On the bus back to Portugal (E.P.F.2019)
Updated: Aug 19, 2019
Returning to the European People's Festival in Cantanhede.
DAY 1: I took the bus from Madrid to Lisbon Airport where I luckily managed to arrive before the Irish team reached Arrivals.
I was delayed and was worried I wouldn’t be able to make it in time and with my phone mysteriously dying on the bus ride across the Peninsula, I hadn’t been able to make contact with Carmel until I reached a payphone but I didn’t have any change for the €2 call and had to buy a coke to get some change.
€2 no wonder payphones are defunct but luckily I found one in the 21st Century and luckier still, Carmel had just turned on her phone to receive my frantic phone call looking to see if I had missed them. All calm and caring, Carmel responded, "Sure we would have waited for you Morgan."
It had been a long bus ride down but nothing compared to my last bus ride to Portugal which started in Athlone and weaved through Wales, England, France and spending a night in Spain before finally making it to Portugal. Three days by bus and three days back with no tv and no toilet. Ouch.
The bus from the airport was considerably quieter than the bus ride in 1999 with only half the seats occupied compared to 20 years ago.
There was smiles when I waved a tri-colour at the arrivals hall for the arriving team, musicians and singers, football players and organisers. Well seasoned veterans of the European Festival and some new faces too.
There is a full week ahead of us and lots of new friends to make and old friends to see.
Who knows what will happen during the week, all I know is, I’m very happy to be back.
UPDATE: I left earlier than expected but won 2nd Place in the Photography Competition, a significant improvement over 4th Place in Italy in 2006. I was kissed for being Irish, a lot, hopped in a F16 fighter jet, saw a bull run, (Not real bulls) swam in the swimming competition (this year for Ireland and not Finland) and fought off a Viking attack.
Follow the week's activities as I take a look at the Opening Mass and Parades: