We are halfway through day two. Yesterday we arrived late in the morning and took a long nap in the afternoon. Right now we are taking a break. It is 1 pm and it is hot. I think this is probably how our days will go. I will edit these posts later, most likely.
Saturday: A fairly turbulent evening delayed flight from Raleigh Durham airport made our connection from Baltimore to Boston skintight. We have also had the luck that in every single airport we have gotten out at the farthest gate from whatever gate we arrived at. We spent the night in a Ramada in Dorchester, just south of Boston, and that’s all we had time to see. We slept late and spent most of the afternoon in Boston Logan. Once the Aer Lingus check-in opened our experience was streamlined and the flight to Dublin was good. The plane was not full at all so we were able to spread out and have some room around us to sleep. Unlike the US flight, Aer Lingus required masks.
Dublin to Lisbon early yesterday was on a smaller plane and when we disembarked there was a very long walk through the airport, first through a Covid documentation check. Fortunately our negative PCR results came through on Saturday night, so I downloaded them to my phone and showed her those and our vaccination cards. The next stop was the passport check in a huge room and I estimated that about 1200-1500 people were ahead of us in line. Nearly all kept their masks on, fortunately. It was pretty efficient considering, and I thought we might make our appointment with the AirBNB host by 1 pm if I called an Uber. Well, that was a bust because I couldn’t find the pick-up spot and it was cancelled. I was so exhausted and worried about Sandy (he kept needing to find a place to sit down) and couldn’t find help in the huge crowd. So I texted with our hostess, and she finally sent her husband to pick us up. I was embarrassed that I was too tired and panicked to handle the situation, but we were lucky to have such kind hosts. They were both working and they certainly did not have to leave work to check us in early!
Anyway, we have public transit cards now and I was told that Uber is much easier to use everywhere but the airport because they are restricted where they can pick you up.
The Alfama is the oldest neighborhood in Lisbon and I chose this AirBNB because of price, proximity to the train station and flea market (more later!), and reviews on AirBNB. Our place is tiny but charming.
We took a long walk uphill in the late afternoon yesterday. Sandy did okay but had to stop frequently to rest. We were both still tired and had backaches from all the slow lines and airplane sitting, but we weren’t in a hurry this time though, and it was pleasant. It is warm here for this time of year, in the mid-80s. It was a steep climb, as I expected. I had been told to wear shoes with good tread because the cobblestones are slick. I see why now! They are polished from centuries of footsteps.
We found an outdoor spot to try our first pasteis de nata in the Graca neighborhood, the little custard filled tarts that Portugal is famous for. A little ways down was a traditional restaurant that the locals frequent, Restaurante O Piteu da Graca. We got there right at their opening time and got a table. Later customers were turned away. There I had another traditional Portuguese dish, bacalhau, which is salted, formerly dried cod. You would never know that it had been rehydrated. Sandy had fried breaded thin pork slices with plain spaghetti. My plate was prettier, but I liked his food better. The waiter did not speak English and seemed a bit annoyed with us. They only accepted cash, which we expected for some local places.
Heading downhill, we stopped for some fruit and drinks and beer for the fridge. Two pears, two oranges, a tangerine and an apple cost about two dollars for the lot. Two canned teas and two bottles of beer to go cost about six dollars at a tiny streetside bar. Bottled waters at a small shop cost 50 cents each. Later at a restaurant the same bottled waters cost around $2.75 each.
We slept hard and got on the right time schedule quickly. It is very noisy on this street but it is consistently SO noisy that it is like white noise. Sandy said that he dreamed that something was coming in that he thought was a zombie and he asked me to get him his gun. He woke up and it was me snoring. HA! We are not used to sleeping together because of HIS snoring.