Let’s start with a travel riddle…..What is the difference between a flight and a nap? Apparently not much since I managed to sleep for over half of each of our three flights!!! I normally sleep a bit, but this was really unusual. However, it did make the trip go faster and seem easier. Michael, on the other hand, worked as he normally does and accomplished a lot as we flew along.
My trip enjoyment started in the Atlanta airport as I looked at the various art displayed in the terminals. Atlanta has always done a wonderful job honoring the artists of Georgia, including my friend, and fellow quilter, Elizabeth Barton. At gate E29, I found the following……
These were commissioned in 1996 as part of bringing the Olympics to Atlanta, and were part of Elizabeth’s window themed work. It is good to see that the are still shining out as beautiful quilted art!!!
We had great flights, starting with Atlanta to Amsterdam. Our layover in Amsterdam was easy and after we got thru passport control, we even had time to grab something to eat.
The next flight was only 2-1/2 hours to Lisbon. After my mandatory nap, we talked to our seat mate, a woman named Maria who is Portuguese but lives in Amsterdam. She is a classical singer and it was great fun to talk to her about her life. Her biggest concern is the financial crisis that is hitting all of the EU countries now.
The last time we travelled from Lisbon to Porto, we had to get our suitcase and hop on a bus to go to another terminal. Since our suitcases are unusually heavy this time, we were both dreading this proposition. We were happily surprised to find that things had changed and we simply had to walk to a different area of the terminal, AFTER giving up our luggage.
We were able to find a VODA shop and purchased Portugal SIM cards for our phones. After the hoops that we had to jump thru in India, it was very refreshing to walk out 15 minutes later with fully functioning telephones!!
We found our gate and started trying to plug my phone in to charge. It was not easy to get the plug to work and an older gentleman offered me his phone cord. It was a sweet gesture but unfortunately the cord wasn’t the right kind. However, it was an opportunity for Michael to get to know him and find out that he was from the Azores, a chain of Islands just off of the Portugal coast. We complimented his English and he told us that he had worked for 52 years at a US Airbase located on his island.
Michael went to the desk to check on our flight and was offered an earlier flight so we jumped at the opportunity. Since we were early, Michael’s host (Paulo) was not able to meet us so we grabbed a taxi to take us to our apartment.
We have rented an apartment (thru AirBNB) that is located in the small town of Vila do Conde, about 20 minutes from the airport. When we arrived on the street, we couldn’t find the address so we called our host to get further directions. It ended up that we had gone one village too far so had to backtrack. some. Our driver was embarrassed that he had taken us to the wrong place and turned off the meter as we drove. He kept apologizing to us and we kept assuring him that it was ok!
They were a delight, greeting us with cheek kisses and hugs. They showed us thru their beautiful apartment, complete with a table full of bright flowers, good things to eat and great things to drink!!! It was so sweet of them to set all of this up for us!!
As they left, we realized that we were both starving to death so we walked down the road to a restaurant (named Caximar) that Michael had frequented on previous visits. After looking thru the menu, we decided to order the chef’s special seafood platter, but first to have an assortment of bread, butter and tuna…..
As you can see from this photo, we are right out on the beach and the sights were gorgeous…..
But even more so as the sun started to go down…..
The sunset was eclipsed by the food, a massive dish filled with various types of fish, from Prawns to Flat Fish and a bunch that we didn’t know what they were…..
We enjoyed our meal greatly…..
….finishing off with their famous Flan…..
We rolled our full tummies back to the apartment and fell into bed, very content with our first day in Portugal!!