Monday, November 25, 2013

Arrival in Lisbon

Sunday was a day of travel, up early to catch the tube to Heathrow, only to discover the first Piccadilly line train wasn't for another 40 minutes. Listened to the tannoy announcement at 5-minute intervals while I shivered on the 5-degree platform. Was able to cash in my oyster card and get a £9 refund on unused travel and £5 oyster card deposit. Oyster card travel is about 1/2 price of paying cash! 

The departure lounge in Heathrow terminal 5 is much less claustrophobic than it was 5 years ago, thanks to vast windows and no smoking.

Beautiful ceiling seen during layover in Madrid airport.

Getting to my hotel in Lisbon was straightforward thanks to extensive research before I left Vancouver, since I really wanted to avoid getting lost. Lisbon is beautiful and it's so wonderful to be in a small city again after London.

Okay, so this is one of the things the I find nerve-shattering about travelling: trying to find your hotel in a strange city before night falls. As you can see below, it's getting dark as I finally get to the street my hotel is supposed to be on. Artbeat said in their email that I had to call them so they could get to reception and open up for me. But no answer from the airport. I decided rather than hang around, I'd get on the aerobus.

Seen here is one of the tiled streets of central Lisbon (Baixa district) where my hotel is supposed to be. I wander up and down the block and finally stop in front of a grim-looking door (below). By now it's quite dark but fortunately the street is well-lit. I look at the intercom and see a little piece of brown paper. Have to fumble out my glasses to read Artbeat Rooms in coloured handwriting. These photos where taken in daylight, but it was very iffy-looking in the dark. So I buzz and miraculously, the door opens.

Inside there's a pretty nice foyer and then it's up four flights of stairs with the suitcase. As is typical with old European buildings, the stairs get narrower, steeper, and meaner the higher you go. Stone and tile give way to lino and wood veneer. Finally I arrive in front of a Jackson Pollack-style door, which I assume must be the entrance to Artbeat Rooms.

Fortunately, when I knock, I'm let in by a sweet Polish art student and am led to my pretty room. 

Here's my very pleasant Andy Warhol-themed room in a small hotel with self-service kitchen and wifi everywhere, 24 hours (yes!). No ensuite though - boo, shame!, as Little Wolf would say.
But Lisbon is freezing! High of 13 and down to 5 at night. I only have one long-sleeved Tshirt, so must go shopping toot sweet.

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