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  • Day5

    La classe: présentation au Commandant

    January 9 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    Après une journée consacrée aux activités du bord, nous étions reçu par le commandant pour un cocktail de bienvenue. Tout le monde était coiffé, maquillé, enfin, toutes ces dames. Les messieurs quant à eux avaient sorti le costume et la cravate, voire le neud papillon. La vraie vie quoi. Le commandant a dû faire un petit millier de photos, affichant toujours le même sourire. "Bonsoir" en italien, un petit geste pour vous inviter à vous installer à ses côtés, "souriez", clic-clac et on va boire un coup. Pas avec lui car il a d'autres occupations plus importantes... Puis, présentation de l'équipage au grand théatre. Chaque officier resonsable d'un secteur est appelé (en cinq langues) , à monter sur scène et fait un petit coucou de la main avant d'aller rejoindre tout sourire ses collègues. On est pas forcé d'être là. On peu aussi rester au bar où deux charmante musiciennes distillent de la bossa nova bien agréable aux oreilles. Puis, le grand spectacle de gala avec des danseuses à plumes et des accrobates. Balaises les gars. Ce matin, au petit déjeuner, la giffle. Nous avons tenté d'aller le prendre au pont 6, là où nous dînons; C'est le restau des "Auréa". Et là, badaboum, on s'est fait jeter comme des malpropres. VIP certes, mais pas assez. Direction de pont 5. Nous avons franchi le détroit de Gibraltar vers 22:30. A tribord, l'Europe, à bâbord l'afrique. Des lumières de chaque côté du navire. Un pied en europe, l'autre en afrique. Ce matin, l'atlantique. Plus gris et moins calme que la méditerrannée, mais ce n'est pas la tempête, loin de là, même si certains symptômes de mal de mer apparaissent ça et là. Et j'ai perdu mon pari. Ce soir, point de Fado, mais un groupe de jeunes chevelus qui chantent des trucs comme "She loves you yé, yé, yé" : des clones d'un groupe qui était connu paraît-il, dans le temps, les Beatles. En voila une musique qu'elle est bonne! En attendant, nous arrivons à Lisbonne. Il paraît que c'est plein de portugais...Read more

  • Day19


    January 30 in Portugal ⋅ ☁️ 14 °C

    My last day in Lisbon. Another beautiful city. Such a lot to see and impossible in my short 4 day stay. Went on a day trip yesterday to Sintra. Couple of lovely Palaces and a castle to see. Then drove back down the coast. Lots of history and beautiful scenery. A tram trip today and maybe a spot of shopping. Though not alot of room in my suitcase! The steps are where I have to walk up and down to get into town area. Probably a good idea as I have been enjoying the local wines and pastries! There is also a funicular. Photo attached.Read more

  • Day12

    Plan C

    May 1, 2019 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    Strikes, demonstrations, and a half marathon made our day a bit complicated but in the end we walked 20,000 steps, had a great ride on the Tram 28, and were able to enjoy many gorgeous “sitting stops” in plazas with great views. Back to work tomorrow.

  • Day2

    In Lisbon!

    March 2, 2019 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    Having lunch at a tiny restaurant, they've only been open 3 weeks. Very cute restaurant, it appears to be 2 men who own and operate it. Throughout lunch 4 dogs poked their heads in...wearing collars. Then they left.

    Next stop, amazing custard pastry and cappuccino. So delicious and since I've been up for a very long time the caffeine is nice.

    I'm going yo explore a little while I wait for Debbie ... She'll be here soon!
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  • Mar26

    Off to Lisbon

    March 26, 2019 in Portugal ⋅ ☁️ 19 °C

    Our week in Pico da Pedra with Rui and Guadino was wonderful. What kind hosts with big hearts and lots of good information about the island. They have put a lot of effort into creating a welcoming and peaceful BnB/home and you couldn’t ask for a better location to explore the island. The time we spent on the island was fabulous. There are 9 islands in the Azores so if we return, we will want to explore the other ones, starting with three that are close together - Pico, Faial and Sao Jorge.

    We met an interesting young couple from Germany, Silvia and Tadeh who shared many of the same interests as we did. Every morning at breakfast, Rui and the four of us had great discussions about what we had done the day before, previous trips we had taken and what was happening in the world today (i.e. Brexit and Trump). It made breakfasts a pleasure.

    On the day that we left, we packed up our bags and drove 20 minutes to the airport. Loved that! A man from Autocunha Car Rental was there to meet us at 6 a.m. and the return went very smoothly.

    We proceeded to the SATA checkin area and were told that the plane was going to be 7 hours late!!! The big storm that the island had had 2 days ago had affected all the flights so there was a backlog. Seven hours. Ugh. But, the Portuguese attendant came to our rescue. She removed us from the Sata flight and put us on a TAP flight leaving in 20 minutes. Excellent!!!!

    After a 2 hour flight, we arrived in Lisbon at 10 and did a little planning with a coffee in the airport lounge.
    Our apartment wouldn’t be ready until 3 pm but the owner said that we were welcome to leave our bags with her. The taxi ride to the Graça area was €11 and it was glorious warm, spring day.

    Our hostess pointed the way to a traditional Portuguese lunch restaurant where there was a set lunch and lots of noisy neighbours eating lunch with their friends and families. The waiter was pretty funny and we had a good time.

    Just down the street was a barber shop, so Chris got a nice haircut. From there, we wandered - looking at all the graffiti, checking out the shops and restaurants, watching the trolley car as it made its way up the hill, taking in the wonderful views from a city park,and finally we ended up at the gates to the castle. The castle will be on tomorrow’s agenda.

    We have had a full day but still needed to see our apartment and do a quick food shopping.

    Where we are staying is in a perfect neighbourhood for exploring and as a bonus, it is full of character!
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  • Day3

    Breakfast, gym, and a long walk

    April 22, 2019 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    Lisbon sits on many hills, so there are lots of “miradouros” (scenic look-out plazas is my awkward translation). We decided to head for two located on hills near the castle— these are not the most popular but the views are great—Nossa Senhora da Monte and Graca. Lunch in a little pastelaria where we sat outside in old Lisbon and had a homemade lunch for 9 € for the two of us!

    Back to the hotel for a total of 19,752 steps according to my phone. While Joe rested, I went on my first oil-scouting expedition. Making good headway!

    Tomorrow it’s down to work for two days. Then Thursday is The national holiday commemorating the Carnation Revolution-saying goodbye to fascism without firing a shot.
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  • Apr3

    Alfama, Lisbon

    April 3, 2019 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    Today we woke up full of energy to go out and start exploring on our first full day of this trip. We found a funny little local cafe and had a coffee and a chicken toastie for breakfast and then headed towards Alfama, a famous old district in Lisbon.
    Alfama is beautiful and we happily spent hours just wandering around the winding cobbled streets and up and down all of the many many hills. We found some lookout view points, a convent, a castle, lots of cool murals and hundreds of little bars and cafes to go back to if we can remember where any of them are, the whole area is like a maze.Read more

  • Day14

    Last day in Lisbon

    May 3, 2019 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    Normal routine the last couple of days, different today in that instead of a post-gym café-and-plaza seeking expedition, it was a trip to the laundromat. Two loads to wash and dry was over 20 €, but five years ago these modern inventions were unknown in Portugal. So I am not complaining!!

    Tomorrow we leave on an early morning flight to Pico Island, where the weather forecast is for six days of rain. We’ve seen these kinds of forecasts in the Azores before, and I think/hope we’ll get some sun every now and then. Fingers crossed, goodbye Lisbon. We will be back on May 14 and leave for the US the next day.

    I’ve already reserved a reservation for our last night at a highly touted restaurant near our hotel where we have repeatedly failed to get reservations even a day or two in advance. Bistro4, here we come.
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  • Mar2

    Lisbon - a Turnaround Day

    March 2, 2019 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    We’ve been on the move through Portugal for two months and have ended up Lisboa, drinking Second Cup coffee and seeing tattooed and pierced individuals speaking an assortment of languages. A different world from the one than we have been in as we moved around. Less laid back and a lot more hectic.

    The train from Sintra to Lisbon was quick and took us to Rossio station that is within a block of the apartment we are staying in for the weekend, and right in the centre of the city. We can see the castle on the hill and walk out the door to a grocery store and bakeries.

    We are preparing for our trip to the Portuguese islands of Madeira and then to the Azores so will only spend 2 nights here. Enough time to buy a few groceries, do a quick load of laundry (we don’t like carrying dirty laundry!), contact our bnb hostess, contact a car rental company and read a bit about Madeira before we go on Sunday morning.

    Tomorrow is Saturday and Carnaval antics will be something to enjoy and to remind us to be vigilant of pickpockets.

    The plan for Saturday is to walk down to and along the river and have lunch at the Time Out market. If there is a Carnival parade, we will check it out.

    Not a super exciting day but we know that we will be back Lisbon at the end of the month and we will make sure that we see Belem, the puppet museums, the Fado museum and other interesting places. We are just getting a feel for it now, while thinking of the green mountains of Madeira.
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