It was one of the longest days ever…but we are in Lisbon! We left Ann & Chris’ RV woodland sanctuary on Tue., Sept. 13 for an overnight stay at a local hotel; then up to NJ to see Wayne’s cousin, Preston and his wife, Toy; then to EWR to return our rental car, figure out how to check bags for “standby”, go through TSA Pre-Approved security (nice!), and camp out at the gate. The waiting was a little tense. There were 6 available seats posted and we were #s 5&6…not bad. Gradually our status moved to 11&12 – not looking so good. At one point Wayne, who has never flown standby before, said, “How long are we going to wait around? Shouldn’t we just leave?”. I, who have flown standby many times, said, “We wait until they close the doors – you just never know.” Indeed, we got the last 2 seats on the plane and found ourselves being whisked to Lisbon. It’s a better high than the coin counting machine at the bank!
We arrived approximately 9am in Lisbon, followed the pictures on the signage, found our checked luggage (a small miracle in its own right) and proceeded to the ground transportation area. Both of us flat out exhausted, a bit overwhelmed and carting around way too much luggage, Wayne finally espied a Tourist Information booth. He was then able to procure a room one day early at the hotel where we had our 2 week reservation and a cab directly to it. Dragging that extra baggage, one flight up, we checked in and collapsed – so grateful that we could check in early before 11am.
After a shower and a brief lay-down, off we went to walk our streets around 1pm. Responding to the hawking of a waiter at one of the gazillion small cafes, we had fish stew and wine…so good. A brief walk out to the port to greet the ocean, the breeze, the smell of the sea air…aaaahhhh! Then back to the room for a deep nap.
Awakened, but not rested (it was only 4pm local time), we went out again, mostly to try to stay awake. More sightseeing, discovered more restaurants (only another half a gazillion), one of which we had yummy fish dinners – grilled sardines and shredded cod. We stumbled home, climbed up those steps, and crashed big time.
After hitting the sheets at approximately 8:15pm, we did not wake until 9:45am! The combination of approximately 2 months of anticipation, preparation, purging, visiting, travelling, stand-by anxiety and the relief of having made the plane, had culminated into the longest sleep I can ever remember. We felt fantastico. As our flight attendant reminded us, “You live here now.”