Greetings From Porto & Lisbon Portugal!
I left Madrid in a bad mood, I was getting better from the bad cold that knocked me down but I was still dealing with the credit card fraud at the time. Luckily it only took a day or so while in Porto before resolving the issues, letting me get back to focusing on my travels and training. I took a bus to Porto and found my hostel no problem. I guess the hostel owner had text messaged me to tell me to let him know when I’ll be showing up, but I had switched numbers since I reserved the bed so I didn’t get the message. Because of this when I got to the hostel the host wasn’t there and I had to wait a while before I could check in. Once I was checked in and shown a map of all the sights to see of the city, and told of the holiday coming up, I was ready to see Porto!
Traveling to Lisbon was even easier. I had booked an Air BnB and we were in contact the entire bus ride, with the host tell me the exact route to get to his place. I was staying really close to one of the clubs I was wanting to visit, there were some other clubs in Lisbon as well but ended up passing on them for resting and catching up on some online work. Just gives me an excuse to come back another time!
I will say that both the cities are beautiful, as are pretty much all my destinations on this odyssey, but if I was bringing a significant other with me and could only pick one, it would be Porto. It’s a smaller, more intimate and romantic town than Lisbon, but both are must see destinations as you will see from the photos.
Since there was a holiday going on I spent a day walking around Porto and saw a lot of the sights but didn’t go into any of the places or go on any tours. The Dom Luís I Bridge was my favourite and it’s up there in my list of favourite sights. I walked across the top looking down on the bottom bridge, watching cars and buses drive by, and boats float by below them. It was an amazing view of the ports below and of the city with their red roofed buildings lining the Douro River. There’s also the Porto Cathedral and Clérigos Tower are also worth seeing. Of course If I were to drink I would be definitely trying out all sorts of wines and ports here, since Porto is the home of the fortified wine port after all.
Lisbon has some great sights too, the waterfront was pretty cool to walk along and sit on the ledge and watch the wind surfers cross the water in groups. There’s also the Commerce Square along the waterfront and markets selling all kinds of things and all kinds of sights further down and across the water that I didn’t see to see, so lots to see along the Rio Tejo.
Of course I have many more photos I have taken from these visits and if you’re interested on seeing them head on over to my Flickr account and check them out!
During my search I found Pedro and he told about about his club he trains at, FOCUS Jiu-Jitsu, unfortunately we weren’t able to meet up or train together but I did make it out to the gym. FOCUS is in a gym, Academia Workout. The mat space is huge, all white and bright. It’s upstairs and overlooks the free weights area so you can watch all the crazy weight lifters and crossfitters throwing things around, with the lights and all white motive it felt like you were training on clouds, not that the mats were that soft though. I showed up for one day and trained both the noon no gi class and evening gi class but soon into the gi class my left knee felt a little weird so I didn’t roll and was limited with some of my drilling. It ended up being nothing, just a bruise or a maybe a strain either way it was just annoying.
The guys at the clubs were all nice people happy to have a visitor. I enjoyed training and rolling with everyone, they have some real killers on the mats but everyone was fun to roll with, even when I was just being schooled by the top guys. During the evening there was a brown belt who was training for a big tournament, drilling all kind of crazy way, like with a harness holding him back while doing open guard passes. FOCUS was a good club to visit, it’s too bad I couldn’t meet up with my original contact for the place, but there’s always next time!
Brasa Demian Maia Jiu-Jitsu Portugal
For Lisbon I had help with the BJJ Globetrotters community again and was connected to Vitalino, a Demian Maia brown belt who runs Brasa Demian Maia Jiu-Jitsu Portugal. Vitalino and I spoke on Facebook and set up to come out one night. The club is in a gym named Get Fit (I couldn’t find a link for it) they set up in a room by putting down tatami mats they have usually stacked I the corner, I think the room is usually used for yoga or something. I showed up the Friday night class, I was feeling a little off during the week and needed to catch up on things online so this was my only time out to train in Lisbon, it’s too bad it was a slow night and I only got to meet a few members of the club. As it was a small class Vitalino decided to make it a relaxed evening and just roll. We started rolling together and probably went on for 10 minutes before switching out to rolling with other people. There was no timer, we just rolled until we were done, so I only rolled with 3 different people but I’m pretty sure I rolled more in an hour with them then I would have with a dozen people doing 5 minute rounds. I always need to take breaks after a couple rounds, people go harder when there’s a timer. No time just lets you flow and work out defending and attacking. And we didn’t just go light and easy, there were some great battles. We ended the night lying on the mats totally exhausted chatting about Jiu-Jitsu and MMA while stretching out and realized we had had gone past the usual time and the gym was waiting to kick us out to close so we had to hurry and leave. Because of that I didn’t get a photo with Vitalino or his club, can’t get them all I guess. It was a fun night with some great rolls, and when Vitalino and I were talking he even knew of my travels plans and where I’d been which was cool to be training at club where the instructor follows me and even knew of and watched videos by my instructor and his black belt. Good times!
After not near enough training at cool gyms in Portugal It was time to move on. I had one more stop back in Spain before heading to Morocco and meeting some friends I had been talking to for some time. Little did I know of the meet ups and friends I would make coming up. Next up Malaga, the Costa Del Sol!
Until next time,
see you on the mats!
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