings and I get off the train: we'll watch it in a bar. 

We meet at Baixo Chido metro station.  Watch the game, I have a few beers and some grilled sardines.  Good game.  But why did Trappotoni take off the strikers?  I could have been there.  Boo hoo.  We walk round Lisbon; I stay at his father-in-law's, a Benfica fan.  I decide I'll be up at six to get back to the Algarve.  Mad mad day; how did I not know it would take so long to get there?  Portugal is an enormous country.

Paul Watson

  

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