After an afternoon of bike racing on the television we decided to go and redeem the vouchers for our Lisbon Card. I haven’t invested in one of these deals before, but this one seemed like a pretty good deal relative to our agenda. Free admission to every museum on our list along with free rides on all the various forms of public transport. The redemption place was down the block along the river so off we went.
Late afternoon was just beautiful – a sea breeze off the Rio Tagus estuary, a cruise ship heading out to the ocean, as big container ship sitting at anchor. The card was easy to pick up so that concluded we walked along the river towards our next goal, The Sé, Lisbon’s 14th century cathedral.
I’d had it in my mind that it was down on the level of the waterfront but rounding the corner and seeing it hundreds of feet up in the sky, took what little resolve I had and flushed it out of my system. Here only a day and a quarter, and frankly I am done climbing. The cathedral was immediately relegated to “we’ll go there once we figure out the tram schedule.” I mean, we did pay for free public transportation.
In the mood for something different for dinner, Italian came to mind, so I did a little searching and found a couple of restaurants nearby. This of course is where the Tyranny of the Reviews comes into play and once you start reading them, you don’t know what to do. “Worst food I’ve ever eaten, everything was full of sand” right next to “The food is so good, I ate here 9 times on my vacation.” How do you decide? I long for the good old days where you just spotted a restaurant, went in, found something to order and threw the dice.
Two options looked promising, so we decided that even though they were in opposite directions, we’d walk by one, have a look and if it didn’t grab us, we’d go on to the next. La Vita è Bella passed visual muster so we asked for a table. I hadn’t bothered to book a reservation on-line, and so the hostess was a bit flummoxed but finally sat us next to what appeared to be an Asian father and daughter couple. We sat and talked about our day for a bit, when the Dad looked over and asked where we from. They were from Hong Kong and he was here with his child for spring break. She’s a student at college in Rhode Island, studying climate science. One thing led to another, and eventually the precise reason for them being here was – they both ride and they’d spent the week prior on Lusitano horses in the southwest of Portugal. You can only imagine where the conversation went from there, eating, talking, having a great time.
Seriously, what are the odds of this? He was originally from South Korea, and so he and I talked at great lengths about my time in Dalian. She was an experienced hunter-jumper rider so she and MLW talked about that. We talked about our horses and the various places we’d all been for horse-related activities. In the end it was as though we’d gone out to dinner as a foursome, just one more of those truly wonderful experiences that travel brings you.
Still early, we took one more stroll up one of the pedestrian streets, stopping at a pastelariawhere I bought a fun looking chocolate souffle for a late-night dessert. Interestingly, the streets at 9:30 on Saturday were far less crowded than they’d been last night. We continued down towards the river before looping back towards our place. At the Arc, the same guy who whispered “Hashish?” in my ear last night, did so again. I didn’t bother to say “no” tonight.
Tomorrow, we’ll see. We’re thinking it’s probably time to try the Metro, out to the tile museum and perhaps then on to the world’s second-largest aquarium.