I have learned my lesson: Always fly to the port of embarkation in advance. First of all, you can deal with jet lag in a much more efficient way and secondly, fears of missing flights all but disappear. We flew to Lisbon, Portugal via Paris aboard Air France. We chose to spring for Premium Economy, which came in at a somewhat hefty $750 Premium (Roundtrip) over standard Economy. Believe me when I say it was a step up but not nearly as big a jump as we would take coming home in Air France Business Class. There’s more legroom, a slightly wider seat and a minor improvement in catering. But the up charge may be worth the price simply for enabling the use of Sky Priority. These express lines speed you through the check-in process and through security getting you to the plane much faster than the snaking lines of those in Coach. Our early evening departure put us at Charles De Gaulle at about one thirty a.m. our time. Off to Lisbon we went on a connecting flight that landed us in the Portuguese capital before noon local time.
Lisbon was a complete surprise to us. We both agreed that it might not have made the top 20 on our Bucket List. Now, however, we would be sorry to have missed the city and, particularly, the surrounding countryside with its beaches and forests, castles and fortresses. We chose our hotel, the Altis Avenida (Rua 1o de Dezembro, 120) for its location and its rates: Portugal is a very affordable country by our standards. Our hotel room, with its balcony overlooking chic Avenida da Liberdade, was also quite a bargain coming in, with breakfast included, for a little over $200 a night. The room was not large but it contained every possible amenity including a wonderful bathroom. The staff cannot do enough for you and the location could not be more central.
Dinner that night was at a tiny restaurant in a side street up the hill from our Hotel in Lisbon’s Bairro Alto. Lisbon is a sister city to San Francisco right down to its cable cars but particularly because the whole place appears to be built on hill after hill after hill. Every time we suggested walking anywhere, Joao, at the hotel’s front desk, would admonish us to take a cab there and perhaps walk home. Since cabs aren’t particularly expensive, those walks never happened.
|100 Manieras where a 10 course tasting menu cost 60 Euros|