Those of you who know me know that I’m a massive Eurovision fan. I’ve loved the contest ever since Loreen took out the win in 2012 with Euphoria – a song you’ll know even if you’re still asking yourself ‘what is a Eurovision?’.
What is Eurovision?
Eurovision, or, as it’s officially known: ‘The Eurovision Song Contest’ was started in 1956, essentially as a way for European nations to fight it out through song, not war. Which, after a tumultuous (to say the least) first half a century for the continent, was probably a good idea. Since then, we’ve been treated to musical acts and performances featuring wind machines, costume changes, hydraulic walls and giant hamster wheels. It’s also launched the careers of or featured many household names including Celine Dion, ABBA, Cascada, Blue (the boy band), Conchita, Loreen, Jessica Mauboy and Guy Sebastian. It’s also famous for being kinda weird, with one of the weirdest (and my personal favourite) entries being Ukraine in 2007:
My Eurovision (so far).
I was fortunate enough to score tickets to the Grande Finale of this year’s contest in Lisbon, Portugal. A city that holds a special place in my heart (and one that I’m going to be spending quite a lot of time in this year… but that’s for a different post).
Our flights got changed in the week running up to when we were meant to be leaving Perth. Which kind of threw a spanner in the works because we’d only booked one portion of our trip with an agent, so our Qatar flights from PER-MAD were reshuffled nicely, but our connecting EasyJet flight in Madrid was leaving us with a 30 minute window… Which is nowhere near enough to go through immigration, collect your baggage, change terminals and go through security again. So we admitted defeat and just rebooked onto a TAP Air Portugal flight for 10pm that night… a delightful 8 hour wait in Madrid Barajas Airport.
But anyway, fast-forward to our descent into Madrid… We’re running about an hour ahead of schedule. I look to my friend Mitchell, he has a sparkle in his eye and I know that we’re thinking the same thing. We can make the EasyJet flight and save ourselves 8 hours… if we’re lucky.
As soon as the cabin doors opened, the race was on. Through immigration, to the bag collection, then to find our way to Terminal 1. We manage to run onto the inter-terminal bus just in time. When I say just in time, I mean literally just in time, as in, I was nearly on the outside of the bus holding a jacket and backpack with Mitch inside the bus with my bags. But if a day is coming when I am going to be separated from my luggage today was not that day. The bus shoots off on what feels like a cross-country road trip, stopping at Terminal 3… Terminal 2… Long Term Parking and, with 6 minutes left on the clock before checkin closes, Terminal 1. We sprint across the airport – my documents flying out of my jacket pocket across the floor (without me noticing… Shout out to Mitch for stopping me from losing everything <3). But get to the checkin desk with 4 minutes left, the checkin agent looks at us, looks at his watch, looks back to us, sighs and holds out his hand "pasaportes por favour". He reminded me very much of this guy:
Followed by a rush through security, we reach the gate just as the last people are boarding and get on the plane. After getting into our seats and sitting in the same spot for about 10 minutes, the captain gets on the PA and informs us there is an hour and half delay due to poor weather around Madrid Airport, but that we’ll be staying on the plane so we can leave ASAP. The moan from the seated passengers was definitely not discrete. On the bright side though, the captain decided to let everyone have a tour around the cockpit. Which, to be honest, kinda made the whole delay worth it.
So fast forward about 40 minutes and an air hostess gets on the PA “Ladies and gentlemen, as your delay will now extend past two hours -” *the intake of breath from the cabin was deafening… and I swear to God, one woman screamed as though someone had taken her first-born* “- I mean, the delay from your original arrival is now two hours, not an extra two hours -” *cabin exhales* “-You are all entitled to compensation… A compensation that will consist of… one beverage.” *cabin laughs at the pathetic compensation* “But as the total flight time is only 55 minutes, we will be unable to serve all of you, thanks for understanding.”. Now, I got my free compensatory drink, so I was set, feel a bit sorry for the people to the back of the plane who missed out though (lol).
Fast-forwarding to our arrival in Lisbon, and we get an Uber driver from the airport who was an actual maniac, he was driving up the wrong side of the road to try overtake people and didn’t stop at red lights… or pedestrian crossings. That said, he got us to our apartment near Largo de Carmo very quickly.
After that, we took about an hour getting settled into the apartment… Which is stunning. Check out the view:
Then walked down to the Eurovision village at Terreiro do Paço to watch the first semi-final and wrapped up a massive 38 hour journey by 11pm.
Amazingly, woke up, no jet-lag. So, all in-all, an eventful but successful journey so far.
And go Jess!