Lisbon (Portugal not North Dakota!)

Trip Start Jun 25, 2006
Trip End Aug 01, 2007

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Flag of Portugal  ,
Monday, July 17, 2006

He Said:
We arrived in Lisbon around noon after an uneventful (but long) flight via Frankfurt, Germany. Since we couldn't check into our room until late afternoon, spent our time touring the town. It was in the mid-90's so we worked up a sweat by just sitting still. Lisbon is a really large, sprawled out, and modern city. Strange though how much of it seemed almost charmingly dilapidated, actually its architecture reminded me a lot of Buenos Aires. It has a rich and long history, but due to a devastating earthquake in 1755 there is not a huge amount of old "attractions" to visit. Not to say there is nothing to see though. Unlike most cities, the public bus system here is amazingly well organized and easy to use. We totally took advantage of it. In the course of only a few hours, we visited many of the big sites in the city: the Rossio Square, the megalithic Monument to the Discoveries, the impressive Monestario dos Jeronimos, and the Belem Tower. Of course one of the highlights was eating Portuguese egg custard tartlets at hundred-year-old café Pasteis el Belem. Not all our meals were traditional cuisine though; since it was Sunday and many stores and restaurants in the neighborhood we were staying in were closed we finished the day off with dinner at Pizza Hut.

I realize most people don't follow foreign currency market fluctuations too closely, but I'm sure many of you have heard about the steady decline in Dollar/Euro exchange rate. Europe has gotten really expensive! Even a simple Diet Coke from a vending machine costs around $2.50. Hopefully this should help explain why we are only spending seven nights in Europe. A few more days in Portugal, then quickly through Spain to get to Morocco.

She Said:
A few things Todd left out... I unexpectedly cried for the first 15 minutes of the flight. Maybe it was because I had to say goodbye to family, friends, and dog. Or perhaps it was the realization that I no longer had a cell phone or a hair dryer, or maybe the fact that we actually are going on a trip for a year... I guess it all hit me at the same time... nothing like procrastination.

Anyway, there was no a/c or fan in the hotel in Lisbon! I thought we were supposed to ease into this whole budget travel thing. And it was at least 90 degrees in the middle of the night! I did have some pretty creative dreams though (that the side of the hotel wall really turns into a waterfall with the push of a button, that the air conditioner repair man was on his way, and several interesting ideas on how to rig the tiny battery operated handheld fan that my friend Kristen gave me before I left). Suffice it to say we have now agreed on the essentials - water (drinking and showering), food, a safe place to sleep, and most definitely air conditioning if it is greater that 70 degrees outside. Other than that, Ambien is winning the sleeping pill race versus Tylenol PM 2 to 1.

Just a note to those who have emailed us expressing concern for our routing through the Middle East - as of now, we have eliminated Lebanon from our itinerary and are paying close attention to the situation in surrounding countries. We will not be in the area until about a month from now and a lot can happen in that time. If the situation does not improve we will skip Syria and purchase a flight from Turkey to Jordan.
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