36 Hours in Lisbon With The Flu
“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” Anthony Bourdain
Flying to Porto, Portugal from Spain I traveled in a haze of recycled stale air, surrounded by the germs of a hundred set of lungs. It did not help that the people I sat next to were both sick and coughing.
I’m a germaphobe. I get on the plane with hand sanitizer in my purse. I bring wipes into the bathroom in case i have to touch something. I put polysporin around my nostrils not to breathe anything in. i have a mask if necessary. This usually works along with my various good luck charms.
The next evening I felt like I had been hit with a truck. If I had been in Southeast Asia or Africa, I would have been sure it was malaria or dengue. Being in Portugal, I went with the flu. The rain in Porto is not helping.
A few days later when we got to Lisbon, it was in full force.
We checked into Santiago del Alfama around nine pm. Driving through the steep, narrow one way cobblestone streets at night, made us glad we weren’t driving.
The hotel was a fifteenth century palace restored into a beautiful modern five-star hotel. I loved every piece of furniture and art that I saw in this hotel. It was totally my taste. The room was beautiful.
The average standard illness is easy to cope with when you are home and much worse when you are traveling. If it had really been the fifteenth century, I would have thought it was God’s will – but instead i can blame the people next to me on the plane. Luckily the hotel has a lovely restaurant with delicious food. and we don’t have to go anywhere.
i have breakfast at one of the most charming breakfast places in a hotel with wonderful food and coffee. My cold pills have not kicked in yet and i am sneezing. “God bless you” says the person sitting next me. I remember that sneezing was a symptom of the bubonic plague and they used the term God Bless you to ward off the evil. I wondered if i had the plague. Maybe there were some fifteenth century plague germs lying around. I do get a lot of weird things.
My plan is to go to the Tile Museum which i missed the last time I was in Lisbon. My body is fighting me on this to stay in bed but there are no sick days when you are a mom of small children and so my body has learned to rally.
The Museo de Nacional De Azuelo was definitely worth it.
The building is the former Madre de Deus convent founded in 1509 by Queen D. Leonor.
The collections are tiles from 15th century till present days.
It gives amazing insight into the beautiful tiles you see around the city. i could have spent all day here.
Portugal has a long history of preserving fish which has been traced back to the Phoenicians, Romans and Carthaginians. It became a gourmet thing a lot more recently. The best thing to buy are the sardines which are healthy and delicious. i definitely needed healthy. We head to Conserveira de Lisboa the oldest and best family run business to buy tinned fish. They are in beautiful tins and packaged in boxes.
We have met the owner of the hotel and we end up having lunch with him at Prado a place his wife likes and turns out to be delicious. Lunch in Portugal takes a few hours.
It is amazing how shopping and a delicious meal can miraculously take away my symptoms for a bit.
We walk back to the hotel and I take a nap and pack. The flu has moved into my lungs by now. Getting up at 4am for the long plane ride home is not going to be pretty. I have some soup at the hotel restaurant.
I put my body in mom mode. This will be so much easier than having the flu and entertaining a baby and toddler at the same time. All I have to do is get to the airport wait in line, go through security, find the plane, fly to London, pick up my luggage, change airports, go through customs and security, check in again, walk really far to the plane, wait four hours , get on the plane for ten more hours, go through customs and security, pick up luggage and go home. I have had children. I can do this.