We’re in Lisbon, Portugal, and so far I’ve learned a lot of Portuguese, which is a combination of many languages, so you can pretty much use all your French, Italian and Spanish and make yourself understood. It has actually been harder to learn to use the European keyboard on the computer here and this is the first day I have been able to form written contractions.
We were supposed to arrive Saturday but the snow in Newark nixed that plan. Lemonade out of lemons, of course, so we drove to Atlanta and toured the Coke factory and tasted 40 different kinds of drinks Coke sells around the world. All I have to say about that is that I am very sorry, Italy, for the bitter aperitif known as Beverly. I thought root beer was bad.
The Glamore family finally arrived in Portugal Monday. As always, our vacation has centered on food thus far. We ate lunch at a “snack bar” called Cafe Tigelinha where we managed to order and devour huge portions of salmon and veal. After naps for the three oldest, showers for all and a quick tour of the neighborhood (the Baixa), we went to the expensive but yummy Solar dos Presuntos.
Drew and Porter reached their limit energy-wise as soon as we were seated but woke to ravage a football sized spider crab, slept again at the table, then woke once more to gorge themselves on shrimp and lobster rice and cod fritters. At one point so many flakes of crab were flying about as legs were cracked and crab forks were used to excavate the tiniest morsels of meat that it looked like a small blizzard around our table. I’ve not yet had time to wash the sweaters and shirts we were wearing and I’m amazed we were able to navigate about town today without a pack of cats following hungrily behind us.
Although we were without cats, we were saddled with Finn’s attitude, which grows heavier by the day. Why have none of you mothers of boys told me that the line about boys being harder when they’re younger because of all the stitches, but easier when the hormones kick in, was a load of crap? I’ll be the brave one and tell it like it is– the penis doesn’t make anything easier except waiting on your boys to go to the bathroom.
Sulkiness aside, we had a marvelous day. We took the #15 bus to Belem (pronounced, for no apparent reason, “Ber lang”) and toured the Coach Museum (stage coaches, not Knute Rockne and Bear Bryant) and ate the famous pastries of Belem which are essentially creme brulee in a pie crust.
We also saw the Monastery dos Jeronimos where Vasco da Gama is buried. Drew thought we were going to see his actual bones,and was crestfallen when the marble tomb had no peephole where he could catch a glimpse of femur. We glanced at the Monument to the Discoveries (this was at the height of Finn’s mood) and proceeded to the Tower of Belem which was right on the water and had narrow spiral stairs up to the very top. Drew and Porter were thrilled with the Tower and had to be dragged out of it when it closed.
The Portuguese are extremely friendly and almost forward when it comes to the boys. A couple of people have stopped them to take their pictures, citing their blonde hair as especially beguiling. One older man paused on the street to zip Porter’s jacket higher–it’s much colder and windier than we had expected– and Porter was so shocked he stood still and submitted without complaint.
I have high hopes that Finn will return to his non-sulky self tomorrow, and that our exploration of the castle in the Alfama area will be exciting. We’ve also vowed not to leave without tasting barnacles, and we’ve seen them featured in a couple of restaurant windows. I’m going to google the proper procedure for eating them (as with crawfish, you must pinch off a certain body part and pull the meat from a particular orifice) so we’ll be prepared when the barnacles and the Glamores meet up.