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Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Last Days in Lisboa (Lisbon)

After a wonderful evening with the whole family we prepared to start going on our separate journeys. Monica and I were enjoying a relaxing breakfast in the hotel garden when Sarah and Josh popped in to say hello. We were surprised (well perhaps not too surprised) to see them since it was almost 11am and they had declared intentions of an earlier start. They then went off by taxi to Belem for famous pastries and a start on joining the local monastery. They then explored the city, sampled local cherry brandy and had an early dinner. Poor Josh had to get up at 4am to travel home.

David and Anuzya surfaced by noon and together we explored the nearby museum - Museu National de Arte Antiga. Free admission was provided by our hotel. This museum has the largest collection of art in Portugal and seemed to go on forever. They also have a lovely garden restaurant where we sat and enjoyed a light lunch. Then Dave and Anuzya packed, grabbed a cab and flew home.

Monica and I went to Salgardiera for traditional Portuguese food. They didn't have our reservation, but found us a table. Great service, food and wine. Monica had salt cod and I had GOAT. The chef was especially gracious.

After dinner we went up to the hotel's rooftop library where we met two fellow travellers from Atlanta. We ended up talking with them until midnight. The husband was a mathematician and the wife a PhD historian. Too bad Josh wasn't awake to partake.

The next morning we rendez-voued with Sarah at breakfast and spent time chatting until she too had to catch her plane. Monica and I were now alone in Lisboa and a bit sad that all our family were gone.

But we quickly recovered and walked down to catch a local streetcar to Belem. Unfortunately when it arrived it was packed full of tourists and we couldn't board. So we grabbed a taxi which only cost one or two euros more and arrived at the Belem Monastery. The architecture and historical interpretations were fascinating. Afterward we headed for the famous Belem bakery where the delicious custard tarts were first made. We found a seat inside and where then joined by a german couple who asked to sit with us. The custards were very good, but not substantially better than similar ones we had elsewhere.

After coffee and custard we bought two tickets for the "Yellow Bus", a tour vehicle from which we hoped we could hop on and see parts of Lisboa. The tour was disappointing largely since our ticket wouldn't let us transfer to the more interesting downtown line. Lots of waiting around and then not allowed to Board. Not a good business model, nor customer friendly. We suggest avoiding the local tour bus companies here.

Abandoning the tour idea we went to the Barrio Alto Hotel with a rooftop patio. From here we had a great view of the city and found two business school buddies, one from Portugal and another from Japan communing with each other. They were fun to chat with.

For dinner we decided to try a small local community eatery. For the first time we had the option of chicken and took it. It was grilled to perfection and served with salad. Very low key and delicious. It was fun to watch local people enjoying themselves and be the only tourists in the place.

And so end Lisboa. The next morning our egg beater arrived, also known as a Fiat Punta and we headed north to Coimbra with several fun stops along the way.

1 comment:

  1. You are still healthy, good show!!

    We got stuck with Air Transat. They would NOT recognize Ilse and Victor's letters of transit. Apparently, we needed letters of TRANSAT for the airline to take them. Drat it all...and we had new passports with Bergman and Henreid's pix on them. So we are going to have to settle for a request:

    we need Renova toilet paper in different pastel colours. The company only exports six colours, but they are quite a fashion plate with at least a dozen more. The company is Portuguese -- shouldn't be too hard to find some in a drug store. The trick is to check with the website to see which are exported to Canada and then buy some of the others. A dozen rolls ought to do us, many thanks!!!

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