Thursday, September 1, 2016

Europe 2016 Trip Notes # 6

Europe 2016 Trip Notes # 6

Our last few hours in Salamanca was spent wandering around the old town. We stumbled upon an indoor market - lots of fun watching the vendors prepare and sell their wares. 

 Very Fresh - No Smell - No Flies!

 Any Type And Cut of Meat Is Available

 How About Some Olives?  

 What About Fruit And Vegetables?

Now, This Was a Big Fish!

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Depending on Google Map's "attitude" and the GPS' "disposition of the day, driving from Salamanca (Spain) to Lisbon (Portugal) could take a maximum of four hours to over six hours - and that's not getting lost. With that in mind, we were on the road by 9:00 AM.

We were pleasantly surprised at the ease of getting to central Lisbon; that was until we reached the two-step process: Finding our Lisbon B&B (first step was to drop off our luggage) and then to return the rental car (located 10 minutes from the B&B).

Once in the heart of Lisbon, it took about an hour to find the B&B - that was even with the help of the B&B day manager.
Trying to find the downtown rental car office was an awful experience. The GBS took us out of Lisbon, across a bridge (similar in design to the Golden Gate Bridge), into local neighborhoods across the bay and then back to the central Lisbon area.

Our B&B (And Care Rental Office) Is Far Away!  :((((

Then, our situation worsened...

GBS did not recognize that downtown Lisbon was being torn up due to expanding the Metro and other large construction projects. With "No Left Turns," No Right Turns," closing of lanes and grid lock, we were almost ready to hail a taxi to escort us to the rental office.

Success! Frustration aside, we returned the car and used a taxi to get back to our B&B.

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We've been to Lisbon in the past. Unlike the last time, when we concentrated on palaces, museums and other historical sites, we spent the late afternoon and morning the following day walking the pedestrian zones, taking in secondary and tertiary sites and just doing the "local scene."

Beautiful Fountains And Pedestrian Area

 Typical Iberian Architecture - Many Locals Socializing/Eating Here 

 Administrative Building

Popular Tram

Dinner was at a highly recommended restaurant - recommended not only by a friend but also Trip Advisor. Pinoquio (an outdoor restaurant), is located on one of the main boulevards (Calle Liberdade). It specializes in fish and offers a lot of ambiance. In addition to the location, the male servers are "characters."

Our meal consisted of a large bowl of fresh shrimp, a large bowl of clams, garlic bread and olives along with local wine and beer.

Guess who peels and cleans the shrimp?

Sitting next to us were two young women. Naturally, we started up a conversation with them. One of the women is from Turkey, the other from Iran. After the normal pleasantries, we discussed the recent (attempted) coup in Turkey and the potential trade opportunities between The West and Iran. Their responses were fascinating.

The Turkish woman did not have an opinion or position, per se about the coup attempt. She sort of scoffed at the idea. She was also surprised at last week's joint military effort of Turkey and the USA against Isis.

The Iranian woman had not considered  the economic benefit that both Iran and USA would gain re the USA and other Western countries selling capital goods.

We do not think that these woman were being careful in what they might say to strangers. Rather, these women travel a lot and probably, they are (somewhat) out of touch with the day-to-day happenings.

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Our B&B room was more than adequate. It was clean, in a great location and best of all, there was an "all you can drink" decanter of a delicious Portuguese brandy. Originally, the hotel was a fancy 19th Century home. As a result of the modifications to make it into a hotel, our room may have been the kitchen or a living room area. There was a large fireplace that had been closed off. 
 An added room feature was a balcony that overlooked a park.

Very Comfortable Room

After a good breakfast, we wandered down a hill and into the downtown area -- poking our heads into interesting stores, checking out bakeries, observing the daily happenings and ultimately ending at the wharf area.

Local Park A Few Minutes From Our B&B

Typical Lisbon Street Car

Many street vendors throughout the city

This Old Truck Is Selling CD's (Portuguese Romantic Music)

This Is A Unique Restaurant

Chair Covers Represent Jerseys Of Portuguese National (World Cup) Team

Plenty Of  Memorials And Statues

Novelty Store

One Of Our Favorite Deserts: Pastel De Nata

Elevator Takes People Up To View Local Church

Popular Local Treat: Potato, Cheese and Spices

Local Entertainers

A Happy Day

Arc d' Triumph?

Old, Historical Naval Building: Wooden Ships Used To Tie Up Here

We took a taxi back to the B&B to get our luggage and head back down to wharf area and the new Regent ship. The taxi driver was interesting, had a reasonable command of the English language so we asked him to wait at the B&B while we paid the bill and got the luggage down to the street level.

The entire wharf-to-hotel-to wharf process (with tip) cost about $20. We learned that the taxi driver had to work 12 hours a day - usually six days a week. He may drive around in hope of getting a customer or he may choose to wait for a while in a taxi line. The point? Taxi fares are inexpensive. If he's lucky, it may take an entire day to earn $20. He was lucky to get us as a customer.

We left Portugal with happy memories: The people, the food, the overall experience and, the tiles.

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