Monday, November 24, 2008

A Lisbon trip

We went up to Lisbon this weekend. The Ducati needed a service and the closest official Ducati dealer is near Sintra... shocking really that we couldn’t get it done nearer to home.
On the other hand, it meant an overnight stay and.... SHOPPING!!!!
So after dropping the bike off (in case you were wondering how on earth I managed to sit on the back of the throbbing machine ALL THAT WAY – I didn’t... we took it in the back of the van!), we headed for Ikea. We got lost of course... Lisbon wouldn’t be Lisbon if we didn’t get lost. Every time we go, without fail, we somehow seem to lose our way. Once we even ended up going BACK over the bridge towards the Algarve. Three times we went over that damn thing!
Having finally reached Ikea, we had a good wander around, met some friends for lunch and then exited... having spent rather more than we intended.
Next we headed to Estoril to find the hotel that hubby had booked online. I was decidedly apprehensive, considering he’d managed to get it for 41 euros – which also included breakfast! It was going to be dive. I was sure of it.
It didn’t take long to find it... it was well signposted and... it certainly didn’t look much of a dive. In fact, the reception and bar area looked quite funky. I was impressed.
The room wasn’t too bad either. The hotel had obviously recently had a make-over but I think they failed somewhat with the bathroom. Although the idea was good, it wasn’t quite pulled off. The shower, for example, had a tiny glass partition that wasn’t anywhere near large enough to stop water from going everywhere!
But perhaps I am biased, as hubby designs and renovates bathrooms for a living and his are, without doubt, the very best!
After a walk and a nice cold beer in Estoril, I was ready to continue shopping (that goes without saying, really), so we hopped back in the van and headed towards Cascais Shopping where we spent a few more hours having a browse before heading into Cascais for dinner. It was a lovely day but we were exhausted so we looked forward to a good night’s sleep.
Which we most certainly didn’t get! Argh!! The bed was so hard and the hotel was the noisiest hotel we have ever stayed in. The walls seemed paper thin and we could hear people walking in and out all night long. Add to that the traffic and sounds of people outdoors. Needless to say, we didn’t get much sleep that night.
We went down for breakfast early the following morning, where we were almost made to feel like children. The lady on duty clearly didn’t want to be there... she huffed constantly, uttering to herself and complaining. We didn’t stay long!
Next, back up to Cascais Shopping... I had been tempted by a pair of boots the day before so we decided to pop back in and try them on. The shops were closed as we were so early so we had to sit around for 45 minutes waiting. Lo and behold, the boots looked horrible. What a waste of time. Never mind.
It was just before 10.30am. The Ducati dealer and service area closed at 1pm so we had plenty of time to get there. At least we thought we did.
An almighty traffic jam meant we very nearly didn’t get there on time. There had clearly been a nasty accident as we sat there for nearly two hours. Police cars, the fire brigade and ambulances all squeezed in between vehicles that were bumper to bumper. What a nightmare!
I have never been so pleased to get to a bike shop!
After collecting the Ducati, we headed back towards the Algarve, not before stopping at the Almada Forum shopping centre though. There we had a quick wander round the shops, followed by a delicious lunch of authentic Italian pizza before heading home just in time for Strictly Come Dancing and our own comfortable bed! BLISS!