Just sitting at a cute and busy cafe, enjoying my quarantine. Rose helps. My view is incredible. A very ancient castle in front of me, St George’s. Then at one o’clock, the bay? Or Atlantic, cute gay couple then a few people with tattoos and piercings, having a few beers, on to 4 pm.. guy in a New Zealand shirt having a coffee. Behind me the bistro with a colorful cast of characters, 11 pm the single girls and in front of me a couple whose baby hates the dad.. They are so frustrated and drinking Aperol spritz’s. This is fun! Photos to follow.
I tested positive! Wtf! I was having a nice lunch and reading and this popped up. Of course my phone was near dead. I finished my wine and ubered to my hotel. I was a pretty much packed already but grabbed everything and booked a different hotel. I couldn’t fathom staying in a room with no open air. Such a problem. Got to the hotel and realized I left my passport in the safe. I was nervous of going back but I had to. I felt like time was of the essence. The front desk that had been empty the past few days was full of people checking in. Would I be put in Covid handcuffs? I got to my room, ordered another Uber with my passport secure. And I ended up with a window that opened, really nice people at the quaint hotel and a concert outside my room. I could swear it was Sir Elton John, so quarantine or not, not that it has been “mandated” by anyone, I went to see! Not Elton but pretty awesome!! Concert in the park with a wine bar! And seats available to sit on!! I truly have good Karma!!
OMG these are the pastries that everyone raves about! Flakey puff pastry basted with salty butter and warm custard inside. Delicious. Could order with espresso or port. Why not both! Just did my kiosk Covid test. Hope it’s negative or I will be eating these pastries!!
Time to get a Covid test. I had an Abott test from United but not sure if British Air would accept it. I thought of taking it just to be sure I don’t test positive but none of these tests seem accurate anyway. I went to the pharmacy recommended by the hotel. Had to fill out forms of course. Difficult since it asks for Portuguese ID and health card etc. long story short my test is at 3:48 at a kiosk. Having some brunch and reading. Best cheese ever. Made in cheese cloth. I had to ask the server what and how to eat. Garlic prawns too.
After I saw my share, I started looking for the big red bus. Walked up the hill, attempted to get on another bus, the driver said yes it was the right bus then no. Fun times. Walked over to where the taxi dropped me off. Maybe a tuk tuk? I negotiated with a nice man he said he was very embarrassed to tell me that it would be 20 euro to the next place. I agreed, knowing that this trip was adding up! Next stop Monserrate. At the entrance I showed my skip the line ticket, there was no line. I started down the steep hill. Don’t forget I am not feeling 100%, hopefully not covid, but starting to wonder. This palace was started in 1540. It had the look and feel of Hearst Castle in California, complete with tram to the ocean.
Down, down, down means up,up, up. It was so beautiful and worth it.
Made it to the top. Again no big red bus. And then I realized that I never did see a big red bus the whole time I was there! Ugg scammed? So then another tuk tuk can by with a energetic young man. He asked if I wanted a ride? When I asked how much to the train station, he replied free for you or 5 euro. So I hopped in. He was very entertaining. He stopped and picked some native fruit to eat and explained how to brush off the dirt, bite off the end and spit out the stem and eat the rest! He offered for me to drive his “ Ferrari” and then he asked me out for dinner. Instead I allowed a kiss on each cheek. Back to the train, arriving just in time. It was a 30 minute ride but I missed my stop by two stops. At first I thought that I could just run over to the other side of the tracks and go backwards but no signs, no maps, no internet. It’s amazing how much we depend on having access to the Internet. I went to the underground station, still nothing and nobody. Finally saw a sign to the street and taxis. No taxis. I am really tired by now. It was siesta time not only for me but for the whole city. I got my bearings and looked for something open. At a busy intersection I stopped into a dirty cafe, and asked a grumpy man if he had internet and a glass of wine. He finally smiled, poured me a thimble of wine from a dirty unlabeled bottle and put the codes into my phone. Easy! Ordered an Uber, sipped the wine and a brand new Tesla drove me back to the hotel.
Driving back I noticed a restaurant near my hotel that was serving. Went back to the hotel, cleaned up a bit and went back to the restaurant. It was called Wood and had these salmon things. Maybe the best taste in Portugal rice crackers and lots of lemon zest
Time for reading and a long nap! Time to eat again. The thing with eating snacks is that you can eat again. I decided to go across the street to The Garage, the place I tried to go to on the first day here when it was ok to eat inside, but not ok to eat outside, now because it was cold it was ok to eat outside but not inside. Same crappy service not only to me. Also for the ladies next to me. It was really funny to watch how much the service changed for the couples.
Then I realized that it was a chain. Ugg hate those, but the food looked great! I ordered a gin and tonic. Why are these so much better in other countries?
I ordered a couple things, porcini, arugula and prosciutto brusketta, tuna vittale and oven mushrooms. True to my sad single service woes, they brough me the wrong things and same with almost all of the orders around me. Was this a Chinese Dim Sun place, where you just take what looks good?
I love porcini mushrooms! These were fresh and perfect! Why don’t they grow in the USA?
Back to the hotel for a port and photography of the centerpiece. Perfect lighting
As I got off the train, I considered the hop on hop off bus. It was only 20 euro. Could save time and money. I bought it and waiting in a line that I thought was the right one, never really saw the bus. After 10 minutes or maybe two, I went to the taxi line. No one in the first two, maybe number 3 in line. Nope he yelled to the other two to quite talking and pay attention. I asked how much to the Peña Palace. He said 10 euro so off we went. Took about 20 minutes through winding, lush forests with flowers all over. It was windy and chilly. When we arrived to the entrance, it was confusing because there were so many people in line. I had bought the skip the ticket lines so where to go. I asked at the ticket office and she just said, go to the front of the line. I was late for my time slot but she said her colleague might let me in. Sheepishly I walked to about 25th in line. Some angry looks but not as many as I expected. It’s was even more windy and more cold the closer we got to the entrance. Another 30 min waiting. The views were blocked by the clouds swirling around us. Finally inside the palace. It was pretty amazing. People actually lived here in the early 1900’s. It was a steep hill to get to the palace, walk or small tram. No idea if I should have paid for the tram.