Hello Lisbon!

International flights are so nice.  Complimentary Peach Bellinis to welcome us aboard!  Too bad they don’t qualify as juice for the crying babies on board.  I’m sure their mothers could have downed a few to help them cope.

We have hit the road, or should I say the skies, and left a chilly Oregon for the hopefully warmer climates of Portugal and Spain. The plan is nine days in Portugal (primarily Lisbon) and then a nine day cruise up the western coast of Spain, ending in Barcelona.

Currently, there are thousands of people having demonstrations in Barcelona. I just watched a news report showing a group of people literally throwing themselves upon a grown tree on a street, rocking it back and forth until it was uprooted. I hope it is a bit more peaceful by the time we reach there!

We arrived yesterday afternoon, exhausted from a 16 hour (two flights) travel time. Generally we have been pretty lucky, but we had the joy of being seated near screaming toddlers for both legs of the journey. I felt sorry for both mothers and children, and knew that short of pouring the complimentary wine into their bottles, there wasn’t much that could be done.

George doesn’t like to move from his seat, and it has to be a national bladder emergency to budge him. It’s difficult for him to get up and out of the seat. His old bones won’t cooperate. I’m always worried he will develop a blood clot, and I try to get him to do isometric exercises while we are flying. I’m sure our neighbors were concerned to hear me sternly telling him to “Clench your buttocks George! Now hold and squeeze…..”

Lisbon has a great subway system, and we took the Metro from the airport to our hotel in the center of Lisbon’s historic area. I excitedly explained all the money we were saving as we hauled our luggage through an unknown airport without a clue where the subway station was to be found. George kept muttering “Or we could take a taxi” under his breath, but obligingly limped along behind me. He has chronic gout and his poor feet constantly hurt. Highly fortified with steroids and pain killers, he is trying his best.

Despite the fact I overpacked and we have way too many bags, we made it to the metro stop outside our hotel. Literally, it is less than a hundred feet to the hotel. So why can’t we find it? We walk up the block, suitcases clumping over the cobblestones, and then back down the block. Cross the street and try that side. George is ready keel over, but was incredibly calm about it all. You have to love the anger repressive quality of pain killers. I haul out Google Maps and it walks us two blocks in the wrong direction and then the little blue ball suddenly does a massive readjustment. No drugs in my bloodstream, I was ready to scream. There a lot of old buildings built in the 18th century that all look alike, and none have the name of our hotel, or have an address posted on them.

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The mosaic sidewalks are beautiful, but challenging to drag multiple suitcases over. Especially when it is repeatedly over the same block

There is a wonderful old obelisk in a small cobblestone covered park in the middle of the road. Standing in the center, with a 360 degree view, I finally found our hotel. Totally covered in mesh, they are cleaning the facade. I was so busy looking at the buildings that I didn’t notice the one covered. Relieved, George threw himself on a couch in the lobby while I checked us in.

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Our mesh covered hotel. No wonder we couldn’t find it!

Lisbon was totally destroyed in a massive earthquake in 1755. The entire city was rebuilt. Including our hotel. Our room is on the ninth floor, and I am sincerely hoping there isn’t any seismic activity happening in the next week.

We have a small apartment set of rooms with a kitchen and wonderfully deep bathtub. Good thing the tub is so nice, or I might have done a terribly stereotypical American gaffé and tried to soak my aching feet in the bidet. It conveniently faces the toilet, and it would be easy to stick feet, rather than another part of the body into it.

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Unfortunately, the city views from our room are obstructed by the scaffolding and mesh.  We even have a small balcony with table and chairs.  Perhaps there will be handsome, muscular workmen that will enhance the view!

George wasn’t moving any further, so I hit the streets to find some dinner. There are tons of eateries everywhere. I’ve been doing a Portuguese language self study course, and screwed up my nerve to use my food ordering abilities. Ha! Let’s just say the young man was extremely kind, and with lots of hand gestures and eye rolling, I came back with cod baked with spinach and a cornmeal crust, curry soup and Libon’s famous custard pastries for dessert. It’s been a long day and I’m not counting calories. We almost lost it when I tried to say in Portuguese that I only needed teabags and not the cups of hot water. I swear I said “Eu não preciso agúa” (I do not need water). But from the horrified look he gave me, I probably said I had just peed on his floor.

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This is my kind of fast food. Take out fresh baked cod, curry squash soup and a delicious bite sized pastel de nata, the famous Lisbon custard tart. The entire meal was less than eight dollars!

We turned in early, and now I am wide awake at 4:30 a.m. I think we will try to take an easy day tomorrow and get used to the time zone and shake out the jet lag. Lisbon is famous for its pastries, and I’ve already staked out a good place to try one. I’m ready now, but will have to wait for them to open!

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The obelisk outside our hotel. It commemorates the independence of Portugal. It is also a great place to spot missing hotels.

Author: Traveling Grandma

As an aging mother of six and grandma to seven, travel was always a dream. Diapers, work and an eccentric high-maintenance husband just seemed to keep those trips a distant desire. Eventually, however, the kids potty trained, lived through the teenage angst years and left the nest to start their own families. Work still gets in the way for my husband, but it does help pay for the trips! Can't do much about the eccentric, high-maintenance husband; after 36 years I have reconciled that he will never pick up his underwear. He's my partner for life, travel companion and can always be counted on to do something totally odd. It makes for a good story, and besides - without his major financial contribution, we would sitting at home year after year, watching yet another rerun of NCIS. Due to a major health scare, I recently retired - and love retirement! I have always LOVED to cook. My love of food, and birthing those babies, led to an 85 pound weight gain. After joining a weight loss program, I shed the weight, went to work for them and found a new career. For me, it was a dream job. How many people can say they loved their job? I got to work together with people and help them live a healthy lifestyle, and lose weight. And it changed the way I cook! Instead of coating foods with fat and/or sugar, I've learned to bring out the real flavor in foods and keep them healthy. It's a joy to travel the world and explore new foods. I'm always on the lookout for different foods and willing to try almost anything. George, my husband, is always aghast at my choices. He's looking for a McDonald's while I'm trying to find the best local eatery. Checking out grocery stores and food forums in different countries is endless fun. Bringing back cooking ingredients keeps the memories alive every time they are used in a recipe back home. Paprika from Budapest, Sumac from Turkey, dried squid from Japan....what a lucky person I am to experience it all. Life is interesting everywhere, and there is always something humorous to be found, even in my own backyard of Mt Hood, Oregon. I love to journal and people have been telling me for years to become a writer. As Medicare is now a prominent part of my life, I figured this was as good a time as any. If I don't do it now, I'll be writing stories about my neighbors in the nursing home. A big trip will probably be whacking along in my walker to the day room to watch the Travel Channel. I take heart that Colonel Sanders started his finger lickin' fortune late in life because he wasn't afraid to try something new. So here I go!

5 thoughts on “Hello Lisbon!”

    1. Thanks so much! It is great to be finally feeling better. I miss all of you guys and still feel badly that illness prevented me from saying goodbye. It is so exciting to be in Lisbon; this is truly a spectacular place. And affordable! Hope we run into each other one of these days!

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    1. Hi Phyllis! It is always nice to hear from you! I sure miss you. Hope all is well and hope you enjoy hearing about Lisbon. This is rapidly becoming one of my favorite places. Food is AMAZING! But the pastries are sorely testing me….

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  1. I am glad you had a safe but long flight. Pick up head phones with a noise canceling button to block out kids on planes or loud talking people. Enjoy your first day .
    Cheryl

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