Wander. Explore. Dine.


The Four Worst Words In Travel? “Damn! She’s Right Again.”

It was a dark and rainy flight. The turbulence was so bad over the Atlantic the lights were mostly out and meals could not be served.

The hard landing at Lisbon’s Portela Airport caused bags and duty free to burst from the overhead compartments. The wind was so strong older people had to be helped down the stair car. We were all drenched before we could board the bus from the runway to the terminal. The only things that flight lacked was the Hudson River and “Sully” Sullenberger.

So very late the plane immediately took off for Porto in the north. An hour later two hundred of us are watching one piece of luggage go around the baggage carousel.

I’m thinking, I wonder what size that person is? I’m here for only two weeks; I can wear anything.

I really want to tear a strip off somebody but I’m traveling with Miss Optimism and negativity is not allowed. Instead, she goes off to sign the lost luggage forms and I go to Auto Jardim where my rental car is suspiciously ready to go.

On Avenue Liberdade the cabbies first honk and then glare at  slow-driving tourists like me. Things calm down when I turn up a narrow street to begin the steep ascent to the Albergaria Senhora do Monte, our hotel at the peak next to the Sao Jorge Castle.

People start waving at us from under their umbrellas. “Don’t know what I did last time I was here,” I said, “but I seem to have made quite the impression.”

I smell smoke and stop the car which…is on fire. So steep is this hillside I couldn’t see the smoke billowing out of the back. I pop the hood and soon, the rain puts the fire out at the bottom of the engine.

We abandon the car and start the steep ascent up the mountainside with our carry-on bags over our heads.

“About 50 minutes to the top,” I ventured.

“This could be worse,” said the optimist.

That’s when I lost it. I’m soaked, tired, jet- lagged and…

“How in the #8%! could this possibly be worse?” I said, a tad too loudly.

To which she said, with some merit I might add:

“We could have luggage.”

Gawd, I hate it when she’s right.

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