So Lisbon was an adventure from the beginning. I was hesitant to even go, since I was getting more busy by the day, but leaving work in Friday afternoon and returning on Sunday night seemed like a good plan. The flight and everything was smooth, as was finding the metro.
Problems arose when my phone wouldn’t work. I’m still not sure why, but my French phone cannot make calls or send texts from outside the country. I can receive them fine. Well, I was going to call Lourenço when I got close, and he could meet me at the metro stop. No go. I found some pay phones. The first was broken, the second took my money but Lourenço couldn’t hear me. The last didn’t even have a receiver! I’m not in Paris anymore! There was a taxi stand, so I started asking if I could borrow, or even pay to use one of their phones. You won’t believe this, but the first 6 drivers in a row were “out of minutes.” Imagine that, a guy who lives by the phone cannot make a call. Well, you can imagine they were a little dishonest with me.
Finally I found one who was willing to let me use his phone. I gave him €2. We got directions to Lourenço’s, but he wouldn’t take me because he was not in the front of the cab line! Ok, I’ll ask him in front. This time the excuse was that the address was too close. Now I’m more than an hour late, have no idea where I’m going, and not even a cab will show me! With no sense of direction, a phone that doesn’t work, in the dark – I start walking. Thankfully an empty cab appreciated my hail, and he got me to L’s. Phew!
The reunion was a good one, and L showed me up to his house where I met his beautiful wife, Juliane. Then he showed me around this 400 year old palace that he is inheriting. He has the top floor of 4, but it’s big enough for three huge apartments. The one he chose is the size of my house in Texas. Not to mention how cool it is. I took some pictures the next day. Notice the rain 🙁
And the view from the windows was also awesome. (first three photos from a later day)
I want to mention that I was leaving a cold and very rainy Paris. Lisbon is not known as a rainy city, in fact they only get a dozen or so days of rain per year. That was a bummer, but I was still happy to be in a warm place with friends. The last photo above gives an indication of what nice weather was for the majority of my trip.
I was happily surprised when L told me that he had guests in one of the other apartments and that I might know them. Of course I did, it was Trent and Lori Hare from USGS in Flagstaff! Trent was as surprised to see me as I was him. What a strange encounter, but in reality not so. Lourenço had invited Trent to work with him for a week in helping get their program of analyzing Mars photos running. They were productive, and since it was now weekend, we could have a good time. The first night was steak at an Argentine restaurant and some wine. Not bad 🙂 Later L took us to his favorite bar, one with a long line to get in, but we didn’t have to wait. At this point we began to realize that L should run for Mayor of Lisbon, he knows basically everyone in the town. Even with the back stage passes, so to speak, we were all tired and didn’t make a late night of it.
The next day L had to work. This was disappointing since I had come to see him, but Trent and Lori wanted to do some sight seeing, so we went out on a walking adventure. Of course it rained the entire time, but that didn’t dampen our spirits. Here they are, and a few more of our walk through Lively Lisbon.
Notice that every sidewalk is paved with small stones. EVERY SIDEWALK! – through the entire town. This is impressive and really adds to the city’s beauty.
Our destination was an old castle, built on the foundation of Roman ruins – the one you see in the last photo. We didn’t have a map, but navigating was easy enough, just walk uphill. We found our way, passing an impressive church along the way and enjoyed the scenery.
As you can tell in the last photo, the weather was getting worse. And because we had a lunch date with Juliane, it was time to head back. There was plenty to see along the way, including nice apartment buildings and an open air market.
Lunch was at an Austrian fusion place, yep, a new one to me too. It was good though, and a nice respite from the rain. Sadly, Trent’s duct taped umbrella was lost when another damp soul grabbed the wrong one. Trent was left with a broken thing that became the the butt of jokes for the rest of the day. There is normally a beautiful walk along the river towards the coast, but with such bad weather it was decided a cab would be best. My feet already felt like they were swimming, so there were no complaints from me!
We had a nice time at the sights, making our way back.
The last was an old abbey. We got there just after closing time but got to see the church part. After a stop for pastries and wine shopping it was time to head back. Trent and Lori had to leave for a 6AM flight, and we were supposed to meet Lourenço for dinner. He had a surprise in store for us.
Dinner again was at a nice tapas restaurant. The Mayor got us seats, a group of now about 10, including the 5 of us and other friends, family, and a stranger in town – friend of a friend of L. He evens knows strangers, except that no one is a stranger to him. Dinner was really late, well after 11, and we took our time.
The surprise from L was the he wasn’t going to let anyone sleep that night. It kind of made sense for Trent and Lori, since they would only get two hours of sleep anyway, so we all agreed and we went directly to a bar. This was a gay bar, and we all had a good time. Oddly enough gay people are very nice. Something I don’t like is that drinks in Western Europe are very expensive. Jack Daniels was something like €8 per shot. I don’t know exactly how much I spent that night, but there were multiple shots and more wine and plenty of drinks. I probably bought a round or two for a girl also.
After the gay bar we took a cab to the premier dance club in town. I don’t recall the name of the bar, or very many things from this point on, but even though it was raining, and there was a long line of wet people outside, we walked right in. It’s nice knowing the Mayor. Inside was two floors of loud and crowded. The drinks were strong enough, and it was fun. L, T, and L had to leave, for the airport. Juliane had gone home after the first bar. I stayed, under the encouragement of Lourenço, and this is where things took a left turn. More drinking, flirting, and whatnot, but it was getting late, and I decided to walk back. Too bad I had no idea which way I was going. I turned right and followed the tracks. At least the tracks were headed towards downtown right? After a couple of hours of stumbling drunk on the tracks and arguing with God I found a train platform and laid down. The sun was right behind me. Eventually someone else wanted to take a train, and he was kind enough to make sure my drunk ass found my way back. I had walked well over 5 km in the wrong direction. The train I took led me the wrong way back to town, but it did end at a metro stop. Sometime in the morning I made it back to L’s and fell into bed. My slumber wasn’t to last however; the doorbell made sure of that. L had been locked out of his house all night! Juliane was sound asleep, and he had lent me his key to come back when I needed. Thankfully he could sleep for a while in the other apartment when Trent and Lori left, but the entire situation was comical. Ok, damp, drunk, and more than tired I finally got to lay down. Too bad we had a lunch appointment in a couple of hours…. next time the 700 acre bull ranch and cork trees.