Published: January 27th 2008January 27th 2008
Picnic in Lisbon
We walked quite a ways to find a place that was quiet and with no sunglass salesmen. We had a great picnic here overlooking the city.
We got into Lisbon yesterday. There is a good internet store here so we´ve been able to post some pictures and a couple videos. I think I lost our camera´s USB cable....again. So we´ll have to locate another before posting again.
Thank you all for your comments and messages. It´s hard to leave all our friends and family and it´s so nice to hear from you.
We got in to Lisbon and caught a bus to the center of town. Walked around for a while looking for a hostel or internet to search for hostels and ended up right were we started with a room for 30 euros for the two of us. We´ll stay here for one more night and then go to a B&B that is a little bit more but will have a place to eat. The food here is good but not Fantastic so we´d prefer to pick up food from a market and enjoy on a balcony overlooking the city than spending the money to eat out. This immediate area is also quite touristy and noisy with a lot of commotion.
We´re having a good time. We just witnessed a organized purse-snatch. It
View of city at night
This city is a great place for walking...everything is so old and beautiful.
was right next to us and happened as the waiter was taking our coffee order. Afterward it made so much sense. We had both been distracted by this strange lady wearing a big fur coat and looking kind of eccentric. Heather had noticed 3 men behind us. Two selling sun glasses to all the out-door patrons and not sure what the other, younger one was doing. He walked into the store very casually just before the lady in fur. I only noticed because I was asking heather if that was the 3rd guy she was talking about since the three were behind me and I had only caught their reflection. She didn´t answer because at that time there was some commotion behind us and all the waiters started after someone in the store. I think it was the lady in fur. I don´t think they got away with the purse.
It was odd and a blessing that Heather had felt uncomfortable with our hip pack sitting beside her and decided to put it in her lap just before all this took place. From where we sat it would have made a better target for the purse snatch. We had
View from our room
All the streets are narrow with beautiful old buildings. Our room is in a building that is over 500 years old.
a good time discussing it and then watching all the sunglasses-sellers (about 4) work their rounds with the patrons. Our prognosis was that they were part of a bigger scam. They wore suits and carried about 5 pair of sunglasses and worked their way through the tables. They kept a block of hash in the other hand and would offer it as well just after offering the sunglasses. [since arriving we´ve probably been offered Hash and marajuna about 7 times] This gave them a perfect opportunity to scope out the tables watching for loose purses. Then they´d stand off to the side of the tables and occasionally someone would come by and they´d chat for a while...one of these was the 3rd man that preceded the woman in fur and he was so casual that no one would have noticed him (I wouldn´t except for Heathers comment earlier). Heather noticed what looked like a ring leader in a leather jacket that kept back but also kept an eye on all the others and walked by a couple times and made comments to them. I hate to sound ethno-phobic but I wondered if they were gypsies. Several looked like they could
View from our room
Here is Heather enjoying a little "people watching" from our room.
be brothers and they all looked of the same ethnic background but not so much different to be readily noticeable. It may have just been the way they dressed.
It´s difficult to relax with an espresso at an outdoor cáfe because of the guys selling sunglasses (they were everywhere...not just that cáfe) and the other pan handlers and peddlers. One guy just wouldn´t leave us alone last night. Maybe we are just too polite by our culture. I don´t mind being asked but wish there was some way to convey that I really mean "no". In S. America there were peddlers but they were actually selling things they made, were always smiling and polite, and politely said "gracias" or "obrigado" (thank you) and went on. There was no (or very little) haggling, persistence, rudeness, or swindling.
This is a neat town and the layout is amazing. It´s like they purposely created a labyrinth with so many odd stairways, hills, and alleys. I´m fortunate to be with Heather who is always so aware of where we are and what´s going on around us.