Helen and the girlfriends went for their usual morning run and seemed to cope better this morning as it was not as hot as previous days. The rest of the morning was just spent packing and doing some last-minute sun tanning (in the case of Helen who now looks Portuguese after a week in the sun). Lunch was made up of eating all the leftovers and then after lunch we hit the road back up to Lisbon. It is about 250kms on motorway the whole way up to Lisbon. It is a fantastic road (which you pay for the privilege of using – €20) and at times it seemed we were the only car on the road. We must have driven for 20-30 minutes without seeing another car on our side of the road (and it is a 2-lane and sometimes a 3-lane highway). There is also really not a lot to see. Some farming and pretty much nothing else. It does look remarkably like parts of South African landscape though. Part Mpumlanga, part Karoo desert, part Malmesbury.
We arrived at the hotel at about 5pm. We are staying at the airport hotel again (same one we stayed when we arrived) as our flight is at 6:45am tomorrow morning. We didn’t get the executive floor this time but the rooms are still quite nice and comfortable. As we had the evening to kill here we decided to head in central Lisbon for a walk around and then have dinner. It was quite a nice evening (around 24 degrees) and being a Friday night it was very vibrant. Taxi’s are also quite cheap in Lisbon and it only cost us €10 to get from the hotel to the city centre. We had Ayrton Senna as our taxi driver (and if he keeps driving at 100km/h in the city centre – not kidding – then he will end up like Ayrton Senna too) and Helen reckons they had Sylvester Stallone driving theirs!
There is a large pedestrian zone in Lisbon and we got the taxi’s to drop us at the start of it and then we ambled down to the sea and back up again. We had done this in January when we were here last and there were a lot fewer people and it was a lot colder too. There are people playing music (someone playing the panpipes this time) and a few fire eaters even. At the sea there is a Plaza and they were setting up for a concert and doing sound checks etc which added to the atmosphere. It also seems that we stopped at every store selling sunglasses for everyone to try out some new glasses. This seems to have become ‘a thing we do this holiday’ though I haven’t yet seen the attraction or tried on a pair yet. Everyone else has and today Lara (yes Bryan I assume this is another essential living item) and Helen bought themselves a pair.
There are numerous side-walk restaurants and everyone tries their utmost to get you to come to their restaurant. Everyone has the freshest fish, best cuts of meat and today someone even offered us a free bottle of wine. We eventually selected one and everyone was very unimpressed by the pictures on their menu – they were quite off-putting. However, as we had already ordered drinks we just stuck it out and the food was (fortunately) much better than the pictures on the menu. Someone needs to give them a hand on selection of pictures for the menu!
Taxi back to the hotel and hopefully an early night for everyone. It is amazing that even in the taxi’s we have kept the same groupings – Michael, Oli & I in one vehicle and Stephen, Lara, Chloe and Helen in the other.
P, H, S, L, M, O & C (no particular reason for the order today and everyone finally behaved themselves and didn’t offend me)