Archive | December, 2013

Flying Home

6 Dec

I did not sleep well the morning of our flight, because of the chocolate.  I woke up about 4:15 a.m. and then I woke up Marlene.  She got upset, but quickly got over it.   We showered, finished packing, and ate our breakfast.  The taxi came on time, but we were a few minutes late.  The hotel clerk helped load up the taxi and the female taxi drove us to the airport.  It was about 7 a.m. at the airport.  No one was at the British Airways desk.  About 7:15 the desk opened. We were told then the security workers were on strike.  We made it through.  A woman who was flying to Toronto helped us find our plane.  We were on our way.  I must confess the plane food was good.

 

When we arrived at Heathrow, we know how difficult it was going to be to make our connecting flight, but we quickly found out.  We arrived near Terminal 5.  A bus took us to the terminal.  We had to carry our carry-on luggage.   We then took another bus to Terminal 3.  An hour had passed and we still had not gone through security.  At Terminal 3, security decided to check through everything Marlene carried on.  This was all her photography equipment she did not use.  The supervisor called ahead, so our plane would wait for us.  After checking our luggage, we hurried as fast as we could to get to our plane.  We finally made it.  After two hours going through Heathrow, we had a long flight ahead of us.  Again the food on the plane was good.  I don’t remember how long the flight was.  I’m guessing it was about 10 hours.

 

A couple of days before we were to fly home, Marlene suggested perhaps we should spend our first night back near the airport.  From Lisbon, I made the reservation.  While we had some wait for our luggage at LAX, once we were outside, we only had a short wait before the bus took us to airport.  The next day, we had a slow day getting home.  The house was in good order.  In all the years traveling with Marlene, this is the only year that we came home without any problems except for poor, sick TJ.  TJ was sick.  He was infested with fleas.  He had chewed himself raw while we were gone.

Last Day in Lisbon

4 Dec

That Thursday evening, we had dinner with Jorge and Chico at a little place of Jorge’s choosing.  It was across from the Bank of Portugal and close to their place.  The fish and the potatoes were great. Plus, I got Marlene’s potatoes and her Salmon skin.  I brought six little pastries Lisbon is known for.  The guys ate four.  I ate one and they took one home.  Almost like a comic routine, Jorge was on the phone and he Chico had a little spat.

 

Chico announced to us and Jorge officially he and Joanna are now a couple.  I only had a brief encounter with Joanna and it was positive.  She is quite witty and entertaining.  It was she I quoted about “thinking outside the box,” in a much earlier post.  Chico was driving to Porto that evening, because on Saturday, some of his Super 8 video will be in an art show.  I said it to Marlene and I’ll say it now, “I would not be surprised if Chico becomes famous someday.”  What little I saw of his work was really impressive.  He had in the room we stayed in an unsigned pen and ink drawing.  It looked like a Picasso, but I knew it wasn’t because it was not signed.  He also had some movie posters I found interesting.

 

At dinner, Jorge mentioned to Marlene he would like to have his electrical interface back.  She mentioned if he would have said something earlier to her she could have brought it with us.  Chico invited us to his opening, but I told him that Saturday we would be flying home.  It was raining and it was late for Marlene and me, so we got a taxi and went back to the hotel we were staying at.

 

The next day we returned the interface to Jorge.  We then took the metro from Anjos station to the Chiado Baixa , where not far from the metro stop we went to our first museum, the Chiado Museum, also known as the national gallery of contemporary art.  Marlene’s knees were hurting her.  She got a wheelchair, but one tire had no air it.  My back was bothering me.  Unfortunately only the permanent collection was available for viewing.  We rushed through it.  I wish we would have had more time.  I especially liked the most modern stuff.

 

We then took the metro to the San Sebastian metro station, where we went to another modern art museum complex, the Fundacao Calouste Glulbenkian.  It seems this complex houses three museum spaces.  We again rushed only covering one.  I only wish we had more time.  Marlene was tired.  We went to the museum cafeteria and ate something small because we were still going to have dinner.  We walked back to the English Court at the metro station.  Because it had been raining, we got wet when some cars splash water on us.  We bought our usual fare of fruit, cheese, bread, and lox.  I also bought some chocolate confection.  We then took the metro back to Anjos metro station.  From there we walked back to the restaurant we ate at the night before with Jorge and Chico.  The restaurant seasons the fish with a little salt and grills it.  Again it came with potatoes that I love and again I ate Marlene’s leftovers.  We then caught a taxi back to our hotel.  I ate the chocolate, but it upset my stomach causing me not to sleep well.  Marlene packed.  About midnight I packed.  We needed to be at the airport by 7 a.m. for our 10 a.m. flight.  We’ll by flying home soon.

Return to Lisbon

1 Dec

Driving from Loule to Lisbon was easy. In the dark, we drove into Lisbon with the GPS giving us instructions, with little problem or wasted time. Finding the hotel and its parking was easy too, but we needed food for the next morning.

The hotel clerk directed us a few blocks away toward the grocery store, Pingo Doce. At the story, we were able to buy everything we needed for our morning breakfast, consisting of instant coffee, lox, bread, cheeses, and our fresh fruit. Marlene had her whipped cream and I had my low fat milk. By the end of the trip, we were eating well.

We spent our first day adding money to the phone, getting lost in the subway, and returning the car to the airport. Even getting lost in the subway turned out fine because we found a wonderful Japanese restaurant, which we returned to later for dinner. It was one of a handful of restaurants, where Marlene enjoyed the food.

We spent our second day in Belem’s modern art museum, Museu Colecao Berardo, which is part of the Belem Cultural Center. At our last visit to the museum, we had missed “Happy Consumption.” The illustrations were part of the mass production in early advertising. Later the ad companies eliminated the work of the highly skilled illustrators by further automating the production process. I noticed one ad for music, which had an African-American male with his eyes popping out. Now such a caricature would not be tolerated. I saw many ads for cigarettes. Even our attitude toward cigarettes has changed.

After the museum, we went to, perhaps, Marlene’s most favorite restaurant, Este Oeste (East West). It was a fusion of Italian and Japanese food. Everything there was delicious. After lunch while walking to the tram stop, we learned from a tour guide how to get to the starting point of the Hills Tramcar Tour.

The next day we took the Metro to Cais do Sodre, we bought our tickets, we walked around the corner and we waited for the Aerobus. After a little wait, we boarded the Aerobus and it took us to the Placa do Comercio. I remember the bus did not leave us close to where we needed to board the tram. We walked back about two or three blocks. When we crossed the street and entered the plaza, I only realized then I had been there before. We finally caught the tram.

Horses pulled the first tramcars. About the beginning of the 20th Century, the Lisbon tramcars were electrified. We weaved through the narrow streets on tracks. It took us through the Lisbon neighborhoods, including the Alfama, the oldest. On the tram, Marlene decides to get off and I quickly followed. She then decides she wants to go to the Portuguese Decorative Arts Museum. It was once a little palace. Then, some sort of boarding house, but now it’s a museum. The son of a banker, Ricardo do Espirito Santo Silva, began collecting when he was 13-years-old. Silva bought the palace and restored it to house his collection. We ate lunch in the museum cafeteria. It was a simple buffet with a few delicious items. I had some pasta and fish, which I ate too much of. I ate the salad. Again, it was delightful and so was the desert and again I ate too much of it.

When we were waiting for the tram, suddenly a bunch of people moved into the space around Marlene, bumping into her. One man was smoking a cigarette near us and he distracted me. When we got on the tram, the people did not get on the tram, but suddenly did not board. Marlene’s earmuffs were missing. Her theory is when she was jostled around, she was pick pocketed. Both Marlene and I have been victims in the past. This time they did not get much, if her theory is correct.

We walked back to the metro and took it back to near our hotel. We took a taxi to the hotel, after we went grocery shopping. We were going to have dinner with Jorge and Chico.