Portugal-the 10 TrUths
1. Portugal is clean. No litter. Anywhere! The metro is clean..it's noticiple!
2. Friendly folks! Helpful and gracious to tourists even with the language barriers.
3. Oh. The Food! Affordable, lots of it and oh so tasty!
4. Lisbon is the City of stairs. Sensible shoes are a must.
5. Tips are not expected but joyfully received!
6. Cabs are cheaper and more time efficient than the metro... treat yourself! Plus cabbies love their city!
7. Some attractions are overburdened with people.... measure your "line time" against how much you really want that your!
8. Gingja is a portugese liquor made by infusing ginja berries into a cherry liquor. Beirao is a liquor of 22% alcohol! Both are worth trying!
9. Coffee drinkers may be disappointed. But have no fear, there is a Starbucks on every corner!
10. Set some time to explore outside of Lisbon! The country is very special!
facetiming with their Mom in Paris!
Years ago, maybe 15, Mark and I biked and Kayaked our way through Civil War battlefield country. I remember once we noticed a family at a "truck stop diner". They were all reading. No one talking to each other. Just sitting eating mindlessly and reading. We declared that would never be us! We would always have reason to speak to each other over a meal on vacation!
Lisbon 2017. The age of "the nose in the phone".
As we tour this beautiful country we see people so invested in their hand held devices. Between FaceTime and Facebook people are communicating globally not intimately.
"Hello? I'm sitting right here???? Hello?"
I heard a man say to the woman sharing his table while she was nose deep in her hand held device.
I scoff, yet I am guilty.
My husband finds relief on the deck of the Marriot in Lisbon. You see, there is no Internet on the deck of the Marriot. You must be present. No distractions. A gift. On some crazy level being together on the deck is being a gift to each other. The world can't reach us here.
So being present can be the present.
Today while we walked among the historical attractions of Portugal we offered to take photos for tourists who were struggling with cameras, selfie sticks and staging their photo. It became almost a game.
How many people can we help preserve this moment?
We learned a lot about language barriers, pantomime and fear.
First, some folks just don't want to be in front of the camera ... doesn't matter that you are willing to help them prove that they were on this trip a million years from now by taking their photo with the rest of the family. Let's face it, some of us hate to be in photos!
Some people are sure you'll steal their camera or phone. They pull away with a scornful look and shrug certain your goodwill is suspect.
And most, are grateful. A Thank you in any language is a present. Being present enough to offer this kindness while traveling is truly a gift.
Being present is the present.
how have you been a gift today?
Maggie and Christian from Philly but now living in Munich working at an Internet Start up as English translators/editors ...
How small are we? Really
How small are we?
And so full of self importance ...
Travel expands perspective. Today we ventured to the Convent Carmo. A shell of a building left standing in homage to the devout. Built in 1389.
In 1755 an earthquake sent 170 clergy and women of the cloth racing for cover. The Library was saved and historical documents carried away while the building tumbled.
Between 1911-1912 the structure was rebuilt and the majesty on the hill was back in action. Serving Christian's and the poor countrywide.
In 1969 another Earthquake took the building down and militant rebels made the ruins their home.
So many reinventions.
Such prime real estate.
Perched on one of the many slopes that make Lisbon, Lisbon.
Now the home of the republican guard and a tourist attraction, this tribute to Christian heritage, cataloging, historians and perseverance made me ponder how crazy insignificant I am.
How small? How young? How trivial?
Really! When set side by side with a monument that even the earth tried to destroy, not once but twice...
How small are we? really?
Lines, CaBbies and a Lobstah
"seafood sam" has palate cleansing pineapple...
The lines started at Logan Airport and our delayed flight. International flights are always at night so a sleepy but excited full plane of travelers waited in que. I was most entertained by the young flamboyant young man in a pink oxford. He was taller than most in line, dressed in as a Vineyard Vines model wannabe and he had befriended a Portuguese family in line. He is from Minnesota and studying medicine in Boston. He's heading to Lisbon to do his practical at the medical center there. When he said this loud enough for all in line to hear several young voices chimed in with "me too"! This was a flight for young Doctors. Oh so young!
His name was Joe and he said he was pleased to get the call from the school that he would be studying in Lisbon. Then he looked away and said "truthfully, I had to google it... I had no idea where Lisbon was!
Youthful energy everywhere. These young Doctors are full of promise, anticipation and a fair amount of cockiness.
I said hello to Joe and he responded "how did you know my name?"...
I smiled and said...everyone on the plane knows your name!
We were well schooled in lines. There were lines for luggage, cabs, attractions...loads and loads of patience testing and people watching lines. Lisbon is alive with the human race but there is no race...there is no pace!
It's far less expensive to grab a cab than use public transportation ...and you get the benefit of the Cabbies knowledge and his creative way of bridging the language barrier. Driving while playing sharades! Fun albeit scary.
"seafood sam" the Lobstah is popping up all over and upstaging us left and right! He's our "flat Stanley".. a curiosity for sure!
the anticipation of "going"
My boss said to me as I was leaving the office after a frantic day of pre vacation preparation , "there is something about snapping that seat belt and having the plane doors latch... it's like you have to sigh and let all things go because there is nothing you can do about it now!"
In the anticipation of "going" away you learn a lot about how you are defined. The process of putting your "ducks in a row" before a trip teaches you... that you are so much more than you thought.
This is what I re-learned about me:
I'm more than:
a successful real estate agent
producer of stories
officient of weddings
aunt, god mother, annie camp leader
I'm an adventurer, world traveler, explorer...and time must be MADE for the things that restore my soul.
Who started this passion of travel? My mom.
Fitting as it's Mothers Day in the United States.
As a single Mom she managed to send my brother and I on European Ski Trips with our High School and the travel bug was implanted deep in my being. Such a gift from a Mom who had so many other things her cash could be spent on but she chose us! And the gift of adventure!
In celebration on Mom and Mothers Day ... of travel and expanding horizons... we now spend every Mothers Day abroad.
To the "moms" who give the gift of adventure! We salute you!