A fond au revoir Maroc, and ola Portugal

It’s a good trip when you’ve really enjoyed a stay somewhere but are ready to leave, and have someplace else to look forward to seeing.

Breaking through the clouds after take off from Casablanca

My 24 days in Portugal starts with three nights in Lisbon. Arrived here late this afternoon from Casablanca, and I didn’t even have to shoot any German officers to get a visa.

And just in case you might think I’m just another westerner recalling an old Humphrey Bogart classic folks in Morocco have forgotten about, check out this back lit sign behind the check out counter at the Casablanca airport duty free shop.

Getting through the Madrid airport, which I made the mistake of transiting through rather than just flying direct to Lisbon on another airline other than Iberia, like TAP, has always been at best a pain in the ass. But the approach as we landed was certainly something to see.

When I landed in Lisbon shortly before 5 pm, it was 55 degrees and had recently rained. Given Chicago’s weather, I was pleased.

A longish and not cheap taxi ride got me to my lodging around 6. Very comfortable room in a third floor walk up (I can’t seem to get away from flights of stairs) in a rather funky neighborhood that’s safe, but with lots of graffiti and bars. Down at the end of my block, I could look left and see the ocean a mile or so off.

This is very much like San Francisco, with narrower streets. Not just the steep hills but cable cars everywhere.

A block from my building in Lisbon. Heading down to the ocean front.

I couldn’t take pics, because my iPhone battery was dead when I arrived at the airport, but as best I could tell, the Cardinal who is archbishop Lisbon was on my flight, returning from World Youth Day in Panama City, Panama, after the Pope announced there that Lisbon will be the site of the next world Your Day, in July, 2022.

The cardinal’s presence would explain why there were five tactical cops waiting along the walkway from my plane. I watched them escort him away from the gate to the luggage carousels, then sat near the airport exit as a crowd of what sounded like young people on the other side of the departure area, maybe 150 feet away, chanted happily and then cheered wildly as the Cardinal appeared.

Laundry this morning after coffee and a bite, then I think I’ll find my way to one of the several oversights in Lisbon and gaze down on the city panorama.

Photos to come.

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