A couple of our friends in Toronto PMed us to tell us that they were going to spend a week in Portugal for a last-minute vacation. Since we were in the area, we're hopping on our bikes and heading to Lisbon to meet up with them!
It's mainly a boring, straight road ride from the Algarve region north. Checking the forecast, it's going to be a wet ride. What else is new? Couple the cold rain with continuing high winds and it made for a very miserable ride. Since we had left later in the day, we rode through stretches of rural southern Portugal in complete darkness with no streetlights for miles. The raindrops collecting on our visors refracted the headlights of oncoming traffic into a starry mess of road blindness and I had to focus on the red taillights of the car in front of me to help us stay between the ditch and cars and trucks hurtling towards us.
We miss the Pula Girls! Come back and travel with us full-time!!!
Arriving at our hotel in downtown Lisbon in the pouring rain.
The only plus: Free Moto Parking!
Wet, cold and miserable. The RideDOT.com curse continues.
Neda is still suffering from the ravages of her chest cold. It's pretty serious and we are thinking it might be bronchitis. Her hacking at night is getting worse and she finds it painful to breathe. Plus she is horking up this thick green phlegm on a regular basis. I know this because she took a picture of it and showed it to me. That's gross, Neda! She said she took a picture because she was concerned and wanted to show a doctor. Most guys would have taken a picture just so they could show their friends...
The cold and wet ride to Lisbon did not help her get well, so I put her back on bedrest. We've been in Portugal for over a week now and haven't really seen much, but Neda's health is a priority at this point and touring and sightseeing in cold weather is the last thing she needs.
We decide to splurge and treat ourselves to a nice dinner for a change
I figured maybe a hot meal would do us some good, so we tried some of the bacalhau, the salted cod that Portugal is so famous for. Delicious! Our appetizers in the picture above are cod fritters (pastéis de bacalhau) and chorizos set on fire! So yummy!!!
We did go into town for a grocery run:
We visited the Expo '98 site. Every World Fair has to have a flying saucer shaped building. It's in the rulebook.
This is not an Expo building, it's a shopping mall. We went grocery shopping here.
Friends! Marco and Lori arrived the next day!
Marco was born in Portugal and lived in Lisbon for the first part of his life. It was great having a local guide to the city and he showed us to all of his favorite spots - which were all cafes, restaurants and bakeries! He only visits once a year and he really misses all the foods here, so everytime he comes back he gorges himself. We were going to witness gluttony on an epic scale tonight! :)
€1000+ bottles of port. Most of them covered in dust. At €1000 I can see why...!
Picture by Marco
It was so nice seeing friends from back home, we had lots to catch up on! We used to go riding on our sportbikes to random sushi restaurants with them all the time. Marco is an avid photographer, so he showed me the latest in mirrorless camera technology, and we talked motorcycles with the both of them. Our time in Europe so far has been very social. We've spent so much time with family and friends, new and old, in the last six months! We love it!
We weren't that hungry ourselves, so we bookmarked several places for later with our camera! :)
I love listening to Marco talk Portuguese with his fellow countrymen! It really makes me wish I had learned a second or third language when I was a child. The Portuguese language sounds very curious. It's got a Latin root, so it's very similar to Spanish, but it sounds like there's bit of Russian thrown in there.
But unlike Spain, most people in Portugal speak English as a second language. There were very few times when we couldn't communicate here. I think there must be a lot of British tourists that come down here for vacation, they speak more English here than Spanish.
Statue of King Jose, near the beach
Just cannot get enough of these pastéis de bacalhau. These ones were filled with melted cheese. *drooling* just typing this blog entry out.
Sharing a glass of port after dinner! Very sweet! I like it!
During the evening, we saw Marco devour cups of coffee, pastries, dinner, port. And he was just geting started! He reminded of the time we went back to Toronto and I filled myself with all the food I missed. And it's not even Canadian food, it's the fact that you can get so many different cuisines from all over the world in the same city. I have a list of restaurants I want to hit the next time we visit our old home town!
I'll also need to shop for pair of draw-string pants in Toronto...
Double rainbow outside our hotel the next day
Marco and Lori were on a whirlwind tour of Portugal for the next few days, we were originally thinking about joining them later on, but since Neda was still sick, we stayed in Lisbon for a while longer to help her recuperate. It's been ten days now and she's still being kept up at night with all the coughing and the chest pains. :(
If it doesn't get better in a few days, we are going to go to a doctor and show him all the pictures of Neda's green loogies...
Staring out our window, we check the weather once in a while. Just as well Neda is sick, it's raining everyday, anyway...
One evening, the rains stopped briefly and we ventured out to try some of the food places Marco showed us
We are staying in an older part of Lisbon called Alfama
Fado, is the traditional Portuguese music that's played with a classical guitar. The Alfama district is the place to be to catch a show, but unfortunately, it was too early for that and we didn't want to stay out too late.
Marco's favorite bakery
Just the thing to lift Neda's spirits!
Walking around downtown Lisbon at night
Time to leave, still a bit rainy in Lisbon. :(
I know we're not really doing Portugal justice, only venturing out a couple of times for food runs. But we've got to get Neda back up on her feet first.