Tara needed just one more trip on British Airways to qualify for Gold membership status. But, Swiss Bank had just changed preferred airlines. There'd be no more business trips on BA. So, we just had to treat ourselves to a weekend away. We decided on Lisbon since it was the cheapest Business Class ticket in Europe to a place we hadn't seen before.
Due to being extremely busy at work, Tara did no further travel investigations. Therefore, we arrived with very little knowledge of the city. The taxi ride from the airport was very enjoyable. Our driver was extremely friendly and offered suggestions on where to go and what to see. Unfortunately, we couldn't understand many of the places he recommended since the names were very unfamiliar to us. He was even kind enough, though, to give us his home number in case we had questions. We wouldn't have called, but it was a very nice gesture.
After settling in, we went out to find dinner in the neighborhood. The fancy restaurants we looked at were too dressy for us, so we just wandered. Seth picked the perfect place eventually. There was a small mall with many people going in and out. He decided to take a look inside and see what was up. We followed the people upstairs and found a diner - style restaurant. It was perfect, just our type of casual place. We took a seat at the counter and read the menu on the wall.
The whole dinner was fun, starting with ordering. At first we wanted chicken sandwiches. But, after exhausting the word chicken in all languages, we know. We said hamburger. That was understood. As we cheeseburger. So, we ordered two cheeseburgers. Then we tried to french fries, potatoes, pommes fritas, patatas.... It worked, we were getting patatas! Next came the drink. Fanta, orange was not meant to be, so Tara tried 7-Up. No problem, 7-Up it was. Such fun to have no common language and improvise! It was an accomplishment for sure. And we were gonna have a cheeseburger. A treat since we don't eat British beef.
Upon arrival of our dinner, we both looked at each other and laughed. It looked GOOD, but was lacking the expected bun. We had received a plate full of fries with a hamburger patty in the middle and smothered with cheese. At the first bite, we were very happy. It was delicious. We even managed to get some ketchup and more 7-Up. Overall, a good night.
Saturday morning we decided to sleep in late and enjoy the pool. Tara was swimming laps before Seth was fully awake. Seth decided to join Tara right when she was getting ready to get out of the pool, so she had to stay in London. Darn. After swimming, we decided to eat lunch at the poolside bar. It was very enjoyable to lay on the beach chairs in the sun and enjoy our sandwich and desert.
By the time we left the hotel we had left for the evening. We wanted to explore town a bit and find another good dinner. We did explore the town, but we never found the dinner we were looking for. We took a funicular to the spot on the map the concierge had circled. This was the night-life spot of town with many restaurants. Well, there were many restaurants, but, understandably, many of them served fish, fish and more fish. Since we don't truly care for fish, we were left with the one choice of chicken on the menu. No further explanation, only chicken. Whereas the fish was described in detail. Well, we read many restaurants menus and then decided to head for a different part of town. We did explore for hours. We even found the red-light district by accident. In the end, we ended back at a restaurant we'd been by hours ago. It was Henry Bean's American food that night. A shame after Friday's big hit, but we were hungry!
Sunday we started at Pizza Hut and then headed to the downtown area and the old town. We took many enjoyable stops to view the city as we headed up the hill. The architecture was very Mediteranean and historic. It was clear and sunny and nice just to gaze out to sea. There were also cats to watch on the nearby rooftops!
After exploring all over ourselves, we caught a taxi to the airport. He suggested that he could take us on a driving tour around town before we needed to catch our flight. We agreed and saw a whole new side of Lisbon. He also explained how the pastel colors we saw on all the buildings were planned by the city. In an attempt to improve the city, the city was paying for painting, but you only had a few pastel colors to choose from. He also explained about a flower competition that awarded one street with the best street award. After driving 10 minutes along the coast, we saw the area with the major tourist attractions and many restaurants. We also drove through a very large park and looked down upon the whole city. It was a nice way to end our weekend!
The architecture was impressive in the main square. The pastel colors were also appealing to Tara. Here is Seth sitting in front of the main square by the water.
Tara thought that finding both of our initials carved into a small stairway near our hotel was fun.
When: January 31 - February 2, 1997
31 Jan - British Airways flight 504 departing London at 6:25pm. Seats 9A & C
Travel Times London - Lisbon
Hotel: Lisboa Sheraton Hotel Rua Latino Coelho, 1 - found in the entertainment book. Room + food = PTE 27,350. GBP 105.20
Room was 17,500 per night. We enjoyed 1 Feb at the pool and spent 4,000 + 2,450 poolside.