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Around the World in 210 Days

Lazy in Lisbon

PORTUGAL | Sunday, 4 November 2007 | Views [842] | Comments [6]

By the lack of posting, you have probably assumed we have been very busy here in Lisbon doing all sorts of exciting things. Actually, we’ve been somewhat busy, but Lisbon is a city for relaxing in, and you all should know by now that we are very good at that. We have alternated between visiting museums and strolling aimlessly through the old cobbled streets, checking out the street vendors and a random gathering of Capoeira fighter/dancers (Capoeira is the Brazilian martial art disguised as a dance, very interesting and nice instruments), and ate some roasted chestnuts, streetside (and I mean on EVERY street; white smoke coming from a little aluminum stove, and they give you a bag for the shells). It has been slow at times but always with perfect weather and some very nice sights. Our first day here started with a cloudy train ride from Porto, and we arrived at St. Apolonia, the last train station in Lisbon. We lugged our luggage (hey, maybe that’s where the term came from?) and pondered whether we could walk to our host’s flat or if we needed to take a cab. I had drawn another of my handy maps, so we had a few cross streets to go off of, but other than a vague remembrance of the station being five kilometers from the apartment, we didn’t know what we’d be facing, so we opted for a five euro cab ride. It ended up being a six or seven euro cab ride because Mr. Cabbie, who was apparently tipped off to the fact that any time Alex and I try new modes of foreign transportation it has to be more difficult than it should be, could not find the flat. Granted, it did require driving up (literally—up a hill) four or five one way streets, and after going in two circles he finally found the way (after shouting something in Russian—wait, Portuguese to a passerby). We found the apartment and buzzed up to our host, Myriam’s flat, but to no avail. We climbed the stairs with our luggage and knocked on her door but again there was nothing. We opened up our laptop, which had about ten minutes of battery thanks to me writing on the train over, and tried getting access to our email and hopefully Myriam’s phone number. Of course, the internet was down, so we were stranded in the stairwell for about fifteen minutes. Finally a man came up the stairs with ten sacks of groceries and set them down at Myriam’s doorstep. We mumbled “Myriam?” and pointed at the door. He nodded, and left. A few seconds later we heard Myriam coming up the stairs, asking why we hadn’t called (our answer could have been something like: our laptop battery is dead, there is no internet, and even if both weren’t true we don’t have your phone number in our email anyway.). But alas, we made it into our home for the next month. The flat we are staying in is cool; three bedrooms, the necessary kitchen and internet (which was fixed the next day), and a breakfast nook, which is a converted balcony perfect for listening to the crazy birds outside (one of them sounds like a monkey). The first night we were there Myriam was so happy we weren’t serial killers she opened a jar of caviar, gave it to us on crackers, and cooked us a delicious meal, which we consumed with four bottles of wine. The next morning, she made us breakfast. We weren’t huge fans of the caviar, but with four bottles of wine, well what doesn’t taste good? Myriam also cooked us a really great meal, which was (shockingly) made of many fish. Alex and I both marveled at how good fish can taste, and have decided maybe we won’t give up completely on the “eating fish” concept. Anyhow, Myriam informed us that she was going to throw a black tie party on Halloween, at which point we informed her we had nothing remotely “black tie” in our seven-days-worth of clothing. Luckily (for Alex) Myriam had some extra dresses, but since I refused to play THAT kind of dress up on Halloween, I opted for a black sweater and jeans. Myriam, being an actress in Lisbon, had a friend who had produced a documentary that was airing in a film festival the next day, and so she hooked us up with tickets to the film. It was fun, and strange, and afterward we found a small art exhibit about Lebanon and checked it out.
When Halloween came, we spent the day getting ready for the party, buying snacks, chilling champagne, and creating a playlist of rockin’ 80s music. It was a fun party, as Myriam’s friends were all really nice and cool to talk to… and whoever made the playlist was really brilliant. After quite a few hours of revelry and what not, Alex and I decided that our quiet, people-less, lockable bedroom would be a nice place to sleep… and aside from the party continuing until oh, seven in the morning, we were able to sleep pretty well. The next day was All Saints Day, which is apparently widely celebrated here, but as our festivities got the best of us the night before, we didn’t do too much to celebrate all of the saints. We also visited the castle of Sao Jorge, which was really cool and had amazing 360 degree views of Lisbon, and ate pastries at the most famous bakery in Lisbon, Pasteis de Belem, which are like little custard tart things that you cover in powdered sugar, cinnamon, and powdered sugar. They are fantastic, and we are going to try to make them when we get home. Yesterday we visited an art/artifact museum we can’t pronounce but looks like a German name (Gerblunkin?) and a really cool garden full of trees, which was a nice change from the concrete world of downtown Lisbon. Something we’ve noticed that is cool about museums here are the contents. Almost everywhere we have been the main contents of the museums are paintings and sculptures. Here, the museums are eclectic mixes of paintings, sculptures, furniture, pottery, tiles, crowns, coins, and as we found out today, really old steam-powered power plants. That is, today we went to the Museum of Electricity, which is housed in a coal power plant that was used until the fifties. It was really interesting, as you get to walk through the center of a boiler and see what it’s like to be burning coal. Alex and I kissed each other while attached to one exhibit (for kids) and felt quite a spark. The day ended, of course, with two chocolate sundaes from McDonald’s.

Tags: Party time



This will sound repetitive but FINALLY!!!!!
Finally a post appears!
Finally I get some info.
Now I can run brag to all of my friends about my world travelers.
Man those Portuguese parties go longer than a campfire party at Timberon, New Mexico don't they? It was nice to hear about something you guys did rather than make up stuff in my head. Fewer ambulances and international police in real life.
It is really hard to live vicariously through your kids when you don't know what they are doing.
I took a nap today and thought I bet Andrew is doing this exact same thing too in some remote exotic place in the world.

The only thing better would be if we got a report on Africa from Mardi, and a report on how hard lawyers work from Annie, and a word or two from Spanky and Lefty.
THEN you could say you had a blog goin'.

  Richard Nov 5, 2007 10:23 AM


Neat post, I've been working like a crazy person to finish my room.

  Lefty Nov 6, 2007 1:52 AM


Isn't capoeira great??? I want to learn (and there are classes in Austin!) FOUR bottles of wine????? You guys have built up quite the tolerance! I'm impressed - I would have been on the floor before the second bottle was emptied! Have fun!

  tabitha Nov 6, 2007 9:19 AM


Andrewalex, please stop sharing your blog with too many people. You know what um sayin'? I'd have much more to write if you'd stop that, and your posts would be funnier. You know what um sayin'? Alright then.

Richard, you don't know what you're asking for when you ask for a description of my hard-working life. I mean, if you want to hear about asbestos-related diseases, oh, fear not, I can tell you every, single, minute, ultra-super-fascinating detail. But I'm offering you mercy here, a chance to deny you ever asked for such a thing. I think, instead, YOU should tell US about life in the L.T. (Lubbock, Texas). You know -- hayrides, cow-tipping, ice-blocking, tailgating, ranching, rodeos, peace rallies, gay pride parades, communes -- the usual. That way, Andrewalex has something to look forward to upon its homecoming.

I, too, am impressed by your drinking skills! Four bottles means that Andrew and Myriam had a whole bottle to themselves!

  Annie Nov 8, 2007 3:52 AM


The Shanandrewlex Crime syndicate had me knocked off the internet for a few days but I am baaaack. Turns out the little crybabies don't like getting flooded with emails and commentary so they hired some AT&T goons to try to silence me.

The one thing that I kept saying to myself to comfort me during the pain of coming off internet addiction cold turkey was...
"well at least I know I am not missing any new postings on the travel site."
I knew a month or so had not passed so I wasn't about to hear any "news."

It is good to see that Annie is alive and ready to replace the striking comedy writers. If and when she ever gets tired of being a high powered attorney where she is constantly rolling in the big bucks singing 2LiveCrew's "Me So thelioma".

I will be laughing about the way Annie figures the wine bottles were divided up for the next week. You know what they say, "it's funny cause it's true."

If I don't see some Lisbon related news posted here really soon I WILL resort to posting about the gay cow tipping contests and other things you don't even suspect go on in such a sophisticated city as Lubbock Texas (the center of the universe).

Andrew and/or Alex. Have you eaten any Mexican food yet or has all my fatherly advice about true happiness been rejected yet again???

  Richard Nov 9, 2007 4:43 AM


i do not believe this i google gerblunkin and your post on this blog comes up, that is sad. are you strolling through the streets because you have nothing better to do or are you really lost, hmmmmmmmmm. well as you can tell you guys are rubbing off on those you come in contact with (lost cab driver) as we know they never get lost, if you don't watch it you might cause an international incident. are you people trying to tell me that shannon drank 2 bottles of wine by herself, i will have you know she never did things like this before andrew. i think it was great you had a holloween party but did you get to trick or treat and get lots of candy? i hope so as that will save you a ton of money for those chocolate cravings we know who gets. did you get the package yet i do not see new pictures posted and i know you are testing the new camera so get with it you two. i was happy to see all the new postings will have fun reading and catching up on you. love mom

  mardi Nov 17, 2007 10:59 AM

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