As is usual for a trip like this, Monday was our day to get our lives organized so that we can live here for the next month. The first order of the day was to find coffee for Michael and fortunately he found it within a block of our flat!! He then walked around a bit and found a couple of stores that we were looking for.
Once I was ready, we headed out to find out about our new home. Our flat doesn’t have a washer so we were looking for a Wash-a-teria. Instead we found a laundry service that we think may be a dry cleaner. We left a few pieces with her but knew we would have to search for a do-it-yourself spot next.
We walked on down the street to a small market and picked up a few items and then further down the street to a slightly larger store where we found a few more things.
We returned to our flat and ate a wonderful lunch with a ham and cheese baguette and chips.
We had rented a car and were planning to walk the few blocks to the Europcar office, but realized that they were closing shortly for lunch so we hopped up and ran downstairs to find the office. We were happily following Google maps on my phone and it said that we had arrived…..to an empty office……with peeled off Europcar decals on the windows. Yikes!!! I asked a woman in a nearby office if she knew where they had moved to and she walked outside and showed us the new address information. Her first question was “do you know where McDonald’s is?”
I knew that we had passed the McDonald’s coming into town and I had a vague idea of where it was located so we said yes and she gave us directions in broken English. We thanked her and headed on down the road. We knew we were on the right track when we first passed Burger King and Pizza Hut….all of the American stand-by’s!!
We passed McD’s and kept on walking but felt that we weren’t going correctly, so I asked another woman for directions. She sent us back to the McD’s and told us to go down the street beside the restaurant. We followed those directions and quickly found the Europcar office. As we walked in, the young woman looked up and said that they were closed. I apologized and told her that we had gone to the other office and then she apologized and went ahead and put our booking thru.
She showed us to a black Fiat and gave us the cursory tour of the operating systems on the car. We immediately took a photo of the license plate so we can hopefully find it easier…..
We got in and drove back to a large grocery store that we had seen when we were walking and spent the next 45 minutes trying to figure out what we could easily cook in our apartment and buying ingredients for those things. But, before we could shop, we had to figure out how to get our shopping cart….
We got back in our car and started trying to set the GPS to take us back to the apartment but ran into a problem because everything was in Portuguese!!! After about 15 minutes of trying to change the language, we drove back to the Car rental office and asked the young woman to help us. She worked on it for a while and then another worker came over and was finally able to switch us to English. This made our travel MUCH easier. The only problem arose when the address we entered actually took us too far down the road, just as the Taxi Driver had done yesterday. Fortunately we knew what to do and were able to find our flat.
After we arrived back, Michael went up to the roof to sit for a while and look at the ocean and I headed to walk around and get a feel for the area. I ended up walking to the Metro station that I will use on Wednesday when I go to Porto.
……thus ending a fun day!!!