Just a Sniff of Lisbon

Trip Start Jan 31, 1996
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Portugal  , Estremadura,
Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lisbon is a nice city, I think. The areas of Alfama and Baixa are filled with cobble roadways where tiny trams make their way up and down hills and around tight street corners. There are castles and churches and cafes; not to mention beautiful views of the Tagus River. But back on the boat at the end of the day I was left kind of scratching my head.

The deal with the Solstice folks is that they desperately want their passengers to sign up and go on expensive shore excursions with them. After a week-and-a-half however, the last thing we wanted was to crowd onto a bus and spend even more time with my boat-mates. In a last ditch effort to extract lesser funds Solstice offered Mary, Jim, Ellen and me the safety of a three kilometre ride from the shipping docks to downtown Lisbon. For the four of us that would amount to $48.00 return. We'd also be buying a security blanket which would guarantee that we wouldn't be robbed by unscrupulous cab drivers or have our pockets picked by who-knows-who. We opted to go it alone.

Boat vacationers everywhere - along with those who visit all of the cities of Europe by bus in 15 days-or-less - will try and tell you that these day-trips, or snippets are good; that short visits are a means of helping you determine whether you'll want to return to a place you may find and love. The marketers of these ventures are selling perfumed caca and those who buy into it are lying to themselves, content with the recorded evidence that they've been to this or that particular place. It's like being given a book and asked to read seven or eight random pages, just to get a feel for whether or not you might like the plot.

I left Lisbon in frustration. I didn't eat the food or drink the wine. And because we had to be back on the Solstice well before dark I didn't get a chance to see the ornate, ancient street lights either. When darkness came we were back out to sea. I might just as well have read an overview, then done a fly over.

The return cab ride to downtown Lisbon cost just less than $15.00 and none of our pockets were picked.
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