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JASSENDEAVOR 'm going to travel around the world, easternly, from the good ole USA. I plan to be traveling for about 4 months, but who knows what will happen? This is my global adventure. It's a chance to write my own story; but the details will have to be filled i

Landing

PORTUGAL | Wednesday, 4 February 2009 | Views [492]

Day 0 - Zurich Airport layover - One of the smoothest landings ever got me into Europe, officially. Inside the airport, I enjoyed a bullet train shuttle that had cowbells and mooing sounds playing of the loudspeaker. A Swiss Miss milk maid smiled at me in one of the media ads that the train rushes by. But I didn´t see any milk maid-ish Swiss Women inside the airport... instead I mostly saw serious faces and leather shoes. Lots of straight hair. The airport overall smelled like smoke, unsurprising since the smoking lounges were so packed with bored-looking people busy smoking in their pen that the doors must stay open nearly as long as they do closed. Also the down escalator smooths out beneath your feet so that you don´t need to pay attention to the steps. Maybe that is why they look so bored, the Swiss just have it all figured out? Just kidding. More likely it´t the fact that we were in an airport. 

Final Destination, Portugal - three hours later - The pilot took us in low well before landing, and I couldn´t take my eyes off the villages below... the beautiful rolling hills, dotted with hamlet-like modern villages. and Windfarms dotting the background.

Tangent - while anticipation of my first European meal was high prior to the trip, (visions of risotto and wine danced in my head a week before packing) reality was that officially, my first European meal was served on Swiss Air, eaten in the clouds over Spain. They served me a roast beef sandwich on a baguette, with a delicious shortbread cookie with raspberry filling and tea for dessert. A+ for Swiss Air!

A full day of flights lands me in quasi-tropical Lisboa, Portugal. It is dead winter here, but patches of sun and rain, and about 50 degrees Farenheit. Hmm, just like... Portland... perhaps more sun. Palm trees adorn the airport outside. I took the aerobus down towards the city center, and hopped off after the rotunda near the hostel I wanted. The bus driver was chatting on his cell phone the whole time, and obviously not a business call. Pretty funny. I found my hostel right where it should be, though streetsigns are scarce. I really wanted to get my backpack off, not because it´s heavy but because it was a downtown area and lunchtime on a Tuesday. Point for Lisboa: people jaywalk like crazy in the streets, just like Boston. At every intersection, about half the people are walking and half are waiting, nomatter what the signal is.

So I found my hostel, which was my only goal for the day. (I´m starting easy.) Gaining extra points, I additionally met a lot of people in the hostel, had a shower, a nap, bought some bread and fruit, and started reading the Princess Bride (Goldman´s, not Morgenstern´s). It´s already clear to me that hostels are the way to go. This one costs me 12 Euros a night, plus a ten euro redeemable locker and key cost. I´ll have to experience couchsurfing before I judge on it, but in general, hostels are nice because you don´t need to be on guard, and can be social. 

Tomorrow´s goal: Get to the train station and validate my Eurail pass. 

A german guy who chatted with me told me something good. He said, "Traveling is easy. The hard part is leaving home." It was a nice thing to hear, since I have already begun.

Tags: airports lisboa, embark, europe, first day, landing, lisboa, lisbon, lisbon

 

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