11.01.2016 59 °F
Day 1 -. End of
Lots of impressions & mixed emotions...I've read Night Train to Lisbon several x's & Raimund doesn't seem to be as muddled as I feel right now. Of course Raimund didn't change 5 time zones in 8 hours...so maybe I should cut myself some slack.
I'm not sure what I expect of Lisbon. I know it’s a big, modern city, destroyed by an earthquake, tsunami & fire storm over a 48+ hour period in 1755. I assumed the rebuild was in the French Style - wide blvds, tree-lined streets; much like I saw in Turino. I assumed correct.
I knew the city is built on 7 hills...that's where visualization failed me. Lisbon's green, lush & lovely on what seems to me dozens & dozens of small hills. So far walking is either up or down but no straight across.
Leaving the airport, entering the city...nothing unusual...high rises, traffic jams (drivers don't seem as aggressive as in Italy) and then appears this enormous bridge...maybe a train bridge? No, it's the Aqueduto das Aguas livres. I read about it...come on; it's a aquaduct, the central California valley is full of them! Right! This in No Way has any resemblance to the latter. At the time it was built - tallest stone structure in the world.
Our taxi driver's frustrated by the traffic. He speaks good english & points out local sights as we either whiz by or sit in traffic. 40 mins (20€) we arrive at our B&B. Our B&B is lovely, in the embassy district...area appears residential. Our room is enormous & tiny bathroom. From the balcony the Tagus estuary is visible. Now if we could just figure out how to make the darn heater work! Not having much luck & our hostess left for the evening.
After a brief stop at the B&B, we go exploring. There are trams, buses, cable cars. Sidewalks are cobbles, so paying attention. Philip's on the hunt for Rose Vino Verde - found at a small market near the B&B. After about 15 mins turn the corner & there is the Basilica Esterla. We peeked in - service going on - we'll return later. Across the street was a gem – large public garden.
By now we're hungry & head to a recommended eatery - closed! This is where jet lag, hunger, unfamiliar surroundings turn into panic. Where to go, can't manage another hill, I'll faint if I don't eat...blah, blah, blah.
I remember walking by a place, looked like they were setting up - off we go. 1st place has no english translation: 2nd place does. We go to the 2nd. No one understood english our feeble attempts to point to the english didn't help clarify our order. Finally, a young woman, seated next to us, offers help. As she was leaving, she told us "the old people don't speak english; tho they're fluent in french." Philip's certain his 6th grade french won't rescue us. We both overcompensate when we can't speak the language - Chris, Antje & Kevin are still laughing about the massive amounts of food we once ordered because we didn't understand what was being said; just kept nodding our heads like a couple of bobble head dolls.
Just saying - today's meal hit my short list of the Most Awful Meal Ever! Having been the center of so much courteous attention; felt compelled to eat it ... at least I moved it around the plate, sort of mooshed it, then covered it with bread & potatoes. I saw others eating the same meal; seemingly liking it.
Then it was back to our room to crash, enjoy wine, laugh about our foodie adventure & try to stay awake.
Tomorrow we're going on a Hop on/Hop off bus - we need to get our bearings