Our day began once again at Santa Eulalia, the little coffee shop we discovered on Calle Espejo. Sometimes I hate finding these places because then I am sad to leave – I just want to go to them again and again and again. Habituated mainly by locals, we were once of a couple of tables of travelers. Everything about this place is perfect, the coffee, the chocolate covered croissant, the 17thcentury interior walls. Even the music, today it was Mozart’s “Requiem,” made all that much more special but the beams and the ancient brickwork. I had a long chat with the owner about the music, and then about Portugal, our destination for the day. We bid him “adieu” for the day, promising to pass on the wonder of his place and to return next year.
We’ve had the best luck with taxi drivers on this trip. Today’s was from Ecuador, and we had a long talk on the way to Barajas about the climate, Mexico, the traffic and anything else that could stretch our Spanish. Talking with these guys has been a big highlight of these trips, it just makes that person to person connection that travel is supposed to grant you, all that much more vivid.
There were many hours between our arrival at the airport and our departure time, so we spent them hanging out in the TAP (Air Portugal) lounge availing ourselves of the food and the WiFi. Lunch was a nice little pot of stewed beef shank and potatoes, not something you’d find in the Admirals Club at DFW.
While we were standing in line to board, we had probably the weirdest little coincidence possible. Yesterday at the coffee shop when I went up to pay, I saw a middle-aged couple sitting near the coffee bar. The guy, sort of a dumpy gray long-haired fellow, was reading the same Madrid guide that I favor. I mentioned this to MLW and we chatted about the nature of tourists for a couple of minutes. Today, they came into the coffee shop again and sat across the room from us. They were joined by another couple, and the two women got into a loud, passionate discussion about “something.” Well, this stuff happens, other travelers find the same place as you’ve found and you see them a couple of times before everyone goes on their separate ways.
So, I’m waiting to get on-board, and I take a look off to the side and lo and behold, there’s that same dumpy gray long-haired guy walking up to get into the boarding line at the next gate over from us. I do a full scan, and his partner is there along with the other couple that had joined them in the coffee shop. I mean, c’mon – from an obscure coffee shop on an even more street in Madrid to the next departure gate in one of 4 terminals at Barajas with the same departure time. Really? The universe works in strange ways.
The plane ended up being about a half-hour late, but eventually it took off for our (all of) one-hour flight. Speaking of time zones, we are being seriously being put upon. Our switch to DST at home, -1 hour, then +7 hours to Spain, then -1 hour to Lisbon today and then +1 hour this coming Sunday. I’m not sure where we are or what time it’s supposed to be. Although, being on vacation, I suppose it really doesn’t matter.
Anyway, it was a short uneventful flight, but it was very interesting coming in for a landing. As I mentioned, Lisbon is a new one for us so the vista out the plane window was extraordinary – the huge estuary of the Tagus River, long, beautiful bridges from the city to the peninsula, an ocean beach that went on for as far as I could see and thousands of red-tile roofed buildings hugging the water. In the late afternoon light, quite extraordinary and very beautiful.
The airport to the apartment – tomorrow.