Travis has left for a few days, and before his return, we are joined by Olivier Marcon as the facilitator for the next two legs. Bienvenue Olivier! We met Olivier for breakfast and then headed to Shannon Airport. The flight was smooth sailing, and the HondaJet set its third speed record, this time from Ireland to Portugal!
Sharing our journey online has not only given us a chance to invite friends and family to travel with us, but it has already led to some delightful encounters abroad. Cátia Ruivo is the founder of the Portuguese website, Honda News Spot. This is a blog that brings all things of interest about the Honda brand to a Portuguese speaking audience. Cátia read about our 80 Stays journey online and reached out to us via e-mail, expressing her desire to interview us in Lisbon.
Cátia and her father, José, met us at the airport, and kindly drove us to our hotel to sit comfortably. That visit grew from the intention of a brief interview into a full afternoon and evening together. Cátia and José so generously offered ideas of what to see in Lisbon, Portuguese history and stories, and shared their hospitality and gentle humor with us.
After the interview, Cátia and José asked if we’d like to drive around the city a bit to give us a lay of the land. We were eager to see everything we could and weren’t ready to part with new friends, so headed out for a wonderful experience of late afternoon and a bit of evening cool in Lisbon, seeing the tree lined boulevards and green spaces interspersed among the warrens of busy streets and sun-baked painted buildings. We took in the viewpoints over the city roofs and over the River Tagus (Rio Tejo), and watched the lowering sun make the April 25 Bridge (Ponte 25 de Abril) (reminiscent of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco) glow a vibrating red. We stopped here for the first of many gelato experiences in the city.
We capped the evening by going to Time Out together for dinner. Thank you, Dennis and Nancy, for suggesting this treat. Time Out is a massive food hall lined with outlets of every food you can imagine in styles sophisticated and simple....all delicious looking. Traditional chorizo snacks and cod fish dinners and chocolate kiosks and Chef-driven menus, oh my!....we could have just bunked in there for our brief time here! We ended up ordering a traditional treat called "little Frenchwoman pulling a cart (wain)", based on the traditional dish from the north of Portugal, from Oporto: "little Frenchwoman" (in portuguese: Francesinha). "Pulling a cart" is a portuguese expression, it means that the food that has just been eaten was enough to give the strength to pull a loaded cart. The sandwich was filled to the brim with meats and cheese and more, and topped with a spicy sauce. Delicious. Julian managed to find the best gelato spot for dessert, and José treated us to a local specialty, Pastel de Nata (a kind of custardy tart… no description on earth will give it justice!).
Cátia and José brought us back to the hotel after 11, well-fed, happy and feeling fully welcomed to Lisbon!!
The hotel is a Wow. We’ve deliberately chosen a variety of types of hotels to stay during the trip in order to gather ideas of service and design that we can bring home. The H10 Duque-de-Loulé is a beauty, one of over 50 in a chain of boutique hotels. After the moody and cool weather of west Ireland (which we loved) this city is a sun filled contrast, and this hotel is drenched with light. The colors are pristine white and the dark blue of the southern Portugal sky. In the photos, you’ll see some of the touches that we admired here.
We fell into the crisp white sheets and fell into the deepest sleep yet!