Before the crack of dawn

Iberian Voyagers adventures in Portugal

It was an early start, very early in fact, it was before sunrise. A friend and myself were getting ourselves ready and dressed to go out. We had originally planned to leave with a number of us, but as expected it was just the two of us in the room that were any form of alive. Once we made it down the unlit stairs of the hostel and into the foyer I noticed that two other boys from our trip, waiting to join us. The four of us piled into a taxi and said ‘take us to Jesus’ well I’m fairly sure that’s what my poor Portuguese translated to.

Driving through Portugal is always an experience, so I discovered on a previous visit, but driving in Lisbon is something more. Driving on the Golden Gate Bridge (25th of April bridge) lookalike we watched as the odometer read over 140kph and my heart started beating a little bit faster, with every turn we took I could have sworn we were moving further and further away from our desired destination. However after what seemed like eternity, we made it safe and almost sound to the bottom of the Cristo Rei, Lisbon (otherwise known as Christ the it, it’s pretty awesome).

We soon realised that you couldn’t actually get up to the top of the fixture or very close to it until a few hours later when it opened. So knowing that the sun would start to rise soon we made our way down a dirt road in the hope that it would lead us somewhere grand, which amazingly it did. After a few curves and bends we ended up in the old structures of a building that I’m sure was something nice at one point, but now looked like a run down open roofed haunted house. It was on the side of the ocean with cliff  and jaw dropping views, graffiti stricken walls with interesting pieces of artworks painted all over them, the floor boards had all caved in, who knows where it could have taken us if they weren’t.

On the way out of this building was arch way covered in vines of flowers, this is where we were able to look over the ocean, and watch the sun rise over beautiful Lisbon. The most vivid of colours surrounded us in every direction, the sun hit us like fire that was so vibrant and golden, it was tinted with a misty pink haze, all deeply hidden within the clouds, the red from the bridge, the deep dark crystallising ocean crashed beneath us. I had never seen such an array of colours all in one place, it was by far one of the most magical sunrises I’ve ever seen.

After gazing for a while we realised how ravenous we were so headed back up the hill we had just come down. It now seemed a lot harder to walk back up with the sun beating down on our backs, but I was day dreaming of Portuguese tarts and the trek seemed a lot less treacherous after that. We found a little café in a town not too far away, warm and fresh bakery items straight out of the oven. I was drooling at the sight of them all, everyone bounced right back after our delicious breakfast. A well deserved coffee and tart were all I needed to find the motivation to climb the hills backs to Cristo Rei (which had now opened). We ventured all the way to the top, quite high up in fact and looked down on the city of Lisbon as if we were God. A truly blessing moment adding to my collection of memories of amazing places with incredible people.

Lisbon, you did me proud. Make the most of every sunrise you can catch across the globe, each one is different.

The 25th of April Bridge
cristo rei
Cristo Rei – Lisbon
Graffiti – Lisbon
Waiting for the sun to rise



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