It's been an uphill battle these last 24 hours—in more ways than one. First, there was an issue with our passport names not matching our tickets. Our surname, Del Boccio, is composed of two separate words, but many computer programs do not allow for the space. Not good. So, we waited for 45 minutes to resolve the problem as one family (yes, one) ahead of us checked in. We were next in line. That is, until the woman decided to go on break. Patience is certainty not a virtue of mine, but at least I had the comfort of knowing we left plenty of time for unforeseen issues like this.
Then, at the Philadelphia airport, we witnessed a fire drill- complete with alarms, flashing lights, and the warning of a fire in the building. Everyone needed to go immediately to the nearest exit. Of course, Dan and I dutifully obeyed, looking for others who would be streaming out the doors along with us, all the while the obnoxious alarm and warning rang out repeatedly in our ears. It finally occurred to us, after five minutes, that no one was panicking. Or moving swiftly to the nearest exit. Nope. It was business as usual.
Being proactive, I had to ask. I thought a young employee, sauntering along towards me was a good target. Where should we exit the building? I asked. Oh, she said, with a wave of her arm—don't worry. It doesn't mean anything. It's just annoying that's all. She went on her way, leaving me with a furrowed brow and recollections of a folk tale about the "Boy Who Cried Wolf." The alarm continued to sound for another twenty minutes, which in fact, deadened the passenger's sensitivity to the alarm. I'm still shaking my head.
Other than a bit of turbulence and very little sleep, the flight went well. For that, we were truly thankful to the Lord. Arriving at 9am (4am Chicago time), we pick up our carry on bags, navigated the Métra into the center of town, and began our uphill climb (literally) to our lodging along the stone wall of Castelo de São Jorge. It didn't occur to me until this morning that this would be a difficult location to access, since castles were built on the highest point in a city. From the Rossio station, we zigzagged back and forth on the uneven terrain, with our faces to the sun, and a simple map of the city, which looked like a maze of ant trails. I counted at least four times we stopped and asked for directions. Each time, the helpful person assured us the place was 'up and to the left' or 'just around the corner.' I began to think they were all conspiring to give us leg cramps and blisters, but in the end, all we got was extreme exhaustion.
I must say the old buildings with their quaint curtains and shutters, decorated with hanging laundry distracted me, so the steep incline, innumerable flights of stairs and cobbled streets didn't seem so daunting. Of course, we could have used our cellular data to find the way, but we thought an adventure was in order.
When we checked in to our lodging, the desk clerk's eyes widened when we told her we walked up from the Metro Station rolling our luggage behind us. I thought we needed a badge of some sort to commemorate the event. And probably new wheels for our luggage.
But, we were well rewarded with a lovely lodging, and a classic Portuguese (or so I thought) terrace in which to rest. Along with its resident peacocks— and boy, were they proud!
He was more than happy to display his feathers. I chucked as I caught him admiring his image in the patio window.
Well, that's about it for now- tomorrow we will visit a unique multi-architectural castle in nearby Sintra, before heading north towards Spain. Hope you've enjoyed your tour . . .
My MG Biblical fiction "The Heart Changer" debuted in 2019 with Ambassador International.