Monday, January 07, 2013

Lisbon I

We are comfortably settled in an apartment in the Bairro Alto neighborhood in Lisbon.  We're on the third floor and we have one of those pulley wheel clothelines off one of the balconies.  We were so grumpy and jet-lagged on arrival that our first afternoon was a wash, although Ian, Seamus and I went out on a reconnaissance mission and found a supermarket, pharmacy, and ATM. Our packing was rather slapdash and 50% of us arrived in Lisbon without a toothbrush.

Walking to the apartment from where the taxi dropped us off, Brigid noticed lime and lemon wedges in the street, which seemed curious.  We found out the reason for this on Sunday morning, when our street was covered with litter--detritus of the previous night's partying.  At night, the streets around our house are absolutely packed with people, drinking.  In the morning, the garbage crew comes through with a high-powered hose, which they use to push the litter down the street to where they can collect it.  The lime and lemon wedges from people's cocktails get stuck between the cobbles.

I am writing this on Sunday morning.  We're still getting used to being in Europe:  figuring out the washer, learning how to unlock the door, wondering what to do about the trash.  Our kitchen has a trash can  of the size that most Americans would put in a bathroom.  Our bathroom trash can looks like it belongs in a doll house.  I'm ashamed of my big, fat, wasteful American ways.

We've also discovered that using the washing machine and the stove at the same time kills the electricity.  Luckily, the circuit breaker box is in our bedroom.  I'm afraid of European plumbing, and can you really blame me, after the Great Roman plumbing disaster?  I'll just quote from that entry:

Back home, we discovered that the World’s Messiest Plumbers had finished up for the day. There was water everywhere: on the dining room table, the kitchen counter located farthest from the sink, the freaking fireplace mantle for crying out loud. My flight itinerary for the next day was soaked, our flight information an indecipherable blur. A loaf of bread sagged, waterlogged, across the top of the microwave. The rosaries we bought at the Vatican, my Italian language CD, our playing cards, were all soaked. Upstairs, the bathroom floor was decorated with assorted puddles and chunks of plaster. There were muddy footprints everywhere. Realizing that there was probably undetectable residue of God-knows-what on everything in the bathroom, I threw our toothbrushes away.

For some reason, blogger won't let me upload photos from my laptop.  I can't imagine what the problem is.

God, I sound so feeble.  We really are having a great time, and Lisbon is beautiful.  I give it 10+ stars and if you could see my photos, you'd agree.


  1. it sounds wonderful! Even without a toothbrush.
    Is the street party a nightly thing? Wedges of fruit stuck in cobblestones would be a curious sight.

  2. Exactly what part of Lisbon did you rent this apartment in? :-)

    I hope the constant partying won't affect your sleep!

  3. I'm already afraid of European plumbing and I haven't even read about the great Roman plumbing disaster yet. Except for that part you just quoted, which actually seems like enough to me. I don't think I want to read more. I have strong feelings about plumbing disasters. Disasters are always bad, but wet disasters always seem worse.

    Apparently I should also be afraid of European trash cans. I'm a really big, fat ugly American. But I would like to enjoy Lisbon vicariously through you. (I'm beginning to think I should enjoy most things vicariously through others.)

  4. Green girl, the street party was a little calmer on Sunday, but now it's Monday, 11:30 pm and the party seems to be starting.

    Cassi, our neighborhood is called Bairro Alto.

    Mad, you don't have to read the whole thing. It suffices to say that we were trying to learn the Italian for, "Every time I flush the toilet, water backs up into the kitchen sink."

  5. I am going to Europe next summer and am afraid of the outlets/plumbing/transportation........ I will learn from you so keep sharing!

  6. The outlets are fine, Banjo. You definitely need to buy adaptors. Our laptop charger has 3 prongs, but the adaptor only has openings for two. We just plug it in, let the third prong just hang out, plug it into the outlet and it works fine. Public transportation can be a little bewildering.