We leave Lisbon this morning for Madeira and the lovely Reid Palace Hotel. Yesterday, Saturday, we explored Lisbon. With a driver we drove the narrow cobblestone roads lined with parked cars bumper to bumper. How they get out with bumper to bumper parking is a mystery. We visited a flea market where I've have never seen so many things I didn't want. Our driver pulled into a parking area where two men tell him it is private and he can't park there. I expected difficulty, but after a short time he has them laughing with him. I don't hear horns honking and while the drivers are very aggressive, unlike Italy they are not blowing their horns and leaning out the drivers window to shake a fist or make some other gesture at other drivers.
Lisbon, like Rome, has seven hills and at the top of one of them is a castle with a view of the city. On this day there is a contest where young men ride mountain bikes down steps at the castle and on down cobblestone roads at a high speed. Police are stationed to stop people and traffic, but it looks like sheer insanity to me.
We went through a museum of royal carriages. They are heavy and ornate. The horses must have had a struggle to pull them. However, they are beautiful to see and I suspect uncomfortable on rough dirt roads or cobblestone streets.l
We had lunch at a well known restaurant. They cooked the fish in butter which I didn't care for. My choice would be olive oil. The wine was not good and the experience less then wonderful.
We drove through much of Lisbon areas of interest. Heavy traffic and lots of people. We sopped at points of interest and I got a few photographs, but the day was overcast and light was not good for pictures. I was glad to go back to hotel to finish packing.
The Queen Mary 2 was in port. This is a ship we had been on a few years ago when we sailed from New York to Canada. A huge ship that has some fifteen restaurants and over 2500 passengers it cannot get into many ports because of its size. It was docked below our hotel and we watched it leave. With binoculars we could see less then 250 people on deck. I wondered if it was suffering from the economy.
Saturday night we ate at A Travessa, a wonderful restaurant. I finally had a great meal. To get there we were driven up dark narrow roads and let out with instructions that the place was located up the alley like road and around the corner. It was there and we went down steps into a former monastery with round brick ceilings and a large outdoor courtyard in the center of the building. The food started immediately with small dishes delivered one after another of great tasting appetizers. We eat early by Portugal standards and were alone when we arrived at 8:00 pm. Within a short time the place was totally full with everything but English being spoken around us. Tables close together and waiters weaving through the tables with plates of food, this place was full of activity. My octopus was outstanding and Lita's fish wonderful as well. The wine was excellent and it was a great experience.
When we were told our cab was here the owner, a woman who opened the place twenty five years ago, led us out with umbrellas because it was raining. She walked us a couple of blocks to where the taxi could pick us up. We had an wonderful experience.
Packed, we are ready for our next stop. However, it is overcast and rain is predicted for today.