A Taste of Three Continents - November 2005 travel blog

our new home

Belem Tower

monument to Prince Henry the Navigator

bridge over the Tagus River

After twelve hours of fitful sleep we had a remarkable buffet breakfast with foods we mostly recognizerd and six different coffee choices - not flavor choices, but brewing techniques. Coffee is very important, because even after twelve hours of sleep, I barely feel that I have regained enough IQ points to speak much less try to write something intelligible here. We have not heard an American voice in our large, well attended hotel. Since Portuguese is a language very few others speak, when tourists try to interact with one another, feeble attempts at English are heard, but even then the vocabularly choices are British rather than American.

A brief stroll on the wide tree lined boulevard our hotel is located on, reveals a picturesque, prosperous city with lots of boutiques and intriguing looking places to eat. The wide straight boulevards are lined with rabbit warrens of narrow streets, the sort I would have difficulty navigating even if my brain was totally present. Lisbon is a hilly city, reminding us of San Francisco and even has cable cars to take you up the steep hills as SF does. The sidewalks are a mosaic of small tiles, laid in interesting patterns. It looks old, but might just be part of the charm of the place, along with wrought iron baconies and curliques of plaster on the store fronts.

We flew through a thick layer of clouds over Europe and sadly they continue to blanket Lisbon. Much of the day was taken with checking in and unpacking. Since this is an older ship (1997) it does not have many balconies, but we have a great view out of a big window in our cabin. The room is well laid out and even has a bath tub. We have a couch and a DVD player so we can be as comfortable in our cabin as in the public areas.

Most of our fellow passengers appear to be American and we shared a dinner table for ten with four other well traveled couples from the New York/New Jersey area. All of us did our best, but are suffering from a lack of sleep. To bed!

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