Vicarious Tourism: Lisbon

For Thanksgiving this year I took a little trip to Portugal. Some friends from Conakry are posted there now, and my buddy Seamus* came too, so we had ourselves a proper Conakry reunion. Other members of Team Conakry were there in spirit/FaceTime. (It’s strange to think that we all lived there less than six months ago – it feels far away and forever ago now.) Our gracious hosts will be known to my regular readers as the rescuers of the Kipe Compound chickens. Well, for a while anyway. They did kill and eat them a few months later, but I was out of town at the time so I was unable to document their final chapter.

But anyway, Lisbon. Before and after the traditional Thanksgiving feasting we checked out the beach town of Cascais, visited the famous monuments (and pastry shops) of Belem, wandered through the streets of downtown Lisbon, and gawked at the mountain castles of Sintra. And there was still plenty of time to sit idly in the sun and replenish my depleted vitamin D supplies. It was a bit chilly in the shade or the wind, but a nice sheltered sunny spot was just heaven. And we ate – custard tarts, garlicky grilled octopus, roast chestnuts, and cherry liqueur. Yum.

Tourism with three children under 10 in tow turns out to be a little more challenging than the footloose single sightseeing I’m used to. This weekend has given me new respect for my parents, who hauled three little girls around Europe for years. Just like our friends’ kids, those little girls were also tragically unimpressed by castles. (How things have changed!) So I didn’t check off everything on my list, but this trip was really more about being with friends and eating turkey and pie than seeing all the things. And besides, it gives me another excuse to head back to Lisbon someday soon. I’m looking forward to it.
*Not his real name, but he picked it out