Luton to Lisbon

We woke up early (setting multiple alarms, so we wouldn´t miss another flight). We showered, finished packing, checked-out, and headed to the airport. It was a quick 15 minute walk from the hotel, and soon we were checked in for our EasyJet flight to Lisbon.

We went around the airport, looking for breakfast. We finally happened upon the Marks and Spencer “Simply Food” Store. I normally have an aversion to the concept of pre-packaged sandwiches. However, everything looked fresh that morning. Sheri had a good free range eggsalad and rocket sandwich, and I had a chicken tika tortilla wrap. Both were GREAT! I´ll reconsider the value of the traingularly packaged sandwiches in future–there are some fresh sandwiches out there.

We checked into our EasyJet plane. It was a LOT different than the Virgin flight. They offered us food and drinks, if we wanted to pay for them. We were well-fed after the breakfast at the airport, so we sat reading up on our Portugese destinations. After a few hours, we landed in Lisbon. We had finally made it to Portugal. We got through Customs–it was a VERY long line, much different than the speedy efficiency in London. We picked up our bags, and looked for a taxi to our hotel. We were in Lisbon, only about 12 hours late, after our screw-up of the day before.

We saw the long line for getting a taxi, and looked for a second level of taxis which Rick Steve´s travel book had suggested. We never found it, and drug our bags back to the long line. The line moved quickly and soon we were being driven to our hotel. The sites were amazing: big walking zones, tall statues in open parks, and lots of roundabouts. The taxi driver seemed nice (talking about the sites), but when he got to the airport, he said the bill was 24 Euros (about 10 Euros more than it should have been). He said it was because of the “bag charge”, so we begrudgingly paid it. NO TIP FOR YOU! (next time we need to remember to get a receipt, so that we can report the taxi driver to the city service).

We entered the VIP Eden Hotel which was right on the Restauradores Square. Our room wasn´t ready, so we dropped our bags and decided to head out into the city. We were getting hungry, so we went searching for lunch. One place, Bota Alta, was recommended by several bloggers and Frommers. So… we went searching for it. The roads zigzagged and climbed over many hills and steep streets, but we finally arrived at the right location. It was fairly busy, and they led us to our table. They brought multiple things to the table for appetizers, but we pushed most away. If you sample anything on a plate, then you pay for the plate (as we had read in the tour guides). We had a hard cheese for an appetizer that was good. Sheri ordered the “bacalhau real“, a mix of fried codfish, egg, and potatoes–it was tasty. I ordered the dorado that was a little too bony for my liking, but still very fresh fish.

We made a circuitous way back to the hotel, checked-in, and visited our room. We went up to the hotel roof, and saw the amazing views of Lisbon; this was definitely an amazing city. We decided to nap for a few hours, it had taken more than 24 hours to make it to Portugal.

We got up and decded to go to the Port Wine Institute. It was in Barrio Alta, the same district where we had had lunch. It was in an old building and the furniture was all leather. It was still busy at 11PM at night. Sheri had done her homework on Port wines (really 3 best years, and 4 names). We had two 20 year old tawnys and one 30 year old tawny. They were all great (differing styles, but all still good). It was 11:45PM when we left the Port Institute, and decided to go looking for some snacks. We exited and noticed the revelers filling the streets.

It seems like Friday/Saturday night in Lisbon is one amazing pub crawl, with many rowdy drinkers filling the streets, singing yelling, etc. We made our way through the crowds and finally decided on a Tapas Restaurant with outdoor seating and live music. Our waiter didn´t like our “Mexican Spanish” (Portugese is similarly spelled to Spanish, but pronounced VERY different) and kept trying to pawn us off on another ex-US waiter. We ordered beer, water, pimentos padron (which we love) and patatas bravas. While waiting there, I realized that I had forgottent my iPhone back at the Port Wine Institute!!! I ran through the streets back to the location, but they had already closed at midnight. I knocked on the door to no avail. I gave up, and then I had to search through the crowds to refind the tapas restaurant where I had left Sheri. I told Sheri the bad news, and we hoped that the phone was left behind and not stolen in the crowd.

We finished our tapas and headed back to the hotel after 1AM. I was bummed to have lost my phone, but we had made it to Portugal/Spain. We were already getting into the rhythm of Portugal and being on vacation. We went to sleep after the long day.