• Jamie Shannon

Evora and my quest to find a room for the night

I found a bench in a quiet square just off the centre where I found time to have a check on the hostel situation. Knowing that the information I had was published in 2008 and thus, probably useful only to historians, I decided to venture to the tourist office and inquire there instead. They handed me a large sheet of paper with the names of many of the overpriced establishments listed on it. Just when I thought I might be cycling on, I turned it over to find the names of three hostels which were more in keeping with my budget.

After having my bicycle photographed by a number of people, I walked to the left of the office to find the first hostel closed until further notice. This prompted me to locate the second one which I did with some ease. If there would have been anyone upstairs in the reception in the ten minutes I stood there, I could have asked for a room. Instead I helped myself to some free wi fi codes on the desk for wasting my time. The third and final hostel I couldn’t even find. I walked and walked but It just didn’t want to be found. Perhaps they had relocated.


With my information now depleted, I headed next to the cheapest hotel on my paper. It cost twenty euro’s per night which isn’t a bad price for a single room and thought I was due a bit of luxury. Alas, there was nobody at their reception either. I suppose It was lunch but maybe they should put up a sign or perhaps even close their doors during this time.


My resolve was being tested severely now. It was exceedingly hot and I was sweaty and dirty and just wanted to dump my stuff so I could blend into the crowds in more unobtrusive way. It was then that I saw an arrow on my little tourist map pointed down a main highway out of the town to a campsite just two km’s away. I had made my mind up.


I remember saying to myself I wouldn’t be using campsites again as they usually charge a sum of money nearly equivalent to a hostel for using your own tent to sleep in. I was however quite beaten by this point and so resigned to my fate. I cycled there with all the enthusiasm of someone about to be told he’s missed his flight and paid the eleven euro’s they were asking. After ‘settling’ in, I spoke to two Dutch people in a camper van next to my tent (they’re everywhere!) and they were in fact charged for their cat; quite unbelievable if you ask me but that’s camping grounds for you.

I spent only the one evening there, saw the sights, enjoyed some tapas and did my usual chores. On the way back to the campsite form lidl later on that day, a van sped so fast past me, so close in fact it brushed the side of my back pannier. I became so livid, I ended up following it. After a week of sharing the road with actual lunatics, my patience for this kind of thing was non existent. I could possibly except this kind of behaviour in less developed countries in the world but heck, I was still in Europe. After cycling for half a kilometre down the road, I saw the van pull off into a residential area before pulling up next to a café. When I arrived, and to my utter astonishment, I found it was a school bus with a few kids still inside. I then let out a tirade of abuse at him until I thought he got my point. Obviously he didn’t understand a word I had said but I felt I had done my bit and so cycled back off quite satisfied with myself.


I packed up my things by the allotted time of 12pm which the managers insisted on but stayed there in their café area in order to charge up all my electronics and use the internet which lasted until about half three. By this time I thought I had gotten my money’s worth and so I was gone.