Lisbon, day one
Yesterday after 10+ hours in the air and two airports I landed in Lisbon.
(I barely slept on the plane)
I stumbled, bleary-eyed, out of the airport and made my way to the metro where I stumbled through several "voçe fala iglés?" to get my Navigante (transit) pass for the next two weeks.
I dragged my fala (suitcase) down the metro stairs and caught the red line, then the blue line, through Santa Sebastian and to Santa Apolonia
where I walked until I found the Museu do Fado
and parked myself in the square to grab a bite and kill some time.
The restaurant had a name that I forget
but a dish of seared octopus in peppers and vinegar that went perfectly with grilled toast that will live in my mind forever.
I sat and sipped water, then a glass of local white wine, and watched the scenery
couples checking their phones to figure out where they're going
groups of travellers debating day trips
(should we go to Sintra? Or Porto? What about Cascais though?!)
old Portuguese men chain-smoking and yelling at each other
(everyone here yells and I fit right in)
people trying to bum smokes and cigarettes
(the hand motions for "cigarette" and "lighter" transcend language)
and soaking up the heat and the smell of the Tagus river
and way the fresh water that mixes with the salt of the ocean.
At 3 PM I checked into a tiny two-bedroom apartment
overlooking a little square with a huge tree in the middle where people set up stands to sell ginjinha
(traditional Portuguese brandy)
and yelling at passers-by
(everyone yells here, I told you)
and up the flights of stairs is my flat that's so old that the electricity is routed through copper pipes sticking out of the walls.
I showered and packed up my purse and camera and made my way to the Praça do Comércio
the big, old square down by the water surrounded by bright yellow buildings
where people took selfies
buskers sung "Can't Help Falling in Love" and "I Say a Little Prayer"
and kids and their parents played with the waves as the tide came in.
I wandered around Alfama, taking photos and picking up snippets of conversation in my (very) broken Portuguese
eating pastel de nata and sipping a tiny glass of port
getting lost in the stairs and streets and back lanes of the city
soaking up the din of the city before picking up some wine, tinned fish, and fresh fruit from a tiny merdaco (shop) to have for breakfasts while I'm here
before crashing out at 8 PM.
(Told you I was tired.)