June 3, 2024

Time to head home

Well, it’s been a great trip, but it is time to head home. We have a night in Lisbon and then an 11AM flight to Philadelphia tomorrow morning.

This post is a bit of a mishmash of the last day, and some summary thoughts about random stuff. Maybe more about our Polestar EV than is really necessary LOL.

After driving toward Lisbon for a while we stopped about 45km from the airport to have lunch, which looked like it was in the middle of a field. Well, not a field but a vineyard. We had a really nice Tapas lunch. Calamari, Squid, steak a couple of different ways, and some nice wine in a very nice setting. One of the dishes was called Pica-Pau which I have the recipe for and will definitely try to make this summer!

Drop off at the airport was chaotic, but the metro to our apartment was fine. Although we learned on the ride that we didn’t have hot water in one of the bathrooms or the kitchen. After being ghosted by our first AirBnB host here in Lisbon this was a bit much, but this host did offer us the use of BOTH of her apartments. We don’t need hot water in the kitchen and we can do showers in one bathroom, so we’ll be fine.

We did get out and do a bit of walking around Lisbon, although we are all mostly tired of being tourists so our hearts were not entirely in it. We found a nice rooftop bar that had a view of the city and then a more non-touristy Italian place where the risotto was very good, and the tortellini with bolognese was ok.

Back to our apartment by way of a gelateria, a pastry shop, and a supermarket for a beer to watch the UCL final! On our way home tomorrow! Not happy that Real Madrid won. Boo.

As a postscript to this post, I’ll just recall a few of the highlights. I’m writing this from 40,000 feet as we approach the Atlantic coast of the United States.

  1. The hiking in Madeira, especially along the Levada at the beginning of the 25 Fontes hike. Also the lunch we had by the sea after that hike was amazing.
  2. Loved our meal in Porto at Taberna dos Mercadores. Delicious and fun.
  3. The wine tasting stop on the Douro was a beautiful spot to enjoy some good wine. The hike down the hill was not everyone’s favorite, but it will be a lasting memory!
  4. Chilling out in the Algarve, and the morning light on the cliffs along the seven hanging valleys hike.
  5. The unexpected lunch stop in the middle of a vineyard on the drive to Lisbon. The steak sandwich and the Pica-Pau were worth the stop!

Renting the electric car turned out to be a fun experience. It was a bit nerve wracking a couple of times, but I think that was more to do with being in a foreign country and not having a backup way to pay for the power if the app wasn’t communicating with the pump. It was really nice to have the nav system show you the expected battery level at your next stop. For a long trip, like a drive to California, it would definitely make the drive longer, and require planning! Having a vehicle that was connected to the internet and had charging station locations integrated into the nav system would be great. Our rented Polestar had that feature, but the rental company didn’t have the car set up for internet access. So we ended up using the phone for finding charging, and the car for navigating. A bit frustrating.

I would certainly recommend time in Portugal if you are looking for a vacation option! We did a lot in a relatively short time. You could easily spend a week in Madeira all by itself. We didn’t get to see much of Lisbon, but that was OK for us as I’d rather be away from the city enjoying the green spaces.

Posting this from Minneapolis. Up way too early this morning. Going east to west always disrupts my sleep a lot more than west to east. But at 4am my body was saying that it was 10am in Portugal and that I was being very lazy for sleeping in!