After a 3-hour delay, we finally landed in Portugal around 11 am. Can't complain. Everything went smoothly, including the 14 euro cab ride to the hotel. My room was even waiting for me.
Normally I can't wait to go out and explore, but jet lag caught up with me early and I decided just to chill. Took a nice nap and freshened up, ready to meet my fellow travelers at 5.
We have a nice group of travelers of mixed ages. Our guide is Robert Wright, who is featured on Rick's podcasts about Portugal.
Following information and introductions, we embarked on a walk down the Avenida da Liberdade. This tree-lined grand boulevard connects the old town with the new, where our hotel, Hotel Lisboa Plaza, is located. Reminiscent of the Champs-Élysées in Paris, it is flanked by various shops and businesses and 8 noisy lanes of traffic.
Robert pointed out the "calada a Portuguese," the stone mosaic pavement. These can be seen all over Portugal and are unique to the country. They are made of limestone (white) and basalt (black) stones that are chipped to fit tightly together.
We walked down to Rossio Square where the 1900 Rossio Station is located. You can read "Central Station" on its two horseshoe arches.
Then Robert treated us to "liquid sightseeing" - ginjinha, a favorite Lisbon drink. It is made from a sour cherry-like ginja berry, sugar, cinnamon and brandy. It is sold for 1.10 euros at funky old shops throughout downtown. It was really quite tasty.
From there we walked back up the Avenida and had dinner together at Sanchos. The weather was perfect and we had a lovely evening.