A Patch of Sky a personal travel journal

Lisbon: The Start

Sometime in July, my boss asked me when I was going to use my remaining vacation time. I realized I had no trips planned for the rest of the year and felt a sudden need to get out of the country, preferably before the busy fall season at work.

D and I did some quick thinking about where we might go that would be manageable in five to six days, with a short flight. We narrowed our choices down to Iceland and Lisbon, both recommended by friends. Iceland looks amazing—glaciers, waterfalls, geothermal beaches! But it also looked as if it would require us to be more outdoorsy than we really are. Besides, it was the wrong time of year for puffins. Lisbon promised history, architecture, sunshine, and a lot of walking in sensible shoes (no hiking boots or windbreakers required). Lisbon, here we come!

I usually spend six months or more reading in preparation for a trip, but with less lead time, I had only a couple of slim guidebooks and the excellent Lisbon Lux site under my belt. D, a more spontaneous traveler than I, was content to leave most of the planning to me. All he requires is a really nice hotel and enough down time to sit and watch the world go by. I spent weeks reading and searching posts on TripAdvisor—to the point that I think I managed to confuse myself on a few details, as will be seen a later post.


Our United flight was scheduled for an 8:25 PM departure out of Newark Airport. We don’t like red-eyes, but there weren’t really any other options we could find for direct flights from NYC to LIS.

I intended to skip the airline meal and try to go right to sleep, so I had a mediocre dinner at the airport. Once on the plane, I buckled my seatbelt, wrapped myself in my shawl, stuck in my earplugs, and pulled down my eyemask. Fortunately, we had economy plus seats, which made stretching our legs easier. I drifted off, looking forward to waking up in a new city.