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Lost in Portugal

My journal from the 1990 trip to Portugal, some 4000 words, was originally handwritten in one sitting from the terrace of a hotel high on the hill overlooking Funchal Bay in Madeira.

Everywhere we went in Portugal we got lost. We repeatedly abandoned our itinerary. I make frequent references in the journal to the many great pictures I think I will have. But as you will see, my attempt at photography was a dismal failure. We had a great and adventuresome time, though. These were the highlights.

I am writing in Madeira at the Residential Santa Clara, just two hours before we begin the very long trip home. I will not describe the journey over on TWA (The Worst Airline, Craig calls it, with good reason).

We landed on a Sunday morning in Lisbon and rented a little (mid-sized, by European standards) Renault. We drove through Lisbon. Craig says he enjoyed that part, but the way I remember it, he was wild for a bathroom, and we were both already tired and a bit irritable from the trip.

But as we broke clear of the city to the south, just west of the bridge over the River Tagus, we saw the palace and the monastery and the gardens of Belem. So we parked, thinking that museums usually have good bathrooms. This one didn't. But we found some little cafes nearby, and for the first time I felt as though we were in Europe and we were having fun.

The coffee there (and everywhere, as it turned out) was strong, dark, muddy, and delicious. Usually it was cheap, too, on average 40 cents. Then we saw the palace and the gardens, of which I should have quite a few good pictures, and we hit the road, heading for Sintra.

"Of which I should have quite a few good pictures..." When we went to Portugal, we took a nice little camera that Craig had bought for his business. It was about the size of a pack of cards, and it just fit in my jacket pocket. It was very lightweight and had a nice little wrist strap, too. However, the last person to use that camera before me had left it set up to delay several seconds between the time the operator clicked the button and the time when the shutter actually snapped.

Crooked picture of SintraThis meant I would carefully frame each shot and push the button, and several seconds later, the camera would take a picture of the inside of my pocket or of whatever it was swinging in front of from its wrist strap. In the first week of the trip I shot four rolls of film, 96 pictures, of which sixty- odd were muffled darkness. The picture at the top right of this page of the beautiful castle at Sintra has been drastically cropped and rotated; it actually came out like this:

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Sintra and Setubal
South to Portimao
Praia de Rocha
Getting Back
Faro and Albufiera
The Blue Arrows
The Walled City
The Temple of Diana
Lost in Evora
Wet in Lisbon
Back in Lisbon
To Madeira and Home