Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Day 12: Douro Valley to Lisbon

Day 12:  Douro Valley to Lisbon

POTD:  Do you speak Italian? Fala italiano?

Weather: Sun, sun, sun

During the night, DB’s C-PAP has problems, and we spend some time in the morning researching how to get a fix done. Someone actually commits to meeting us at the hotel in Lisbon at 6pm. We’ll see…

Even the towels are stacked as a six

THB and DB take a walk around the area, down to the river, through the vineyards (literally, in the muck at the bottom of a terrace), and back up to the hotel.

Breakfast on the deck, DB has quinoa porridge, THB continues to indulge his inner gluten self plus a ginger-carrot-something-something detox.

THB and DA hang out, the women receive foot acupressure massages, and we meet up for lunch on another deck.

After lunch, we hit the road, takes around 4 hours of pretty scenery (well, not that pretty as we get within 75KMs of Lisbon) and we return the car to Sixt at the aeropuerto. Easy-peasy! OOOOPS, there’s a huge line waiting for cabs. About 30 minutes later we pile into a mini-van type vehicle (enough room for all our bags, tight for the humanoids). 
At our last fill-up spot, they also do car washes

The taxi queue at Lisboa aeropuerto

First conversation (all in very good English) with the cabbie: all about Tesla cars, and his plans for finally getting one. Tesla does not sell or service the cars in Portugal, yet there seem to be about a 1,000 here.

Second conversation: UBER isn’t legal in Portugal and shouldn’t be.
Bullring...Donald could bring these to US!
Third conversation: cabbie points out a bullfighting ring and wishes they would ban the practice. THB makes some aside that when Donald is in charge, there will be bull fighting in the US. Cabbie expresses his disdain for our next president (that’s a theme, we have yet to find anyone here that is happy about him even being a candidate…shades of our travel during Bush’s two terms).
JR's work on a building project that has been suspended

Fourth conversation: as we’re slow in progressing towards the Bairro Alto Hotel, the cabbie turns tour guide. Overall, a great ride, 20E which included a generous tip (he was very appreciative).

We check-in, and there’s a call to the room: the C-PAP repairman is on hand! He tests the machine, it’s a bad transformer (though it has been working here, in Spain, Japan, etc.), and we eagerly purchase a new one, 120E (yes, it’s a rip-off, and for the ability to sleep at night for DB, well worth it). And, it’s possible the old one will work in the US.

View from the terrace:

The hotel is celebrating its 11th birthday, and there are free drinks and canapes on the 6th floor terrace. Great views!! A DJ!! A lively crowd!! Free drinks!!!!!

Dinner within a block of the hotel at Casa da India, a tip from MQ who just spent a month in Portugal. It appears she has tipped more than just the four of us, at 8pm there’s a crowd inside at communal tables and a crowd outside waiting to get in. DB has excellent grilled shrimp and frites (we see shrimp in many forms, along with caracoles, soups, salmon, fish soup, etc., as we watch from the queue) and the rest of us have grilled chicken with piri piri sauce (hot!) on the side, frites and rice. The chicken breast is a bit dry, overall pretty good. Three beers, a spritzy white wine (the bubbles were a surprise) and a coke, 25E per couple.


There’s still a line at Casa da India when we leave…to walk a few steps to Mantecigaria get in the line for the belems (“nata” in Porto). The plaza in front of the hotel is jumping! The moon is out!

Belems are shared among the four of us, up in DB and THB’s room. 

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