Since I did most of the exploring in Lisbon while Alli did her work that got us there and to Paris in the first place, it only makes sense I should do the writing about it. So, my turn.
We woke up about 6 a.m. Tuesday morning and grabbed a cab back to the airport in Paris. Hamish complied by not noticing the packing up or the transition to the cab or the ride to the airport, but woke up to say hello once we were in Charles de Gaulle.
(A note on CDG: it kind of sucks. Avoid it if you can. On our arrival to Paris the first time, I was miffed that our curb-checked stroller was not received when we deboarded the plane- but instead whisked to the baggage claim with other checked bags. This meant that we got to do all of the passport control and infinite walking while either carrying Hamish or cajoling her into walking with us (somewhat successful, but she is easy to distract). CDG doesn't let the strollers out in their airport. On our way back through after leaving Lisbon, this was again the case, but on top of that, there was really just a ridiculous transfer (that is typical). We landed in something like 2F M G12, and we had to go to 2E L P13. 2E and 2F are really entirely different airports you have to take a transit bus between-- a line which is filled with irate late passengers who no longer believe they should be waiting behind other people that arrived prior to them, because clearly their problems outweigh others, because there was only one guy working at the passport control booth they just came through and a line 300 people long. I digress. On a positive note- we did receive some special treatment when we got to the passport control line and whisked ahead with our "down! down!" baby girl to a special line. Oh, and Hamish got super excited when she saw the transit bus, and as it turns out, the bus driver was excited about her too:
Anyway, don't fly through there if you can help it. Oh, and once we reached 2E L P 13, they had complimentary strollers for your use. But *only* in that terminal. Head smack.)
Anyway, just on flying into Lisbon, you can see it's such a prettier place than Paris, hilly with cute little colonial-looking houses with maroon roofs stacked around, situated on the Tagus river that is wide enough to appear as an ocean, and with green spaces and a Golden gate bridge lookalike.
We stayed at the Sheraton that hosted Alli's conference, right by the Picoas subway stop. After getting into our room and watching Hamish excitedly jump on the king-sized bed for a while, we had a quick visit with Alli's colleagues and then set off to stroll toward downtown by the river (Baixa/Chiado). It was a 20-minute trip or so, but we were taking it slowly and soaking up all of the sun that we'd missed in Paris. We stopped at an outdoor cafe to snack on some little taco/burrito wrap things, fries, and I decided to try the port (it was the cheap young kind, but still okay).
After strolling all the way downtown, we paused in Rossio square (Pedro IV square) so Hamish could chase "ducks" (pigeons) and make many many new friends.
So, another reason to prefer Lisbon to Paris- the people loved Hamish. The Parisians most always noticed Hamish, but they'd look at her and then not smile. If we sat at a restaurant or they really engaged us, they'd be sweet with her-- and she was ultimately called many names: ma puce, mignon, jolie, belle, gentille, doux, etc.-- but in Lisbon, she was loved. People stopped to fawn over her and talk to her. But I have no idea what they called her, because my Portuguese was lacking. I'm pretty sure it was all nice.
We headed for the Santa Justa elevator up to a good view of the surrounding area and snapped some photos:
We meandered into Alfama and some steep windy streets, just pausing to snap some pictures of beautifully tiled buildings. We also popped into the Lisbon cathedral briefly.
Then we took the subway back to our hotel. Alli went out for dinner with colleagues and traditional local Fado music. Hamish and I picked up some roasted cod and potatoes from a little restaurant near the hotel and ate in. We tucked her pack and play in the closet area where we could pull a curtain, and she slept the best she ever has in a hotel.
Wednesday morning Hamish and I moved slowly, sleeping in, eating apples (a new favorite word and food), getting our shower, and just taking it real easy for the first time in a few days. She also took her first in several days sleep-in-a-stationary bed nap in the late morning. We met Alli for lunch at the mall food court across the street. I had a pork sandwich from a place where this was the only real thing on the menu. Pork sandwich and a choice of 3 different soups (I had a kale potato), and your choice of water, beer, or wine. All fixed price. That was interesting. I decided on water though.
After this, Hamish and I took off. We walked down to Marques de Pombal Square (circle), and decided to hop on the subway again. I had in mind to head toward the Belem tower, but learned on the way that you need to take a bus to get there. So instead we went back to the Baixa-Chiado area and strolled some more down to the Praça do Comércio right by the water.
We had dinner that night at a place recommended by the hotel (nearby) and more fish.
Thursday Hamish and I got moving more quickly to maximize our bus tour time. After briefly waiting at the wrong stop a while, we found our bus and were on our way. We rode all the way to Belém and the tower. Hamish had a blast for the first good while, but eventually decided the bus was drowsy. I managed to get her and my stuff and a stroller off of the bus without her waking up, and get her transferred into her stroller! We walked around in the area - with a great green space by the river - until she woke up. We grabbed lunch at a cafe by the river, and Hamish chased some more "ducks". K: "Pigeon!"; H: "duck". eh, whatever.
That night we had dinner at an Italian place near the hotel, recommended by Alli's colleagues. The food was pretty awesome there actually. A cute little 18-month old Roman boy named Massimo caught her attention here; they played outside together after we ate and were so cute--- but we fail in having no photos to document it. Hamish waved goodbye as we left, and there seems to be no lasting heartbreak.
We took it pretty easy again on Friday, meeting Alli for lunch and heading back to the Baixa-Chiado area so Alli could see more of it and the square down by the water. We wrapped things up with dinner back at our hotel, and packed it in early.
We were up dark and early at 3:45 a.m. to head to the airport. 6 a.m. from Lisbon back to Paris for 2.5 hr flight. 2 hr layover and maze completion in CDG. 10 hr flight from Paris to Atlanta. Wait for bags, fill out customs forms, walk right past customs lady without doing anything but handing the form that she did not look at, hand bags to someone else, and proceed to next flight. Barely going to make it, until flight delayed due to maintenance issue for 1.5 hrs. Grab starbucks. Grab five guys. Board flight. 45 mins later, home again, home again.
Hamish was a phenomenal flyer and traveler on all legs and jaunts. She's won so many unofficial best traveler awards from flight attendants and seatmates, we've lost count.
Port wine: I wasn't sure whether port was super common all over Portugal or not, but I was hoping it would be. In fact, I did always see it at restaurants or bars, but generally speaking, they were just pouring that young stuff. Which I think just tastes like cough syrup. I like the 10 and 20-year aged tawny ports (I probably like others and older ones, but I have limited experience). I did enjoy visiting a couple of liquor stores with cool arrays of bottles like this-- pretty much every year for the last 70 or so.
I did come home with one bottle of 10-year tawny from a brand I did not know.
Notes on traveling with a little one in Paris and Lisbon. A friend of ours kind of advised against bringing a stroller because the subways are not set up for it, but I thought she must just be wrong and she didn't find the right entrances or whatever. How very American ((s) with disabilities act) of me to think this. Paris is in fact crap for using the public transit with a stroller or any disability. Very little to nothing in the way of elevators and escalators. Once or twice we were lifting a stroller over a gate because there were none of the wider gates that you usually see. Also one time doing this, the stroller went through okay, but then it closed before I could go. I tried to find a station worker, but after observing a number of people jump the turnstiles, I joined suit and carried on. I had paid, after all.
Lisbon was better. I learned eventually that all stations do have the wide stall entrance/exits (though just one, which 50% of the time, will be locked in the wrong direction, and you will have to get a worker's attention to reverse the direction). Once in the stations, you can get pretty much anywhere without using stairs. However, there seems to be a small missing piece, as it was almost impossible to ever get into a station without climbing stairs. So, Paris public transit and strollers: 0/5 stars. Lisbon, 3/5. We enjoyed the stroller choice nonetheless because Hamish ended up using it for naps, and with 2 people to help, even the stairs weren't *that* bad.