9/10/2010 (Fatima and Oporto, Portugal)
Made it to Portugal–no delays although 6.5 hours over the Atlantic (after a 6 hour layover in Philly) was intense. On the first flight, our plane was only about 1/3 full-can´t remember the last time that happened. Another minor miracle is that we noticed the exit leading to Fatima and spent an hour or so there. We loved it–not having been to Rome or Israel, it was exciting for Mike and I to be near the site of real miracles. It´s a bizarre mix of spirituality and commercialism. We went into the church and looked at the burial places of the two children who died so young (with the 3rd one still alive at nearly 90) and then bought rosaries at a tourist shop. So we basically had the complete experience.
Porto is beautiful– architecture reminiscent of the Monterrey area and the locals are very nice. The deep blue sky. so much like home, is the backdrop for every photo op. Our room is spacious, on the 14th floor with a balcony and a huge view of the city. The streets all lead downhill to the Doura River and into the bay. Last night we ate at the hotel (after wandering around the port and not being able to decide on a restaurant). It was great and reasonable. This morning we had a breakfast buffet like the one in Madrid. You can kind of tell where people are from by what they eat. The Spanish and Portuguese have the meats, fruits, and cheeses. The Americans are eating eggs and cereal, and the French have a roll, a croissant, another roll, a muffin, and a roll. There´s a bakery on every street here with a shoe store on either side. I have to say the food is great–better than Spain, so far. I´ve been looking at everyone’s feet and
feel I must have a pair of flat sandals with the gladiator ankle strap. Since my brown sandals broke last night on the way into the hotel, I consider that a `sign`.
We´re going to look for the famous, authentic, one of kind Oporto pottery that Randy insisted is the best and then drink the best port in the world (also Randy, but, in this case, probably true). Right now I´m on an ancient computer in the hotel. We did bring our laptop but it´s 8 euros an hour ($12.40) so ´forget about it.´