Sunday, January 17, 2010

Wait, Did I Just See Mario Bros???

What better way can there be to wrap up the weekend in Portugal than by cruising around in the über cool GoCar!?!?!?

Yes, on my last day in Lisbon, David and I went to the GoCar Tours office in the Baixa/Chiado district to rent a GoCar for 4 hours. We were really lucky that they had a vehicle for us, as usually, you would have to book in advance, as the number of cars is limited. We paid 60 Euros for a 4 hour tour, and I must say that although it is a bit pricey, it was a fantastic and unforgettable experience!

It's one of those things where you've got to be there to know what I am talking about. We were given helmets and sat in the GoCar, strapped on our seatbelts and were ready to go. The staff handed us a GPS and a map, and explained the roads we were authorized to take and provided recommendations on organizing our time between districts.

Off we went! Never have I felt so close to the road surface before! We started the engine and headed off towards Belém first. Wherever we went, heads turned and eyes stared. People , locals and visitors alike, were in awe and shouted, "Hey, where d'ya get that! That's so cool!" We were on the main roads, obeying the instructions from the GPS which even demonstrated some sense of humor from time to time. The noise from the engine was really loud and rather unpleasant, and I am sure we must have annoyed those trying to sleep in on a Sunday, hehe. But this really was a thrilling experience, making me feel as though we were in a Mario Bros video game...until the GPS just started talking nonsense and we took a wrong turn. The turn couldn't have been worse as we found that we were entering a fairly busy highway! Cars started honking at us, people shouting across their windows to tell us we were not allowed to enter. We couldn't reverse, however, and just started to panic. To top it off, neither of our phones was fully charged and I started to get mad at myself for not being better prepared. We stopped the car and started making phonecalls to the GoCar office. The staff didn't pick up the phone initially, and at this point, we started to worry. Finally, we managed to get through after 10 minutes of waiting at the side of the highly. The staff patiently advised us to continue along the highway until we see a right exit leading to a parking lot. They also told us that this had happened twice before, that too, to some people from Switzerland, so that made us crack up as we were now third on their list. All we could do at this point was to pray that the parking lot was open, and we were so relieved to see that it indeed was! Phew! We then managed to make our way back into downtown Lisbon.

After that, we went to Alfama, which was the best part because of its steep and winding roads. Oh, the sensation of just going down the bumpy roads and enjoying the views of the city! It was really cool.

We then returned to the GoCar office, returned the car and made our way to the airport. I had such an amazing time in Portugal that I felt sad to leave. The country is so beautiful with its history, culture, traditions, castles, parks, pastry and best of all, the wonderful hospitality of its people. I know there is much more to see in this country, and something tells me that I will return one day to have more fun times there...


DVD said...

David Bros was feeling the heat when he saw the highway and the cars equipped with real engines ! Luckily we got out without a bruse.

banoo said...

Wow...definitely it could have been a thrilling experience! You look excited in the photo too!
Nice one!



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