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Christmas Eve Day in Lisbon

December 24, 2010

Written December 27

Friends and Families ,

This is the fourth and last part of our Great Lisbon Adventure.

It is December 24, Christmas Eve . The original plan was to take the day to go to Sintre, reportedly a wonderful colonial town with great examples of palaces, houses and parks. That was the plan, but the reality is that yesterday wore out Marianne's hip, so we were going to limit strolls for this, our last, day in Lisbon.

Morning Walk

I (John) did do an early morning walk, this time inland up into the Bairro Alto district. There was a long stairway available, but I opted for the cute little cable car. Up on top, I wandered into a bakery and bought a traditional Christmas "Kings' Bread" ring and fried things that looked like donut holes gone big. After that, I walked through the neighborhood to an oversight that had a wonderful view of the whole harbor. A great walk.

A few photos

Trolley Tour

Back at the apartment, we gathered our troupes and headed out. The first stop was a real cafe con leite (milk coffee) at a simple, stand-up bar. I think we should have been doing this all week! After that, we decided to go on a bus tour, since that fit with exploring with one of our trouper's bad hip. It turns out that there are several bus-type tours, but the one we really wanted was a street trolley.

Our little red trolley wandered through much of the old parts of Lisbon, often in streets no wider than the vehicle. It gave us great views of the neighborhoods -- but the photos were almost impossible because everything was so cramped. No matter, we would recommend the trip for sure.

More photos

Lunch, Walking, and Christmas Eve Dinner

After the red trolley ride we started a search for lunch. First, we walked several blocks up Avenida Atlantica, a main shopping street downtown but restaurants were scarce. Why? Because on a parallel street to the East, there were dozens! We passed these, not knowing which place to choose, but every time there was a street hawker trying to entice us into his establishment, we walked on by. After three blocks, we found a place that looked pleasant, had no hawkers, and showed a menu with all we could ask for.

It was indeed all we could ask for, particularly the pleasant service. The waiter was most gracious and willing to chat a bit. He said he would leave work after three pm closing and go home to Christmas Eve dinner with 74 family members. It sounded like how Christmas Eve dinner should be. (Ours as tourists with friends was OK, but next year I think we'll be with family again.)

Last photos

After that it was a slow walk back to the apartment. After too short a time, we ate again, this time a delicious chicken veggie soup from Alice.

The next morning we cleaned up, ate too may leftovers, got the apartment refund back from Patricia, and boarded taxis for the airport. Alice and Chuck were staying at an airport hotel so they could catch their early flight to London and their connection to Washington DC. Marianne and I had a pair of afternoon and evening Air Berlin flights, first to Majorca and then on to Nuremberg.

So, we spent Christmas traveling back to land of snow and ice. But that's another story.

John and Marianne


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