Tuesday, November 18, 2014

TTT - Sequels I Can't Wait to Get My Hands On

It's time to link up with the Broke and the Bookish again!

Oh, sequels. Sequels are both the joy and the bane of my existence. Joy because "OMG I GET TO READ ABOUT THESE CHARACTERS AGAIN!!". Bane because "WHY IS THE RELEASE DATE SO FAR AWAY WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY????". So yeah. Here are ten sequels that I'm dying to read.

1. Book 4 of the Throne of Glass series - Sarah J. Maas
Heir of Fire was the most amazing book of ever. And waiting until this time next year for the as-yet-untitled book 4 is going to make me cry millions of tears of frustration. This is why I like discovering series AFTER they end. Because there's no waiting. 

2. Book 3 of The Lovegrove Legacy - Alyxandra Harvey
Whisper the Dead was absolutely brilliant and full of squee-tastic moments. And I can't wait to get my hands on book 3 and all the inevitable Penelope/Cedric squees that will come along with it. 

3. Winter - Marissa Meyer
I devoured Cress in like 24 hours earlier this year and I cannot wait to see how Meyer ties up this series in book 4. 

4. Manners & Mutiny - Gail Carriger
I basically just read Waistcoats & Weaponry. It hasn't even been two weeks since I finished it. And I'm already desperately hoping that the publication date of this one gets pushed up by almost a year because I NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED IT. 

5. Every Word - Ellie Marney
Okay, so this one's sort of cheating because I already have it on my Kindle. But I'm forcing myself to wait as long as is humanly possible. I devoured Every Breath in less than 24 hours and loved every single second of it. Seriously. One of the best books I've read this year. And knowing that book 3 doesn't come out until March, I feel like I need to wait a while before reading this one so that the gap between books isn't QUITE as insufferable. 

6. Lair of Dreams - Libba Bray
I'm fairly certain this book is the bane of my existence. The publication date has been pushed back and pushed back and pushed back to the point where I'm not entirely convinced that it's ever actually going to be published. Seriously. It was originally meant to be out in March 2014. Then April. Then August. At the moment, it's early April 2015. I'll believe it when I see it. 

7. The Boy Most Likely To - Huntley Fitzpatrick
I ADORED My Life Next Door, and I desperately want to read the sequel. Desperately. Give it to me now, dammit!! *grabby hands*

8. Breaking the Rules - Katie McGarry
Three more weeks. THREE MORE WEEKS. I'm insanely excited about this book, even though we know that Noah and Echo get their happy ending from other books in the series. Don't care. Want. 

9. Mr. Kiss and Tell - Rob Thomas
Okay, I LOVED the Veronica Mars novel that came out earlier this year. It was really fun to see one of my favourite characters on the page, and follow on from the events of the Veronica Mars movie. So I'm pretty excited about this one. 

10. Hidden Huntress - Danielle L. Jensen
I really enjoyed Stolen Songbird, though I had some niggling questions about the world building. So I'm looking forward to the sequel so that I can find out what happens next and hopefully get a few of those pesky questions answered!

What's on your list?

K xx

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

TTT - Secondary Characters Who Need Their Own Books

It's time to link up with the Broke and the Bookish again!

This week's topic is secondary characters who need their own books, and OH MY GOD THERE ARE SO MANY. So many fabulous characters who I desperately want to know the stories behind. SO. MANY. 

I think you get the idea. 

1. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter series - J.K. Rowling)
What I want here is oddly specific. I want a book about Hermione's seventh year at Hogwarts, the year when Ron and Harry weren't there and she actually got to study and form friendships and all the rest of it without being one of the Golden Trio. Basically, I want to see Hermione being a character in her own right. 

2. Reagan (Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell)
There are literally no words for how much I adore Reagan. She's sassy and confident and fabulous. And OH MY GOD I WANT HER TO NARRATE AN ENTIRE BOOK. So much. So, so much.

3. Calliope Bell (Lola and the Boy Next Door - Stephanie Perkins)
Okay, so this is another one that's weirdly specific. Basically, I want a book in which Calliope goes to the Winter Olympics and meets a hot snowboarder, and she's all "NO. THIS IS HORRIBLY INCONVENIENT BECAUSE I NEED TO WIN OLYMPIC GOLD" and he's all "Just go with the flow, yo" and she's all snippy and then he helps her relax enough that she doesn't choke up and she wins and they fall in love and squees happen. 

4. Chaol (Throne of Glass series - Sarah J. Maas)
I feel a little bit like this one's cheating, seeing as chunks of Heir of Fire were from his perspective. But I mean, seriously. He's Captain of the Guard and he's in his early 20s. WE NEED TO KNOW THAT STORY, DAMMIT. 

5. Magwitch (Great Expectations - Charles Dickens)
I really want to know about the stuff that happens in between Magwitch meeting Pip in the graveyard and Magwitch becoming Pip's insanely rich benefactor. But, like, written by Dickens. I'm sure someone's probably written this story. But it wouldn't be anywhere near as magical as it would be if it was written by Dickens. 

6. Monty Overbove (Wilfair series - Alysia Gray Painter)
Don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore Fair and Gomery and everything about them. I ship it forever and ever and ever. But I reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally want a book from Monty's perspective in which he gets to make movies and generally be the next big thing in Hollywood. (Ahem, Alysia? Feel free to write this for me at any time. Kthxbai)

7. Bertha Rochester (Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte)
Okay, I know that Wide Sargasso Sea is a thing. But much like the Magwitch entry on this list, I want the story written by Bronte, not by Jean Rhys. 

8. Curran Lennart (Kate Daniels series - Ilona Andrews)
I love the crap out of Curran, and I really want a detailed version of his backstory. I want all the backstory. ALL. OF. IT. And yes, I know that there are a couple of, like, 20 page ebooks filled with a series of scenes from Curran's point of view. IT'S NOT ENOUGH. 

9. Cheery Littlebottom (Discworld series - Terry Pratchett)
Look, I just really want a dwarf-narrated book, and Cheery would be pretty damned magical. Especially given that she's one of the first openly female dwarves. Oh yes. 

10. Abby (Pushing the Limits series - Katie McGarry)
Seriously, how do we not have a book about Abby yet?? She's been floating around in the background for most of the series now, and she's a pretty great character. Surely it's time that she gets her own book, right?? 

What's on your list?

K xx

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Fellowship of the Ring - J.R.R. Tolkien

Source
The first time I read The Lord of the Rings, I was about thirteen and I remember thinking that it went on foreeeeeeeeeeeeeever and that there were big chunks of it that could easily be taken out without damaging the story. The second time I read the series was after Return of the King came out at the movies, and I was really confused about the fact that certain events that happen in the first movie do NOT happen in the first book etc etc.

This time, the third time around, I read one or two chapters a night and savoured the book over the course of several weeks. And I loved it. There were still moments where I was like "Tolkien, dude, get on with it", but for the most part, those were few and far between.

I'm not going to bother giving a basic recap of the story, because unless you've been living under a rock for the past million years, you know the basics, whether it be from reading the books, seeing the movies, or suffering through endless memes about not passing or walking into Mordor.

I was a little surprised by how long certain events take to happen. It takes over 100 pages - almost a fifth of the book - for Frodo to even leave Bag End, and over 200 pages for the hobbits to reach Bree. Which doesn't mean that the stuff that happens in those 200 pages isn't good. Some of it is FABULOUS, especially the stuff involving Tom Bombadil and I'm now irrationally angry that he was left out of the movies because he's utterly brilliant. And the inclusion of a barrow-wight was rather unexpected but added a fantastic tone of creepiness to a book that's often just a bunch of blokes wandering about the landscape*.

Really, my only gripe would be the songs. I know they generally add history and depth to Middle-Earth, but did we REALLY need two full pages dedicated to Frodo's version of Hey Diddle Diddle?? I think not. But a Tolkien book without songs or poems is like an un-iced cupcake: sad and a little bit pointless. Especially when the non-Hey Diddle Diddle songs give us such perfect lines as "Not all those who wander are lost" and "Home is behind, the world ahead" (which never fails to make me tear up when Billy Boyd sings it in Return of the King).

Basically, it was amazing from start to finish. There's a lot of build up for events that happen in the second and third books, but it never feels like Tolkien's saving all the action for further down the track. The characters are brilliant, and Tolkien's passion for the world he's created shines throughout. I don't think anyone on the face of the earth has ever put as much depth and history and attention to detail into their world-building as Tolkien did. I mean, he invented MULTIPLE LANGUAGES, for crying out loud. So yes. Fabulous world-building, fabulous characters, fabulous story telling, general fabulousness throughout.

Onwards to The Two Towers!

Have you read it? What did you think? And do you wish Tom Bombadil was included in the movies too??

K xx

*May contain hyperbole. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

I had plans for writing my usual weekly update on my trip today. But somehow the day disappeared into a time sucking black hole and now it's 10.15pm and I have to go to work tomorrow, so writing a proper blog post seems way too much like hard work right now. So instead, I'll just tell you that I broke 10,000 words in NaNoWriMo, which is further than I ever thought I'd get. High five, self. High five.
So. What's new with you guys?

K xx

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

TTT - Books I Want to Reread (but am restraining myself over)

It's time to link up with the Broke and the Bookish again!

Today's topic is technically just "books I want to reread", but I've been working on doing a lot of rereading this year because I really want to end up that I've written reviews for all the books I have marked as read on Goodreads. Which basically means that I've been working on rereading books that I haven't read in a million years. This means the books I love and have read over and over in the past are languishing by the wayside. BUT I CAN'T READ THEM AGAIN BECAUSE THEY ALREADY HAVE REVIEWS, DAMMIT. 

You see my dilemma. 

So I changed this week's topic a little to be the books I've already reviewed (and, in some cases, already read this year!) but still really want to read again.

1. Persuasion - Jane Austen
My favourite Austen book forever and ever and ever. I usually read it annually, but not this year. I'm planning on rereading and reviewing Northanger Abbey before the end of the year, so poor old Persuasion has fallen by the wayside. Womp womp.

2. Carpe Jugulum - Terry Pratchett
Hands down my favourite Pratchett book. The characters are amazing, the story is phenomenal, and my copy is signed. But I have so many unreviewed Pratchett books to get through before I can reread this. Sigh.

3. The Parasol Protectorate series - Gail Carriger
Oh my God, I adore everything about this series. And I reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally want to reread them all. For the meantime, I'm surviving on the Finishing School series, and the endless wait for the Custard Protocol series. 

4. Attachments - Rainbow Rowell
I've already read this once this year, so I should have had my fill of this one. But nope. Never. Must read again ASAP. 

5. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
This one falls into the same category as Persuasion. It's been a favourite since I first had to read it for school in 1998, and I tend to reread it every year. But this year, there are far too many other things to reread to make time for Jane. Especially when I need to reread Villette and The Professor

6. Fairwil - Alysia Gray Painter
Technically, this one isn't even out yet. I beta read it for Alysia earlier in the year, and I WANT TO READ IT AGAIN SO BADLY BECAUSE IT WAS SO STINKING CUTE AND FEELSY AND I LOVE ALL THE CHARACTERS SO MUCH. You and me have a date on New Year's Day, book. 

7. The Throne of Glass series - Sarah J. Maas
I've read all of the books in this series so far this year, and yet I want to read them again and again and again. I foresee a full series reread before book 4 comes out next year.

8. Code Name Verity - Elizabeth Wein
I really want to reread this one, because I loved it so, so much. But I'm not sure my feels could take it. Not without massive doses of medicinal ice cream, anyway.

9. Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn
This has been a really polarising book for so many people, and I really want to reread it when I'm not on a plane/jetlagged to see if my opinion of it changes. I also want to reread it having seen the film and compare the two. 

10. The Chaos Walking trilogy - Patrick Ness
I tend to forget that I even own these books, because they're somewhere in the depths of my Kindle. But mostly I think I'm holding off on these ones because I'm not quite sure I can cope with reading about certain events again (MANCHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE).

Are you holding off on rereading anything?

K xx

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Nothing says 'welcome' like furniture with faces

Previously: We flew to Lisbon, and found a lot of not-very-nice food. But it was super pretty so it kind of balanced out?? 

The following morning, we braved Lisbon's public transport system (the Myki/Oyster card equivalents are made of cardboard with a chip in them, which is both ingenious and the worst plan ever) and took the train half way across the city to a bus terminal. We managed to locate what seemed to be the appropriate platform for the buses to Mafra, but then an employee who spoke zero English appeared and when we asked in a weird combination of English, Spanish and Portuguese if we were in the right place, she said no and pointed furiously at a platform over the other side of the terminal.

There was about 15 minutes before the timetable said the bus should arrive, so we walked over there to find that the platform information said that buses to Mafra absolutely did NOT leave from that platform and that we'd been right in the first place. Maybe she thought we looked like we could use the walk... Also, we saw a cocker spaniel that looked a lot like our dead dog and briefly contemplated kidnapping it. Well. I did. I'm not sure Dad did...

The trip out to Mafra took about an hour and ten minutes. It's only about 40km, but it was a local bus, so it stopped approximately 5,000 times in the 40km. C and I took advantage of the time to catch up on some reading. because WHY LOOK OUT THE WINDOW WHEN YOU CAN READ?!

Eventually, we arrived in Mafra and made our way to the National Palace.

We got there just in time to catch the end of the church service, which was equal parts awkward and fascinating. And oddly entertaining, as one of the altar boys appeared to be wearing a Batman t-shirt underneath his robes.



From there, we headed into the palace proper to buy tickets, and discovered that they were sold out of English guides. But they had French guides, and the guide was the only thing that included a map, so for a whopping €1, C and I muddled our way through it with my high school French and his Latin/Ancient Greek. It worked moderately well, though there were many occasions on which I wished I had internet access on my phone so I could ask ClĂ©ment what the hell I was reading.

Anyway, the Palace was built in the eighteenth century and its primary purpose was as a monastery following a promise from some random Portuguese king or other, and then he tacked a palace on the front. Much of the building (which is HUGE) is now used as a training academy by the Portuguese Army. The highlight of the palace is most DEFINITELY the library, and I'm not just saying that because I'm a library nerd. It's absolutely stunning.



TOLD YOU. (That first crappy phone photo really doesn't do it justice, but I had totally the wrong lens on my camera that day)

And not only is it stunning, but it's got all natural pest control and climate control. Basically, the walls and ceiling are false exteriors - there's actually a big empty space between them and the outside walls, which allows the room to warm up and cool down naturally over the course of the year. As far as pest control goes, there's a colony of bats that lives in the library. They hang out in boxes during the day, and at night they're set free to fly all over the place and eat any insects that get in. It's pretty damned nifty. (Although from a conservation perspective, it's probably a nightmare if the bats poop while they're eating insects...)

The rest of the palace was...very unpalace-like. It felt a lot more like a hunting lodge - very basic furniture, minimal decorations (except in the Queen's rooms), and a big focus on the church at the centre of the building.
"Mirror mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?" "OINK."
The random head in the middle is a nice touch.
This horse has eyeball issues
Stupidly tall clock with C (who's 6'2") for scale.
"What? They were like this when I got here."
We finished at about lunchtime and found a little cafe nearby where we could grab cheese sandwiches and Magnums (because on holidays, a Magnum totally counts as lunch food!) before discovering that there wasn't a whole lot else to do in Mafra short of paying a taxi to take us the 7km out to the Palace's hunting grounds (now a national park of sorts) and wander around there in the hopes of seeing a deer. And that all seemed too much like hard work, so we caught the bus back into Lisbon and decided to head to the Castelo de Sao Jorge instead.

There wasn't a whole lot to the castle itself, which dates back to Moorish times. You can walk around the battlements, which was a lot of fun, and the views are SPECTACULAR. But it's not like you end up walking through hundreds of fancy rooms or anything. It's essentially just a shell, albeit a very imposing shell with a nifty little museum of artefacts from each era of its history attached.






Once we'd finished at the castle, it was rapidly heading towards dinner time, so we found a place nearby with the intention of having drinks there and then going somewhere else for dinner. But once we'd sat down, finding somewhere else for dinner seemed all too much like hard work. And so that's how I ended up having a vegetarian pizza for dinner. One that consisted of peas, corn, carrot, tomatoes and broccoli. It was a little weird, I have to say, but still better than anything else we'd eaten up to that point.

Except the custard tarts. Obviously.

Next time, we head to Sintra to look at more palaces. 

K xx

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Stuff and things

Thing the first
I realised last night that I am a terrible blog parent. My little corner of the internets turned FIVE on 9th October, and I completely and utterly forgot about it. Whoops? Let's have a little dance party to celebrate, shall we?


Thing the second
I'm doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November and I'm kiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiind of terrified about it. So feel free to send me "HAVE YOU WRITTEN YOUR 1,666 WORDS TODAY??" messages at regular intervals during November to keep me on track. Also, as a result of this, blog posts may be somewhat light on the ground. But I'll still be over on Snark Squad a million times a week recapping Supernatural and Dawson's Creek and Doctor Who!

Thing the third
Marvel have released the line up for Phase 3 and I'm alternating between screaming with excitement and emailing Kim to ask her to please explain what I'm screaming with excitement about. But seriously, BLACK PANTHER AND CAPTAIN MARVEL OMFG!!!!!

Thing the fourth
Have you SEEN the Age of Ultron bonus scene that was released? I CANNOT STOP GIGGLING.
Steve, what are you doing?? Also, source.
Thing the fifth
I got a text message from C at 3.45am that said "WHO THE FUCK RUINS DELICIOUS MAC N CHEESE WITH FUCKING CAULIFLOWER?!?!?!?!?!?!". Needless to say, he has strong feelings about cauliflower. And a tendency to forget the time difference.

Thing the sixth
The Basics have released a single from their new album, The Lucky Country, and it's absolutely PHENOMENAL. I saw them perform it live last year - I think it was about the second or third song they played - and that was the moment where I went "Holy crap, I love this band".


Thing the seventh
Little Miss A is insisting that I have to dress up to go trick or treating with her on Friday night. I'm pretty sure I'm going to let my hair dry by itself and claim I'm Hermione Granger. Because that takes the least possible amount of effort.

Thing the eighth
I really want this desk.
Source
What's new with you guys?

K xx

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

TTT - Characters I Would Want to be for Halloween

It's time to link up with the Broke and the Bookish again!

As I've said time and time again, Australia doesn't really do Halloween. It doesn't get dark until 8pm and everything's green, so it's hard to pretend things are spooky and mysterious and harvest-time-y. Plus, we're really lazy when it comes to costumes of any sort. Essentially, if it requires going out to buy anything in order to make said costume possible? We're on the Nope Train. 

That said, there are some seriously badass characters that I'd dress up as for Halloween. You know, if it took, like, no effort at all... 

1. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter series - J.K. Rowling)
I wouldn't even have to try on the hair front. I could just wash my hair, let it dry by itself, and have Hermione hair without any effort! Plus, she's an absolutely phenomenal character and I adore her. 

2. Natasha Romanova/Romanoff (Marvel Comics - Stan Lee et al)
She's a comic book character, so it totally counts as a valid choice. Although to be honest, I'd probably dress up as on-the-run-from-Hydra Natasha in Captain America: The Winter Soldier because it requires less effort. Like I said, lazy. 

3. Celaena Sardothian (Throne of Glass series - Sarah J. Maas)
I don't think you can get much more badass than a mysterious teenage assassin who also happens to be a long lost self-rescuing princess. 

4. Kate Daniels (Kate Daniels series - Ilona Andrews)
The only way you can get more badass than a mysterious teenage assassin is by looking to Kate Daniels, who kicks butt and takes names and has an attack poodle and FIGHTS WITH A SABRE THAT EATS UNDEAD FLESH. Awesomeness. 

5. Fair Finley (Wilfair series - Alysia Gray Painter)
Fair's not a badass in the same way the other characters are, but she does a lot of discovering-who-she-is stuff over the course of the series and comes out the other side stronger and more confident. And I could use that right about now. 

6. Alexia Tarabotti (Parasol Protectorate series - Gail Carriger)
Alexia is a totally no-nonsense character and I love everything about her. And if it weren't for all the effort it required, a steampunk costume would be totally amazing. 

7. Lirael (Abhorsen trilogy - Garth Nix)
What can I say, she's a librarian. And an Abhorsen. That's a pretty fabulous combination. 

8. Granny Weatherwax (Discworld series - Terry Pratchett)
I hope to be Granny Weatherwax when I'm old, and spend my time teaching everyone that old ladies should not be taken at face value. Dressing as her for Halloween would just be a head start on that process.

9. Cather Avery (Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell)
Admittedly, my fangirly t-shirts wouldn't be Simon Snow themed, but I relate to Cath a lot, and so it seems appropriate (and lazy because it wouldn't take much effort. SCORE!) to dress as her for Halloween. 

10. Admiral Jane Roland (Temeraire series - Naomi Novak)
She's kind of a minor character, and is practically non-existent in the second half of the series but how could you not want to dress up as a woman who commands a heavy-weight dragon in the Napoleonic Wars? Sure, no one would know who I was, but I'd get to wear a hella awesome coat, so who really cares?! 

Which characters would you dress as for Halloween? 

K xx

Monday, October 27, 2014

Dracula - Bram Stoker

Please excuse the terrible image. Penguin have updated
the cover multiple times since this edition. Source.

With Dracula finished, I'm officially a sixth of the way through my Classics Club books. High five, self! It seemed only appropriate that I read this in the lead up to Halloween. Because when you're talking about spooky stories, you really can't look past this one.

I'd read it before, back when I was about 14, and I remember finding it really boring. There were too many narrators and I didn't care about the random chase across Europe and UGH GET TO THE POINT ALREADY WE KNOW HE'S A VAMPIRE WHY IS THIS BOOK SO LONG?

Present Day Kirsti appreciated it a lot more than 14 Year Old Kirsti. I loved the multiple narratives and how they each offered different parts of the story and different viewpoints. Van Helsing and Dr. Seward offer medical opinions while Jonathan Harker's journal fills us in on who Dracula really is. Mina's journal, in contrast, is largely matter-of-fact. While it's initially filled with typical female thoughts from the time - look at the pretty scenery, isn't Lucy lovely, I'm a little worried about my fiance - it rapidly became the most interesting of the narratives for me.

I must admit, I had a full-on headdesk moment over the total inability to realise what was happening to Mina. I mean, you've literally JUST killed Vampire!Lucy and most of you saw Lucy all the way through her illness and TWO OF YOU HAVE MEDICAL DEGREES, but none of you can spot the exact same symptoms in Mina as were happening in Lucy? Okay, morons. Whatever. (Which isn't to say that it wasn't enjoyable to read. It just resulted in me feeling like I had to yell "LOOK BEHIND YOU" at them like they were in a pantomime for a decent chunk of the book...)

So yes. It was well written, I loved the different narration, and the voices were suitably different for each narrator. It was way creepier than I remembered, which was quite exciting because prior to this reread I was a little baffled by why such a big deal was made of the story. And it features all sorts of vampire legends in there from garlic to crucifixes to not being able to cross running water to turning into bats. It's pretty cool stuff.

And, as a fan of Supernatural, there was one moment that made me laugh quite a lot: "I propose that we add Winchesters to our armament. I have a kind of belief in a Winchester when there is any trouble of that sort around." (p. 417)

Have you read Dracula? What did you think?

K xx

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Apparently I get cranky when I'm hungry

Previously: I went to the Tower of London and the parentals arrived, albeit 14 hours later than planned.

The following morning, we were up and out the door bright and early and heading back to Heathrow. We'd arrived at Earl's Court in the dark the previous night, so I was rather surprised to see a blue police box outside the station the following morning. And obviously, this happened more or less immediately:


Just after Mum took my photo, a girl approached us and asked a little sheepishly if we could take her photo too. When I complimented her University of Gallifrey hoodie, she promptly pulled it up to show me her Madman With a Box t-shirt. I strongly suspect she was on some kind of Doctor Who pilgrimage...

The plane ride was uneventful, unless you count the fact that apparently no one in Portugal has hips because the seats were reeeeeeeeally narrow. In a very foolish move, I decided that rather than go to the loo on the plane shortly before landing, I'd wait until we got into the terminal. Except then there turned out to be NO BATHROOMS before passport control and a queue that lasted over an hour. So obviously, I was nearly dying before we got through to baggage claim.

Having landed at about 2.30, we didn't end up getting to the apartment we'd booked on AirBnB until about 4.45, which was fairly painful. We headed to the supermarket to stock up on essentials like beer, wine and chocolate mousse (also more sensible things like breakfast cereal), and then settled in to wait for C to arrive. When he said that his plane had been delayed by an hour or so, we decided to go for drinks at a nearby look out, which had a better than okay view:



Once the sun had set, we decided that we should probably get some dinner. We'd had to walk past some small, local restaurants on our way to the supermarket and figured one of them would do, seeing as we had to be back at the apartment pretty quickly in case C arrived earlier than expected. Except that almost all the restaurants turned out to serve nothing but seafood. Which I don't eat. And what wasn't seafood was pork. Which I also don't eat.

Eventually, we found somewhere that said it served beef and chicken, and sat down inside. Except despite the fact that it was open and there were people sitting inside eating, the kitchen was closed and no one came to serve us. So after about 10 minutes, we left. And we headed to a place just around the corner from our apartment because a) it was full of locals, so clearly the food was decent, and b) it had a menu in English.

Except that apparently the food was only decent if you were after seafood. Mum and I both ordered "Steak, Portuguese style" and were presented with an A5-sized piece of boot leather steak with a slice of ham on the top, and the whole thing was drowned in gravy and served with three boiled potatoes on the side. Mum's turned out to be so tough that she couldn't even cut it, and needless to say we dived into the chocolate mousse when we got back to the apartment. And then when C arrived at stupid o'clock, I made him pasta for dinner and accidentally-on-purpose made too much so that I could have some...

The next day, we headed into the centre of town to do a free walking tour. On the way, we stopped off at Lisbon Cathedral, where I found my past self:

Dead and still reading? Definitely me. Once we'd finished at the Cathedral - which was surprisingly plain - we had time to have gelato for lunch (health food of a nation!) before doing a free walking tour of the city. I'm not sure it was entirely what the parentals had in mind, but it was a good way to get a sense of the city and its history and see some of the sights without having to navigate our way there.



Once the tour finished, we wandered down to the main square by the river and abused the free wifi at Tourist Information before heading to one of the restaurants on the square for drinks. Drinks done, we wandered back in the general direction of our apartment, searching for dinner along the way. And we ended up at a touristy restaurant on the main square that, despite having a million page menu, seemed to no longer sell almost everything on said menu.

So when we passed a pastelaria that was still open at about 8.30pm, we figured that we should get some dessert. And all of this set me back a whopping €3:

And they were delicious.

Next up, we head out of Lisbon in search of palaces and fabulous libraries!

K xx
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