Lisbon

Day 2. I arrived at the train station and grabbed a taxi. I didn’t know it then, but I would be having dinner very near to the train station later.

I have many reasons to stay at a place or not or where to stay. I typically want to stay where there are funky restaurants, boutiques and galleries. This started long ago with my favorite ex, Mike. We loved going to San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury district. We stayed at the cute Hotel le Richelieu.

Ever since then I look for places like that. My first night in Porto, I stayed at an Airbnb and it was a small efficiency with windows. It had an interesting shower and kinda stinky pillows but everything else was perfect. I would have stayed another night, but they were booked. The room was also situated in a place that was hard to get to by Uber/taxi. Hilly and cobblestone. So I left. Decided on the train. I tried to Uber to the train station, but internet stopped as I left the apartment, so I walked up the hill and then down a bit. I remembered the taxi driver telling me to go into the train station to see the tiles. I looked at the map and could see the station was close by. I found it, bought a ticket and the train was leaving in 20 minutes. I had a second class seat. I picked. A seat and knew that I had to transfer relatively soon. There were other people with luggage so I watched them. My ticket was pretty vague. When the “people with luggage” got up to leave, I followed. Yup, they were mostly young people, which I still think I am! Lol. I asked a girl with a backpack if she was going to Lisbon. Yes she was and she and her boyfriend weren’t sure where the platform was either. He went on ahead and I found out she lived very close to our friends in northern Germany. Small world, but it got smaller…

Train station in Porto

I stood at the platform and saw a worker point someone towards the end of the platform, indicating second class. My new German friend asked if I had a seat, I said, yes not really knowing if I did. Again vague ticket. Later I realized my car and seat was on the ticket. I moved back toward the end. The train arrived, looked for car numbers, there were none. I boarded, because there were a lot of people with a lot of luggage. There were a couple of young girls near me and they couldn’t figure it out either. So I sat with them for a minute, until we were told that we were in the wrong seats. They were from San Diego! I moved back further, they were actually in first class! I tried to sit again, wrong seat. Finally, I found the right seat, so I thought. The train departed and I was happy. It was three hour trip.

Well that was down the rabbit hole. The whole reason for the diversion was explaining why and how I pick places to stay. So as I was contemplating that yesterday, I thought that I would add to my must haves, was a place with a pool, it’s going to be hot, a bar/ restaurant so I can be more social. I am single! And maybe I am getting lazy, but staying in one place sounded attractive. So here I am in a 5 star hotel, Iberostar Selection hotel. It’s very nice. But, a little stuffy.

It was about three and I needed some food. A beautiful day so I wanted to be outside. First place was open but not outside. Next place was open but had to order inside and they would bring it outside and they could only serve pizza. I remembered the siesta time in these areas. The very sweet server sent me outside and my amazing pizza arrived soon.

Great food and Aperol Spriz! After a bit, I wasn’t feeling well, dizzy, tunnel vision, so I paid my bill and went back to the hotel. Jet lag? Not sure. Took a two hour nap and felt better.

Love this modern structure on top of the old one. Look for another picture coming up with some detail of the lower building.

Cross cultural moment

I am on the train from Porto to Lisbon and having a cross cultural moment where two people from different cultures laugh together.

I love when this happens! Half way through my trip on the train, a man basically says that I am in his seat. He shows me his ticket, I show him mine. I am at the window and in his seat. I attempt to change places and he’s say no stay there, then he takes my ticket and puts it into his pocket. I try to tel him that it’s my ticket and then I just let it go. A few minutes later he pulls the ticket out and says that it’s my ticket. We both laugh!

Another CCM was in Luang Pagam in Lao. I was in a taxi and a man walks in front of the taxi in only a loin cloth carrying a speak. The driver and I both cracked up. The man looked pretty stupid.

Today Porto to Lisbon

I woke up at 3 AM, read for a bit and back to sleep. It was a super foggy, chilly morning. Now the clouds are burning off.

This city is very hilly and pretty much all cobblestone so pulling a roller bag is out of the question. Luckily I travel light. Just a backpack and small roller bag that I can carry when needed. A few more espressos and I will attempt to call an Uber to get to the train station. The train to Lisbon is about three hours.

Someone asked if I had some port yesterday, yes I did and it was perfect. I wanted to buy a bottle but not for sale.

I am reading a great book today, titled, “The Last Rose in Shanghai.” A fascinating historical fiction about Jewish refugees in Shanghai. Wow not much is written about this time in WW2. It makes me think of the atrocities in Ukraine. I emailed a woman I met through a purchase of a handmade shawl that I bought last October. She is living in this hell. I have sent her a little money, that she actually received. I have promised to visit her when I can. She and her husband are staying in their apartment and fighting back. She is on the northeastern border. Her children are safely somewhere else. What a life I have! Makes me feel very grateful.

8 PM in Porto

It’s unusual that I am at a loss as to what to do. I have a little stuffy nose, and I never get sick! My joints hurt and I am hungry! I tried to stay another night in this cute room but they are fully booked. Thinking of a tour to Duoro wine country, but leaning towards going directly to Lisbon in the morning.

I ventured out of my apartment. Lots of steps down! Got to the bottom. The funicular is broken. I will think about that later.

The grey is the shadow of the Convent. I am more by the T in
Taberna

Beautiful views of the bridges over the river.

Convent

Porto Escondido for dinner. Shredded cod with onions cheese olives prosciutto and wine and bread! Well, yes some wine!

London

Whenever I hear the word London, it reminds me of a Christmas years ago. I like giving experiences rather than gifts so I wrote on a piece of paper, “Lamb’s.”It was a gift to my Mom and it’s a fantastic live theater in Coronado. She read it as London! So we did both, attended Lambs and we went to London. It just so happened that my sweet niece, Jennifer, was going to the London School of Economics. So we had fun, going to the theater, eating great food, meeting friends in Bath and checking out where Harry Potter got on the train and finding the Ice Bar.

I digress…. I arrived somewhat rested. I had three seats. I could not pre check in. They needed to see my passport and since my passport does not have my middle names, ( special thanks to some government official for being lazy.) so I could see open seats but couldn’t book them. The line at the airport was easy and the checked in to one flight, not the other ( a problem to come later). Exit row in the bulkhead. Not a fan of the bulkhead, I unilaterally moved to the first row of three seats. I have learned that if you ask, they say wait until the Plane is in flight. So I do it when you can and ask forgiveness later. Got the seats, plane took off watched Little Fires Everywhere while eating a little charcuterie that I brought. A little wine and Ambien and I had a 6 hour nap. Easy flight.

Arriving in London should be easy, but it is a huge airport with so many terminals and gates. I never did go though passport control or customs. So I didn’t have the boarding pass for the next leg. Signage was not great. Bus to the terminal, long lines. Very strict about liquids in a one quart zip lock. Last person on the plan and arriving in Porto now. I should have a taxi driver with my name and he should take me to the hotel I booked for tonight.

I just finished magazines and next is a great book that I am loving, “Half the Sky.” By Nicolas Kristin and Sheryl Wu Dunn. I have been reading it for a few months. It’s about female poverty across the globe and what is being done with it. I few years ago I founded a project that supplied Ethiopian women with sanitary, washable, reusable napkins. It is so inspiring.

Ready to board

Arrived early, just in case. So far no masks, no Covid requirements at all. No one asked to see my CDC piece of paper. The airport is surprisingly empty. Not one person in Pre-TSA line and very few in the regular line. I walked from one end of the terminal to the other. No one in restaurants either. And most were understaffed anyway or they had cut their menus way back. No calamari at Prado. Interesting. I will get to London Heathrow mid day tomorrow. I ended up with a window in the emergency row! I brought some left over charcuterie food for dinner. I remember years ago bringing wine on board, with cheeses and meat and crackers and a little table cloth and making everyone around us jealous. Those were the days! Manana….

Work today, Portugal tonight!

After a full day at work, I will take the red eye to London Heathrow, and then onto Porto. British Airways cancelled the connection to Lisbon for no known reason. The thing with travel today is that you need to be flexible and calm. It’s crazy out there in the travel world. I booked a flight to Porto instead. My confirmation still says I have the flight to Lisbon, even though they refunded me. And then there is the big question of Covid test. UK says not needed, British Airways wants the documents uploaded. The EU might not accept the USA CDC paper document, but non Non-EU can’t get the digital version. Who knows!