We left Boston on Icelandic Air on a Friday night with a scheduled landing in Reykjavik sometime in the middle of the night. There was such a severe snowstorm in the capital that we had to circle the airport 4 times. By the time we landed, the scheduled departure for our connecting flight to Orly had already passed. Not to worry, they announced, "all connecting flights are delayed until all planes in the air have landed." So, after a 3 hour delay, we finally took off from Iceland to France.
Jacques picked us up at Orly and we arrived in Le Chesnay around 3 pm where Claire had prepared a lunch of endives, wrapped in ham, in bechamel sauce. This is her mother's old recipe that has become a traditional welcome meal when we land in Paris.
The next day, we flew to Lisbon for the start of a 5 day trip around Portugal. We flew on Tranavia Airlines. It is a low-cost subsidiary of AirFrance. They have very tight baggage restrictions which Judy hates. One bag only, and they mean it. We flew in above the clouds and landed in the rain which was a bad omen for the week.
After picking up a car at SixT, we drove the straight line to our hotel in the center of Lisbon.
It was the Hotel Mundial near the Rossio Square. Very nice hotel with a good location. Here are few photos from our room in the hotel.
We crossed the Rossio Sq and found the funicular which took us to one of the best overlooks in the city. We tried to cram into the car but the conductor waved us off as there was no room for the four of us. Before it actually left, we saw about 6-8 locals come along, open the door and cram into the car. No reaction from the conductor.
Lisbon is very hilly so taking the car up was a good idea.
A view from one of Rick Steves' Best Panoramic Views of Lisbon.
The sun was out and it was pretty warm so we took a break for hot coffee\. (Don't ask).
The tiles in Lisbon and all over Portugal are stunning. Here are a couple of examples.
And here is a building covered with tiles.
The walk down to Sea-level passed through some interesting neighborhoods, by some nice restaurants and had some great vista.
Saint George's Castle in the background...
Our time in Lisbon was too short. We barely scratched the surface as tourists. But, on tuesday morning, we packed up the car and headed out of town on our way to Porto.
Driving in Lisbon was not for the faint of heart. It took all my experience of driving a cab in Boston, driving through New York City, driving around the Arc de Triumphe at rush-hour, driving the Almafi Coast and managing the round-abouts while driving on the "wrong side of the road" in the U.K.
But we made it.
Before heading to Porto, we did take a quick detour to the Belem area and had a quick visit at the Monastery of Saint Jeronimo. The line was too long to visit the cloister but we did have time to stop into the Cathedral for a few photos.
Sand castle like facade of the Monastery.
Tomb of Vasco de Gama, great Portugese explorer who "discovered" the ocean route to India.
No idea who or what this is. Just needed to be photographed.
Off to Porto