Location: A rest stop somewhere in the Portuguese countryside. Today our spring break started. Technically it’s next week, but since B finished this teaching week today at noon, we are getting a head start. Our spring break plans are to spend a week traveling through Portugal with our friend and B’s colleague D. D has traveled extensively and invited us to tour through Portugal with him. It was great not having to do the planning! Flying to Portugal from Spain isn’t as easy as one would think. Everything goes through Madrid and flight prices weren’t that inexpensive and when you multiply it by 4 people, renting a car and making the 4 1/2 hour drive seemed better (and more adventurous). The drive over the border was uneventful. There wasn’t even a sign that said “Welcome to Portugal”. We figured we were there when we weren’t able to understand the road signs anymore. We did make a stop to consume our picnic lunch, fill up the gas tank, and use a toilet. I must say, Portugal has got the rest stop thing down. They are every 30 – 40 kilometers along the highways and they have everything you might need; gas, convenient store full of snacks and caffeine, a restaurant in case you want to buy a sit down meal, a picnic area in case you packed your own, lots of places for running around if you have kids or dogs, a playground, and bathrooms with toilet paper and soap! (This is not a given in Spain). I took my first turn at driving through Europe today. Driving out on the highway through the countryside is easy and not at all stressful. I let B have a nap so he would be alert and awake by the time we made it to Lisbon, which we’ve heard is a nightmare to drive in. We easily made it to Lisbon and into the thick of the city. Our GPS got a little confused with all the one way streets, but eventually we made it close to our apartment and parked and walked the rest of the way. My first impression of Lisbon is that it is beautiful and reminiscent of San Francisco. The streets are very hilly, there are trolleys, and we drove on a giant red bridge over a huge bay to get into the city. Looking forward to exploring here the next few days.
Photography Credit: Brandon