pühapäev, 15. detsember 2019

Go Blue. DIY - Peppermint Mocha

Scott wanted to stop by in Speedway for the gas and while pulling in, I noticed that they have Peppermint Mocha for 1.19. Since usually Speedway’s coffee is pretty good (my husband sometimes brings me some in bed in the weekend mornings), I went in to get one. I could see myself choosing a cup, pushing a button and getting the hot peppermint drink with lots of foamed milk. But guess what? Turned out that it’s hands-on coffee making. They had the “recipe” ON the wall and so I started making my own coffee - 2/3 cup of freshly brewed Columbian coffee, 1/3 cup of hot chocolate, 1 tbls of peppermint syrup and something else. Didn’t turn out very good - I won’t aim for barista roles.

laupäev, 7. detsember 2019

Go Blue. The immigrant with no luggage.

Since someone has booked a 6am flight again, the day started at 4:30am and by 5:20am I was already through the security and on the way to the gate.

A second after the take off, where you could still recognise faces on the ground, a voluminous lady decided to stretch her legs and despite the order to return to her seat, walked up and down the aisle to cockpit and back.

In the gate in Frankfurt while waiting the Detroit flight to start boarding, Lufthansa crew offered the amazing opportunity to grab the last few free seats in the business class. The upgrade from where rabble like me was sitting, was mere 900 euros. Also few seats next to each other in the Economy Plus had unexpectedly become available and for that seat I would have only needed to pay 350 euros. I decided to pass on those amazing opportunities. However, had they looked more closely into their passenger information and sold the upgrades like “In the cheapest tickets area we have 10 babies travelling today, but for only 900 EUR we have a Business Class seat available in piece and quiet” they probably would have had significantly more success. Add that there is a bunch of people with us today who is using left hand instead of toilet paper and the restroom floor would look more like a shower cabin, they would have had people grabbing those upgrades on the fly.

There were three kids sitting near me, out of whom one was screaming 6 hours of the 9 hour flight. Almost every time, he started to scream, both others felt the team spirit as well and started their choir too. Restrooms, as already mentioned, were so overflowing that I didn’t even want to step in wearing my sneakers. Then again the kids, who walked in the restrooms barefoot, must have thought that Wow, what a well cleaned floor it is! Toilet paper as well as hand towels were a novelty to several fellow travellers, seeing as the used paper had been crammed in every possible hole. Among other also into the toilet seat cover dispenser.

Very wisely I had chosen my seat in the front part of the plane and after getting off the plane, some speed in my step did give me a decent place in immigration line. After getting the audience of the immigration officer I answered some question, got my stamp and was already pleased to have such a smooth process this time. But don’t celebrate before getting out of luggage area, right. I walked bast the luggage belts and right near the customs, 3 border guards were standing. One asked, if that’s all the luggage I have. I was carrying a medium sized backpack and a crossbody. Once he heard that yes, that’s it, he wanted to talk some more. Turned out that the reason for that wasn’t to get tips on travelling light. I had to answer questions like where I come from, where I go, how long I’ll stay and how am I going to live THREE weeks with so few items only. I patted myself on the shoulder that I had to take some items Scott had left behind, because otherwise I would have probably considered taking a purse only. He also wanted to see my passport and know how much cash I have. I had 10 euros. Anyway, got my passport back and could enter the country.

pühapäev, 10. november 2019

A Portuguesa. When the mañana mentality meets German punctuality

Being the ever smart travellers we had booked the 8:30am flight to be home early (5pm), but don’t really need to start your way to the airport in the middle of the night. We had barely dragged our suitcases, which did weigh significantly more than a week ago, down the slippery stairs in Alfama (no taxi has access to our street, so it’s up to Mohammed to go to the mountain) when TAP announced that the smart one is not the one rushing and our flight will depart at 9am. In airport it turned smoothly into 9:25am and already in the plane, into 10:15am. Anyway it was clear that we will not make it on our Tallinn flight.

Since we unexpectedly had more time than planned to spend in Lisbon airport, we decided to have breakfast. The choice being bread and bread, I chose some bread. With avocado and poached egg. As menu with coffee in combo. So I asked for the avocado toast menu. To also get the coffee. The lovely lady behind the counter, being in the suitable mood for this early hour, only punched in the price for the toast. I pointed out that I ordered the menu. Based on her reply in Portuguese, I understood that I should have asked for it then. Anyway, she called a dude for help from back, who cancelled the order all the while the lady furiously commented and took frowning glances at the tourist, who is not even able to ask for coffee. I finally got my toast, which just as promised had some mashed avocado spread on and topped with dried egg instead of poached egg. A bit of salt only improved the situation a little.

On the Frankfurt - Lisbon flight Lufthansa offered full menu (lasagna, dessert, caprese, chocolate), so our expectations after two hour delay were high. Once we got through the turbulences, turned out that lunch will be only served in business class, the rabble was given a stale pastel de nata and drinks.

In Frankfurt, I assumed that the Germans will quickly take care of the rebooking and in no time we will be sitting on the next flight to Tallinn. The Germans sent us where the sun doesn’t shine. Which means to the TAP counter. They should take care of their mess themselves. To get to TAP counter we had to leave the security area, find their counter and in no time, also known as two hours we had our new tickets. We waited another 20 minutes for our meal vouchers, because with the German punctuality they couldn’t give those out without stamps. Through the security, where they unpacked my bag (in Lisbon nobody cared, what I was carrying) and went to the first eatery to have some food. So good!

laupäev, 9. november 2019

A Portuguesa. Tourist.

Since one photo tells more than 1000 words, so to save the reader from a 14.000-word description of how we climbed up the vertical streets in Bairro Alto or walked back to El Corte Ingles or went for the ice cream in the evening, here is a 14-picture photo overview the Saturday.

reede, 8. november 2019

A Portuguesa. Communists.

Rest of the week was spent mainly in the office and on the WebSummit. The time that wasn’t spent in those two places we were trying to locate restaurants, where the food is not drowning in oil (fairly failed attempt!), walked up the stairs and serpentines in Alfama to get fresh fruit ice creams (totally succeeded attempt) and went for runs.

One night we realized that the sun is setting in 20 minutes and the prime spot to watch it is just few steps from us. We put the sneakers on, grabbed the cameras and ran to the river. Made it there just in time to see half the sun under the bridge.

Few days later we decided to make a better planned attempt and googled the best sunsetwatchplatforms. After all we did stay right in Alfama, which is located on the hill and should offer us all the breathtaking sunset views. We walked to the most promising platform just to find out that you can watch anything but the setting sun there.

The rule is here that you enter the buses through front door. Near the front there are also the validators, where you need to swipe your ticket. One morning we happened to be in the bus stop in the rush hour and once the bus arrived, us trying to enter through front door would have looked like the best example of Indian transportation, where the people are in the bus, on the bus and hanging from sides and back. The situation by all other doors looked much spacier and we entered through center door. Probably having never seen such a chutzpah an elderly man went off to tell us for the next five minutes in Portuguese, what he thinks of us. After he left, one helpful guy summarized the tirade in English that we are damn communists, who just want to take advantage of the public transportation in Lisbon and ride for free.

pühapäev, 3. november 2019

A Portuguesa. Sintra

Pretty unexpectedly we managed to see the bigger part of city centre yesterday, so we decided to get out of town and visit Sintra today. We again took the taxi and drove all the way up to the colorful castle. Despite having sun blazing below in Lisbon, the weather up the hill was cloudy and slightly rainy. Even if we would have wanted to pay 20 something euros for the entrance, it didn’t seem reasonable in this weather, so we started our way down to enjoy the views on the way. The views were amazing. Especially the ones, where, standing in the rain yourself, you could admire the sunny Lisbon below. We reached the village and chose a restaurant, which had gazpacho on the menu. Turned out that we had managed to choose the finest dining place of the settlement with white table cloths and suited waiters.

We both opted for the soup, but despite the fact that gazpacho was even written on the white paper of specials, they are not offering it in November anymore. Not the season. Oh, well. Since we had already sat down and assumed that the possibility to have coffee is not depending of the season, we just asked for cappuccinos. Yeah, well - they are running a restaurant there and they absolutely expect their customers to have a meal there, not just sip on a cup of coffee. So we went to a little cafe just around the corner, where we spent a nice hour with coffee and some cakes.

We walked up to the Quita de Regaleira, which is a palace with huge garden and spent at least an hour there. After that it definitely was time for late lunch and we returned to the village. At 3pm on a Sunday afternoon all that Sintra had to offer were pastries, cakes and roasted chestnuts. Because all the restaurants had finished serving lunch and closed their kitchens until dinnertime.

We took taxi back to Lisbon, did some slippershopping, got some coffee in Starbucks and returned to the apartment. Since the Portuguese cuisine was less than impressive, Bolt delivered us some poke bowls.

laupäev, 2. november 2019

A Portuguesa. Sightseers

Since our accommodation was conveniently on the lower side of Alfama, just by the river, I started my morning with running along the river ad back. Around 9am we made our way out to have some breakfast. Turned out that the Portuguese idea of balanced breakfast was some sweet pastry or cake and cup of coffee. It wasn’t ours, so we kept walking and finally found a place, where we could order some eggs. And bread. We took some combos and my plate was covered with oily eggs, four little wiener sausages, a loaf of bread and half of mango.

After the breakfast the plan was to visit the city center. Or revisit in my case. We walked around until the weather didn’t cooperate anymore and took a taxi back to the apartment. Got dressed a bit more appropriately, waited until the rain was over and went out again. By the dinnertime we had seen Bairro Alto, Alfama and overlooked the city from the elevator platform.

We also went to the Lidl nearby and got some food that would probably get us through the week, paper towels and few other items.