Discovering Portugal

Trip Start May 14, 2007
Trip End May 30, 2007

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Bom Dia to all of you.  First off there are no pictures because stupid me forgot the USB cable to my camera.  When we get to Spain I will find an intenet cafe that has a card reader and get some pictures out to you.  Steve and Nikkie didn`t sleep at all on the flight over due to a short, fat man in the aisle seat who was hogging all the space.  Nikkie was next to him and was so uncomfortable that she kept fidgeting which then kept Steve awake.  I`m glad we got the passes to the VIP lounge in Heathrow because it was quiet and comfortable.  Steve was able to nap a little.  We got through customs fairly quickly in Lisbon, grabbed a taxi and took off for our hotel.  We checked in Tuesday night around 7:30 pm.  What a grand place!.  And what service!.  It used to be a palace and believe me they treat you like royalty.  How many of you have stayed at a hotel that puts rose petals in the toilet.  Uh huh ~I thought so ~none of you.  We had reservations for dinner and a Fado show the evening we arrived.  Steve wasn`t feeling well so he stayed back at the hotel.  Randy, Nikki, and I took a taxi to the restaurant.  Boy are the streets narrow ~but more of that later.  The Fado show was interesting. Three men played guitars while someone sang.  Each person sang 3 songs and then they would take a break.  We didn`t understand a word they were saying but you could tell it was passionate.  Nikki and I had steaks with mushroom sauce.  The steaks were a little tuff but the sauce was divine.  Randy had a kebob that included pork, beef, and sausage. His dinner came with broccoli and green beans.  All the dinners came with french fries. In fact the only form of potato we have seen is french fries. 

Wednesday we did a lot of sight seeing in Lisboa (it`s not called Lisbon here) and a lot of hill climbing.  This whole city is hilly.  We`re getting a work out.  We went to the top of one hill to the Castelo do Sao Jorge.  We climbed up in the turrets and got some spectacular pictures of the city.  This country is BEAUTIFUL.  We stopped at a cafe and ordered hamburgers off of the menu.  I asked if they had cheese and the waiter nodded and said they did.  First communication problem of the trip ~we didn`t get cheese but we got a fried egg on top of the burger.  No bun, but lots of french fries.  And I don`t know what the meat was but we all agreed it wasn`t hamburger.  I asked the waiter "Bahn yoo?"   He said, "bathroom?"  I said "yes, yes but how do you say it?"  He replied, "baaaaath roooooom"
This is why traveling is so much fun.

Dinner was much better than lunch.  I had read about an area that had 3 restaurants with great roasted chicken.  We picked one and sat outside to enjoy the evening.  We split 2 chickens, and yes you guessed it ~french fries.  The chicken was awesome and made up for the questionable meat at lunch.  Earlier I spoke about the narrow streets.  You wonder how 2 cars can fit down them but they do.  Our taxi ride back to the hotel was quite the experience.  Careening around corners, dodging parked cars, up and down hills.  Whew, what a ride.

Sorry for the long report but there is so much to tell you.

Yesterday we woke Steve and Nikki up in the morning to have breakfast.  When they came down to the restaurant they said they didn`t think Randy and I ever sleep.  We told the youngsters they can`t hang with the big dogs.  We just relaxed in the morning because we had a driver picking us up at 2:00 to drive us over to a charming, little town called Sintra.  There we explored an uninhabited castle and met a couple from Arcadia, if you can believe that!  From Sintra we went to Cabo da Roca which is the the furthest western point in mainland Europe.  We had a light dinner at a restaurant there and watched the sun set on Europe.  Steve ran down to the beach and put his toe in the Atlantic.  Our driver was in the Special Forces and is a body guard and driver for the government.  We called him Agent 008.  He was a driver for the elder President Bush a few weeks ago.  Quite a nice man and very informative.

Every evening we have enjoyed the pleasant weather by sitting on our balcony at night, having drinks and discussing the day`s adventures.  We were prepared for some cold evenings but they have been very warm and pleasant.  Today it is supposed to be  90 degrees.  We are all in shorts.  Anyway,  every evening I call for ice for our drinks.  I try to say hello and order in Portuguese.  They laugh with me.  Last night she told me I was getting better every day.  Later that evening the phone rang and I answered "Boa Noite" (good evening).  The woman started rattling off in Portuguese and I laughed and said I don`t speak Portuguese but my Boa Noite must be pretty good.  She said yes, I had convinced her I could speak the language.  Hello and thank you are the 2 best phrases anyone can learn to speak when you travel to a foreign country. 

Well today we are off for our last day of sightseeing in Lisboa.  Our flight to Madrid leaves at 8:30 tonight.  We will eat a late lunch here so we can eat a late dinner when we arrive in Madrid.  Nikki really wants some pasta so we will be in search of that today. 

Hopefully I will have pictures for you soon.  Until then Obrigada for understanding and Boa Tarde. 

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