Travel: Portugal (Day One a.m.)

I began my travels at 5:30 a.m. Sunday morning. I arrived at the VRBO twenty-eight hours later. I’m pretty sure day one would have gone much better if I had been able to sleep on any of the three flights, but as it was… barely a wink.

My first flight was delayed by an hour, but that was OK. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out why they had be go to Salt Lake City and then to Rome, instead of flying east, but as it turns out… we’ll just call it providence. Last I heard, because of the winter storm “bomb”, there were over 1,400 flights cancelled. Salt Lake had to wait for a plane to arrive, but otherwise, I flew over all the mess below. Here’s a shot flying over the Rockies and then another of Mormon Central as I landed in Salt Lake. (I can never get good pics looking out a plane window.)

After a few hours, I caught the flight to Rome, which was a little over nine hours. Not much to report there. Listened to a book, watched a movie, and stared into space (while trying to sleep.) I looked for the Eiffel Tower as I was flying into Rome, but maybe it’s not lit up at 1 a.m. Maybe you can find in the photo below.

I searched for some M&Ms while in Rome, but it appears to be an M&M free zone, so I had to settle for some of the finest chocolate I’ve ever put in my mouth. When in the Rome airport, if you need something to cheer you up a bit, I can highly recommend this. You won’t be disappointed.

After another short delay due to weather, it was time for the final leg of the travels. Below is you’ll see the coastline of Portugal and a quick shot I took of the Cristo Rei. I’ll take the ferry across the Tagus River and see it proper… probably a day trip. Look at the clouds rolling over… so pretty.

And then there was Lisbon…

For the next two hours, I thought I had made a terrible mistake by trying this on my own. I got seriously lost. Fortunately I was not conscripted by the Russain army.

I’m not sure if it is Google Maps not working well here or cellular data not so good, either way… I took the right subway out of the airport, but then missed the connecting stop. I did not know there was a connecting stop, so I rode awhile. I apparently looked lost because a very kind lady told me it was the end of the line. I said, “Thank you,” and got off instead of riding back and starting again. I thought, ‘Hey. Google Maps will get me where I need to go.’ It did not.

I wandered for about an hour and a half trying to figure things out. I called my carrier, attempting to get data working. I ended up aimlessly walking about. Keep in mind that I’m on about twenty-six hours and no sleep and haven’t had anything to eat in quite some time. I could not reach my host (he actually had emailed me instructions, but… yep… no data!)

I eventually found a policeman—he did not speak English, and I did not see a name badge that I recognized, but if I gave him a name, it would be Angel. I explained my situation, and he listened. I showed him the hotel name where I was to meet my host. I asked/mimed if he could walk, and he said, “No.” The wrong train had gotten me about six miles from where I was supposed to be. Ugh. He was trying to direct me back to the proper subway, but my only word was, “Taxi.” Angel walked me to a main street, flagged me a cab, told the driver where I needed to go, and stayed until I was off. Thank you, Angel.

Fifteen minutes later, I was deposited in front of the meeting place, and twenty minutes later, I met my host, Andre Fonesca. Andre has hooked me up with a fantastic apartment and helped me to learn how to get around. He has provided maps, places to see, etc. I don’t have access to Google Maps, but Andre gave me great confidence to head out and see this beautiful city. It isn’t all that difficult to get around once you’ve got the lay of the land, and if all else fails, I’ll call a cab and be set.

Last night, I slept thirteen hours. At some point, a young couple got into it for a bit, but they didn’t bother me. It was cool, and then it started to rain. With the windows open, it doesn’t get much better.

Andre told me that the cruise ships arrive in the mornings and drive around with about fifteen busloads of folks, so it is best to go to some of the more popular places after lunch. That works for me because I really want to see this city at night. They have such amazing lights throughout.

For now, I’m signing off, but I will update you all this evening. With my trusty map, I’m headed out…

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