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Street Art Nº 33


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The Hotel Safe

I made a mistake and I’ve got to tell on myself.

You know those safes that hotels have in the closet? The one’s you put all your valuables in so they’re safe? Well, on my trip with my brother to Portugal, that’s where we put our travel documents, extra money and anything else that we didn’t want to carry with us as we walked around Lisbon.  I don’t like carrying my passport in the streets for fear that a pick-pocket might grab it or it might get lost. I keep a copy of it with me, but not my original.  That’s just me.  Some people prefer to keep it with them at all times.

Anyhow, we spent 3 days touring Lisbon with one side trip to Sintra, hit all kinds of restaurants and a few night spots. We had a fabulous time.

On our last night, Bill had requested to sleep in late the next morning and have a relaxing, casual  breakfast. Our plan was to then check out of the hotel, take the Metro to the airport and rent a car.  From there, we’re were going to do about 4 more days  touring around southern Portugal and Spain, returning the car to the airport and flying on to our next destination.

So, we packed up, took a leisurely walk to the Metro stop underground, rode the 45 minute  subway ride to the airport and arrived at the Enterprise Rental Car kiosk. We were happily surprised to see there wasn’t a line at the counter so we walked right up and asked for our car.  The kind lady looked us up on her computer and asked for my credit card and my passport.

Sudden terror! Waves of fear! Adrenaline rush! Oh my goodness! I left it in the hotel safe!!

I felt the full wave of panic as my mind raced to figure out how to handle this. I was frozen in shock for about a minute while my brain tried to devise a plan.  Finally, Bill and I joined forces and rational thinking returned.  Bill called the hotel and thankfully, they explained that the safe could not be opened by the hotel staff and they would gladly open our room back up and let us reclaim our belongings.  But – there went our laid-back, early start too. Minor inconvenience but still, it wasn’t a pleasant moment and our brains were still trying to process this upset.

We scrambled back on the Metro, rode the 45 minutes back to the hotel and got our stuff. The Front Desk explained that they must call a locksmith to unlock the safe and that hotel staff is not allowed to open any safe.  Ok.  I guess I’ll believe them.  And I’m thankful for that!  Then, with our blood pressure returning to normal finally, we resumed our trip as planned – just 3 hours later than we’d hoped.

To add a little aggravation to the ‘happy ending’ of this little story, when we returned to the Rental Car counter, an international flight had just arrived and even with 4-5 clerks working at their computer terminals, we still had almost an hour wait to finally receive our car.  To be sure, Wayne was not a happy camper.  So, practicing everything I know about anger management, I breathed in, said my prayers and exhaled slowly.  I reset my emotions, acknowledged that upsets do happen, especially when traveling – and began a fresh start saying to myself, “I’m on vacation. I have no deadlines or appointments that can’t be changed. I can choose to be upset or I can choose to relax and make a fun experience beginning right now. Heck, I could even blog about this and we’ll laugh about it later!”

And off we went, happy to be in our car and exploring new frontiers!  Happiness and joy resumed!  We even laughed about it, too!

Reminder: Be sure to check your hotel safe before you check out of your room.

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Tram Nº 28

Lisbon, Portugal

 The famous Tram Nº 28 winds its way through all the picturesque and historic districts of Lisbon. It takes on some pretty steep inclines too. I originally thought it was a cable car, but its a 1930’s wooden street car, bumpy and crowded.

Nostalgic as it may have been we chose to walk. We wandered through the Alfami arabian district and down to the waterfront. I much prefer exploring the narrow walkways and stairs that lead you past homes and shops – shops that sell cold water to tired and thirsty tourists, too!

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The Cathedral and Tower of Pisa

What a blast to actually get to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person!

Built such a long time ago and still standing, it’s quite a sight to see. The surrounding grounds are beautifully maintained and there is a very comforting presence of police around to keep us all safe. Cafés line the street leading away from the cathedral making for a nice place to have a glass of wine and enjoy the sights. Bill and I stopped for a late dinner there the night before then returned the next morning for these daylight shots.

The tower was originally built as the bell tower for the catherdral. Construction began in 1173 and was halted after completing the second floor 5 years later when the foundation began to sink on one side. This delay allowed the soil to settle however and construction continued after almost a century of rest. Architects tried to level the upper 2 floors by extending the height of the walls on the lower side. You can see the angle change a little more clearly in the  photo below. The structure was completed in 1372.

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Il Duomo di Firenze

Florence, Italy

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But You Gotta Give It Back, OK?

There’s nothing like an unexpected kindness.

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