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Wet in Lisbon
The drive to Lisbon was easy, despite rain and black skies. The sun was showing when we arrived. We ditched the car. Before we had a clue about a hotel, or even about what would be an appropriate district of the town to stay in, we found ourselves at or near the Castle Sao Jorge. We decided on, first, lunch, then the castle, then find a hotel. Big mistake. The lunch was very nice: more lovely grilled sardines and Planalto Vinho Branco Seco. The castle is very fine, with high walls and ponds with swans and ducks under lovely trees.
Actually, though, the ponds may have been puddles. It was raining again. I had convinced myself that the bad weather was blowing over Lisbon. It wasn't. Halfway through the castle I had my scarf over my head. We began to get seriously wet. Still we kept on with the castle, partly because the castle was very beautiful, partly because we didn't believe it would keep raining harder and harder, and partly because we are stupid.
By the time we reached the commercial district we were soaked through to the skin. Interestingly, we began to be treated as if this wetness were a form of wickedness, or wantonness. We had been treated so cordially up to that point! It was strange. It was especially true of me. Craig said later that I sent ladies in black spinning, by the disgracefulness of my wetness.
The proprietor of a pensao treated us both as if we were morally revolting when we showed up dripping in the lobby. It was pouring. I still can't understand why we were reviled for having gotten wet, but we were. We didn't like that pensao anyway.
We finally found the Hotel Portugal, where we were admitted in the face of every instinct of decency and godliness, for $85, the most we'd paid since the castle at Setubal. We couldn't have gone on though. Actually, we did go back to the car, then back again to our room, which was very nice, even though the help downstairs was rude. We got out of our wet clothes and showered and warmed up and dried off.
We had good snacks in our room. But although we ate well and got warm and dry, and although the room was nice, we didn't sleep well. It was incredibly noisy. I lay half-awake all night, trying to conceive what monstrous machineries could possibly be making such ungodly rackets in the streets below our room. Boulders rattled in the beds of giant trucks that barely fit between the buildings on our block. Cement mixers stopped for hours running at the foot of the Hotel Portugal that night. People screamed, shouted, whistled and rattled up and down the lift. It thundered or jets landed nearby, I couldn't tell which. All for $85.