I feel like being all rah-rah boosterish because it's been really fabulous, but of course there's only so much of that one can write. And it got too much for me some of the time, all the walking around on the cobblestones - but hubby and I figured out we could profitably split up for a few hours and that was nice too.
It's good to be away from home and the constraints of home and see different things, think different thoughts. See different roofs, and different tiles on the buildings, and different old crumbly castles looking out over spreading colors of buildings tumbling up and down hills full of sunshine. Go ride a different cable car out over the sparkling waters of the Tejo river and towards the long, long, long, long Vasco da Gama bridge, which in San Francisco terms is the Dumbarton Bridge to the Golden Gate one they have further up - truly astonishingly like the Golden Gate bridge. The Vasco da Gama one has these feathery fanlike cables doing a little peacock show-off at the beginning of the bridge.
Did I say this already? At first we would try Spanish with a smattering of Portuguese on people first (hubby laughs; I bought a phrasebook - but at least we know some numbers, colors, days of the week, all that). But most people very quickly told us, very nicely, to just go ahead and speak English already.
So now we try English first and in the very few cases the person doesn't speak (usually very good) English we go for our Spanish with Portuguese sprinkles.
Yesterday we went out to the grounds of the old Expo 98 they had here where they have built up a new area with boardwalks, the cable car I mentioned, a huge aquarium, and various other wonderfuls. There were some bushes growing on the grounds of the Vodafone building we were walking through, and I thought it looked like baby pomegranates growing on them, which the spouse and I were both surprised at - he had never seen them growing, even growing up in Iran. So, very conveniently and helpfully, we bumped into a gardener transplanting just such things, and asked him. He kindly removed his iPhone earbuds and in amazingly good English told us that they were pomegranates (he didn't know the English word but he opened one up for us and it was an unmistakable baby pomegranate) and told us what a great job he had, gardening in the sunshine and responsible for several city blocks worth of pomegranates, other flowering plants and shrubs, and a little mini-forest of bamboos. We could see how it was pretty sweet.
So yes - time to think, and time to walk, and time to read, and time to check in with the kids every now and then and hear they are doing perfectly well without us thank you so much.