Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Lisbon, Portugal - Arrival

Lisbon Skyline

Some might say it is insanity to take off on an overseas flight to Portugal in order to take a sailing ship to the Caribbean, but that is what we did. The less said about our flight, business class on an Airbus, the better. But eventually we arrived at Lisbon Airport. The difference between this airport and ANY we’ve been through in recent years was astounding. There were no soldiers standing around armed to the gills. There were no visible police. There was no obvious “security” at all, just lots of people greeting friends and neighbors.

We were whisked through immigration so fast I hardly realized we’d been there, and about 10 minutes after deplaning we were being herded into a taxi. Kudos to the two delightful young men who made this miracle happen.

Avendida de Liberdade
We gave our taxi driver the name of our hotel, the Bessa, on Lisbon’s main drag, The Avenida de Liberdade. He looked pained. “The Liberdade is closed to all traffic all day today,” he explained. “Remembrance Day Celebrations.” Of course we should have known, but sleep deprived and exhausted it just hadn’t registered.

We drove through the Lisbon hills, to the sound of Fado on the driver’s radio, beautiful guitar accompanied songs unique to Portugal. The private houses, apartment blocks, office buildings, government buildings and hotels we passed were in a veritable rainbow of colours.  Pinks and yellows and blues and greens, no staid greys or classic whites for this town.  All climbing up or tumbling down steep hills toward the centre of town and our destination.

A block from our hotel we came to the blocked road and a stern looking policeman. Our driver with much gesticulation toward our white hair and my walker managed to convince the officer because he literally walked our taxi the block to our hotel entrance, and then helped our driver escape.

Bessa Hotel
We arrived just as the parade reached our part of the Liberdade. Planes overhead, WW I followed by jets in formation, marchers on the sidewalks waving flags, martial music. Altogether the most impressive welcome we’ve ever had anywhere.

And miracle of miracles, our room was ready within 15 minutes of our arrival. The best handicap accessible room I’ve ever had anyplace.

There is all of Lisbon, a truly beautiful city, out there for us to see, but first, some sleep.

Blair's latest thriller, Fatal Charm 

A perilous scheme to thwart ruthless adversaries hurtles successful jewelry designer Caitlin Abernathy from her comfortable California studio to the streets of Paris and the beaches of Brittany as she attempts to return a priceless stolen heirloom to the Louvre.

Colin Stryker, the devastatingly handsome history professor from Ireland who has appointed himself her protector, fights to rescue her before her captors add murder to their crimes, while at the same time unraveling the torturous train of events that led to the original theft.

With every moment fraught with danger, can the chemistry already between the two ignite into passion?

Praise for Fatal Charm:

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"Fatal Charm is well-written and engaging.  The book has a fast pace which makes it easy to read and enjoy.  Blair McDowell is an illustrative writer which allows readers to visualize the scenes in their head.  This brings the characters and story to life for  me.  I thought the mystery was complex and intriguing.  I enjoyed the many twists and turns."
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Blair McDowell