Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Lisbon, Portugal May 15-18, 2014

The first day in Lisbon was spent gathering up our walking team: trying to get international texting to work, getting oriented to the city & trying to find Michelle & her son, Jeffrey, who received none of the texts & tried to make it to the apartment by public transport, only to wander the neighborhood after dark with all their luggage.  They finally made it as we sat down to a fantastic outdoor dinner of local fish & wine.

The second day was about getting train tickets to Porto & taking tours of the city.  Michelle, Jeffrey & I took a great tour (clearly NOT sponsored by the local Chamber of Commerce) where our very entertaining guide told us of the long history of corrupt politics in Portugal, all the while walking backwards, rolling his own cigarettes & smoking.  There is a LOT of smoking in this country.

Lisbon is quite different from what I had expected; I imagined a formal city with many colonial style buildings, but found a city of many hills & endless staircases, and terrific, funky neighborhoods.  Lots of colorful murals, a cool metro system, and some of the best food I have had in the EU.

City view

Church mural on ceiling

Our amazing guide

On Saturday, Syd arrived from Austin, so she & I had sort of lazy day walking a bit of the city & then having a leisurely lunch on the roof of a classy hotel (e.g. One we could not afford) with a spectacular view of the city.  We chatted for a while with the CEO of the Time Out City Guides (tells you cool things to do in cities around the world) who talked about what a fantastic time he had at SXSW music festival in Austin.  Our last night in Lisbon was spent at a somewhat touristy Fado show, but the ones for the locals start around 11pm, so that was all we could get.  Nonetheless, it was entertaining & a bit of the music culture.

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