Well, after a six hour overnight flight from Philadelphia to Frankfurt and another three hours from Frankfurt to Lisbon, our feet are on the ground in this beautiful, historic coastal city whose heritage centers around Prince Henry the Navigator and the many discoveries that can be attributed to the adventurous Portuguese navigators who took advantage of their marvelous seaside location at the western edge of the European continent. After about an hour delay in the Philly Airport due to Fridays pesky weather, we took off at 7:30 p.m., but thanks to a nice tail wind, arrived at Frankfort at the scheduled time Saturday morning, then boarded a 3 hour flight to Lisbon, arriving in beautiful sunshine and warm weather. On the way to our hotel from the airport, our Collette tour manager, Jose Fagundes, of Portuguese heritage, but a native of Boston, described the monuments and architecture along the way. Lisbon is a very modern city, mainly because it had to be rebuilt from the ground up after a major earthquake in the late 1800s.
There is a major soccer tournament in Lisbon this weekend and one of the champion teams is located in our 5 star hotel, the elegant Hotel Altis, which is located right in the center of town. Crowds gather out in front of the hotel to see the players and get their autographs. We are worried that if they win this afternoon there will be mayhem in our hotel tonight. Before dinner this evening we had an orientation with our tour manager and met the rest of our tour buddies. We have the largest single group, a total of 11 from New Jersey. There are 31 others, giving us a group total of 42 people from all over the country, namely California, Indiana, Maine, New Hampshire, and Boston, to name only a few of the locations of people I personally had an opportunity to chat with so far. We had a really nice dinner of local cuisine.
The real touring begins tomorrow after breakfast. We will travel north along the coast to the magical towns of Sintra, Cascais, and Estoril and complete our all day excursion with a tour of the highlights of the City of Lisbon. The forecast is for warm and sunny weather. More later!