|Subject: Egypt trip, part 6 of 6|
Here's the last of my journal which finishes up Egypt & includes our 5 nights in the little fishing village of Salema, in the Algarve region of Portugal, a gtg with Canadian Ziners,& one quick night in Paris.
Back to Friday, January 30#After a night on the train in a sleeping compartment, we were met at the Giza train station by Wy el, Milano rep who spoke very little English, who with the driver, took us to the hotel where we rested, showered, had breakfast. The driver, Wy el, & Dalia met us for a final tour of Old Cairo#two very old, old churches, Coptic & Jewish. It was a Friday & the day before a major Muslim holy day celebration so we couldn#t go into a Mosque. We went to the Khan el Khalili bazaar, looked a bit, & had mint tea. Then we were transferred back to the hotel. Today#s highlight was that Dalia brought picturess of her engagement party at her parents# home in early January, told us what everything meant & invited us to visit her in her new home when we return. She & her fiance will either get married in May or August. We got back to the hotel, had very good, fresh pizza for lunch, slept a few hours. Wy el, again with driver, picked us up for transfer to the airport by midnight. Along the way through Cairo, we saw herds of sheep who were going to be tomorrow#s feast. Since I was traveling business class we went through the check in line very rapidly & had a pass for us both to the 1st class lounge where we stayed until boarding time. The flight was uneventful but we arrived at Charles DeGaulle airport in Paris about 20 minutes late. There was a huge crowd & a long wait going through passport control & then sketchy directions on how to get to our gate! We walked fast, about 15 minutes & barely made our flight to Lisbon but our luggage didn#t!
Saturday, January 31#We arrived in Lisbon about 9am, tired, no luggage, no Euros. We filled our forms for lost luggage only they call it Baggage Irregularity process, got Euros after several ATM attempts (did I mention we were tired), got coffee & a ham sandwich, picked up the rental car. The Euros were an unpleasant surprise. We were used to lots of Egyptian pounds to the US dollar. Well, it#s one Euro to $1.27! It was showering off & mostly on, on the drive from Lisbon to Salema, about 310 km. No problem except the wonderful 4-lane highway was a toll road. We went through an unmanned concrete barrier-type place but saw no place to take a ticket (did I say we were tired & groggy! No sleep, overnight flight, lost luggage) Anyway, we were in trouble when we got to the toll booth about 200 km down the road! 48.60 Euros instead of 18.60#all because we didn#t have a toll ticket. 8-( We arrived in Salema, checked in with John at his Amare B & B. He took us up the very narrow, one small car wide lane to our home for the next 5 nights, Casa Herminia. It is so delightful. The internet pictures don#t do it justice. We settled in, John quickly agreed to talk to the airline people about our luggage & bring it up when it arrived. We got back in our little car & drove a couple miles to a nice supermercado to stock up on breakfast supplies as well as our #comfort foods##.mashed potatoes for Margo(oops, no salt in the Casa) & mushroom soup for me. We plan to fix our own breakfast#scrambled eggs, etc. Then, go out for lunch & have a small evening snack. We both watched a little CNN & Sky News & an old Love Boat & crawled into bed. Margo & I travel really well together but after 10/11 days we both were glad to have our own rooms & a little private time. Sunday, February 1#I was up early, about 6am, drove down to the Salema town square & looked around for the international telephone, found it, used my phone card to call my honey. The card which I#d purchased for 15 Euros in the Lisbon airport worked beautifully, 1st time I tried it! It was so good to hear Roger#s soft, almost southern-sounding voice. The trip has been fantastic but I#m ready to be back home. After I reluctantly said goodbye, I drove up to the Amare B & B where John said the lounge was always open & the computer internet always available, free to guests. I read a lovely message from Roger. Wow! Talked to him on the phone AND had an email from my honey! Riches! I went back to Casa Herminia for coffee & breakfast & then back to bed #cause it was raining & we didn#t have our luggage yet. Guess we really didn#t need an excuse#.we#re on vacation! My luggage arrived about noon & Margo#s later in the afternoon. We met Annabelle & Bill from Ontario, Canada, new TravelZine members at the Atlantico restaurant in Salema for a delightful lunch on the deck. The rain held off long enough for us to finish lunch. When I was in Salema 2 years ago the Atlantico was a ramshackle wood & canvas building on the beach. Now it#s a beautiful new building overlooking the beach. We enjoyed charcoal-grilled fish for lunch..golden bream for Margo & me, sea bass for Annabelle & sardines for Bill while we related our Egyptian adventures & Bill & Annabelle talked about their upcoming trip of 100 days to see Portugal, Andorra, & France. What a wonderful retirement present to themselves. They retired from teaching & left Canada on Thurs., January 29, & here it is the starting of their adventure. We ended our visit with coffee at Casa Herminia. By this time, the rain had started again & we couldn#t sit on our patio overlooking the Atlantic. We plan to meet our new friends at their digs in Praia do Luz#s Ocean Club for lunch on Tues. Since Margo & I planned our stay in Salema as a resting time after the intense & busy tour of Egypt, it is just that. Restful. The setting is beautiful#lovely, restful sound of the sea on the shore, a peaceful view of the Atlantic, & so quiet, only a few people along this lane & a few cats & dogs. This part of Salema is an old Portugeuse fishing village. On another hill overlooking the square are several condos & hotels. Monday, February 2#We checked our email messages at Amare while the sun streamed in the window & John, the owner tried to shoo us out into the sunshine. I had a nice message from my son, Erin, & wonderful pics of my brother, Mike#s new grandson. That brought tears of joy ! Later my sister, Iris, said that the picture showed the new baby with one hand in a fist & the other wrapped tightly around his granddad#s heart. After checking messages, we were off to Caldas Monchique#the old Roman spa town, driving through orange groves with lots of ripe fruit on the trees. We couldn#t get a massage because the spa was closing at 1pm. We walked around a bit & decided to drive back to Sagres for lunch on the beach at the O Tel heiro do Infante at the Praia du Mareta. Iris & I ate there 2 years ago & the food was great & the location better. The owner greeted us today & chatted#maybe because we ordered their specialty, monkfish cataplano, a wonderful fish stew cooked in a covered, metal dish. It was absolutely worth the 40 Euros for 2 people! It had monkfish, crab, mussels, prawns, with veggies in a nice broth. It was enough for 3-4 people & we were stuffed & had to leave some. The sun was wonderful, the sea was sparkly & the surfers were catching the waves. It was a lovely afternoon. We came back to our casa, Margo, who#s catching a cold, had a nap while I sat on the patio overlooking the sea, reading & enjoying. Tuesday, February 3#It is a lovely morning, sunshine but the breeze is blowing. After breakfast I walked downhill to the little town square. There#s construction going on & the road is blocked to cars. Nothing opened until 9:30 so I sat by the beach enjoying the surf & the sun. A couple small trucks were in the square selling produce. I went to the travel agency to get our flight to Paris re-confirmed. The woman at the agency couldn#t get through to Air France..no one answered, even at 10am. We#ll try again tomorrow. I used the internet there instead of walking up another hill to Amare. Then I went next door to the souvenir shop where Iris & I had bought ceramics 2 years ago. It is now managed by a young couple with a 5 month old, adorable baby, Lorena. Marlena is from Poland & her husband, Sergio, is Portugeuse & his parents own the shop. We had a delightful conversation. They both speak very good English. Marlena said her mother who now lives in Chicago made her study hard! I bought 2 pairs of earrings & they gave me another pair. We got talking about earrings & I showed them my bag of earrings, purchased during my travels. I always wear different earrings on each ear, not a matching pair, so I try to buy charms or little necklaces, then put them on wires to wear as earrings. I gave Marlena a beaded Native American earring with a little feather on in & she said she had one earring she wanted to give me if I#d comeback tomorrow. Such nice people. I walked back up the hill, made coffee which Margo & I enjoyed while we sat on our patio. Now it#s time to go to Luz for lunch with Annabelle & Bill. We got to Luz in about 20 minutes & waited inside the Bull, an English pub near the Praca Republica. Bill & Annabelle waited outside! We finally got together & walked to the Fortaleza Luz, an old fort turned into a restaurant, overlooking the water & rocks. Lunch was grilled salmon for Margo & Annabelle, rabbit for Bill, spinach tortellini for me + fish soup for 3 of us. We sampled each other#s meals & found they were all delicious. Margo & I paid a total of 25 Euros for our meals. We walked a couple blocks to Bill & Annabelle#s 2 level condo at Ocean Club. They#re on the 2nd row of buildings from the ocean so they have a restricted view but can still see the water & have 2 balconies, nice kitchen, 2 bathrooms, both downstairs, 2 small bedrooms. We had a nice visit & came home to let Margo tend her cold. The street was still blocked by big equipment digging a BIG hole. I dropped Margo off to go to the B & B to email & I drove to the upper part of the one way lane to our casa, drove the wrong way down the street to a parking place. Well, I figured if the road was blocked at the beginning of the lane, no one would be coming up the right way! We rested, listened to the sea whush on the shore, so peaceful. Wednesday, February 4#Breakfast is over & I#m all packed. Yes, I#m excited to be back in Idaho. Such a wonderful trip but I#m ready to be home with my beloved Roger. The trip has been everything we hoped for & more. This morning we#ll pay our bill, go to see Marlena & Sergio at the souvenir shop in Salema, try to reconfirm our flight for Lisbon to Paris, & my flight from Paris to Spokane on Friday at the travel agency. Air France cancelled my same flight from DeGaulle to Philadelphia a few days ago for security reasons. Hope that doesn#t happen to mine. Then we#ll gas up, go to Sagres to the Fort & to the port for lunch. We have to get started very early#6am for the 3 1/2 hour drive#our plane leaves at 11:20am. I paid 20 Euros or about $25 usd for having my clothes washed (had more clothes than these washed in Egypt for about $6-7 usd), My half of the 5 nights stay in Casa Herminia was 150 Euros. Marlena, at the souvenir shop, gave me 2 earrings for my collection, one is a Native American beaded earring with porcupine quills & the other is a very old, silver earring from Poland. I was very touched. We bought a few ceramic items & then drove out to Cape St. Vincent#the end of the world#or at least the furthest western point in Europe. We stopped at an Artesanto place for a few more ceramics. I found a donkey tile similar to the one that was broken in my luggage last time I was here. The Tasca restaurant at the Sagres fishing harbor was not open so we went back to the Te Heiro on the Maleta Beach in Sagres. We led an English couple there who were looking for an open restaurant. We had a lovely lunch#sea bass for Margo & charcoal-grilled squid for me with lovely veggies, small bottle of white wine for me & chai for Margo. We ended with coffee & almond cake for dessert. It was about 25 Euros each, expensive, but what the heck, our last day in Portugal. Back to the casa after gassing up. Unleaded gas cost 1 Euro per liter & it took 35 Euros to fill up our little bitty Toyota economy car. Thursday, February 5#Up at 5, on the road by 6am. This time we picked up a ticket for the toll road & our cost was 18 Euros. We turned the car in, checked in, & our flight to Paris was uneventful. The taxi ride to the hotel was 38 Euros. The Hotel Deux Illes is on Saint Louis Island in the Seine & about a 5 minute walk from Notre Dame. The hotel was about $200 usd for a double & was well worth it. It was a nice-sized room with the biggest, nicest bathroom I#ve seen in a European hotel. The tub had a beautiful tiled mural. I got well-acquainted with the bathroom during the night because I was sick all night. After going all through Egypt & Portugal for 16 days, my system finally succumbed to vomiting & diarrhea! But earlier in the evening we explored the lovely area, nice little shops, restaurants, cafes, bistros. It was like a little village. We had coffee & apple tart in one of the little cafes & talked with an American lady who had lived on the island for 30 years, married to a Frenchman, she was originally from NY. Her mother-in-law had bought their apartment in 1935. We walked to Notre Dame & toured it. It was smaller than I#d expected & interesting but I prefer Westminster Abbey in London. I lit a candle & prayed a bit. Back at the hotel we cancelled a gtg with Jeannine, a TravelZiner studying in Paris. Margo#s cold was worse & I was worn out & beginning to get sick. We went to a pharmacy for Margo & then back to the room. Margo coughed all night & I spent a great deal of time in the bathroom. Not our best night! Friday, February 6#I was up early#actually we hardly slept. I took a taxi to the airport for my return flight while Margo rested until her friend Kristen arrived from Italy this afternoon. They will spend a few days before flying home. The Air France flight to Philadelphia was on time & the flight was uneventful except for a little turbulence over Newfoundland. I went through customs in record time#about 15 minutes. Ours was the only flight arriving at 1:05pm. The luggage recheck was easy & I had a long walk to the next gate which was a good chance to stretch my legs. Had time in Salt Lake to call my son, Erin, & find out that he#s headed for the Middle East in about 3 weeks. He#s a major in the USAF & will be deployed for 3 months or so. The Skywest flight to Spokane was full but online getting into Spokane. It was a slow 2 hour drive home. I got home about 12:30am, greeted by man & dog! A great welcome home. All my treasures made it home intact except one#the fragile, handblown perfume bottle, the lotus & papyrus essential oils which I wear & remember the lovely time spent smelling lots of exotic fragrances in the perfume palace, the papyrus sheets with glowingly painted hieroglyphics & scenes from the tombs of pharoahs & queens, the pottery purchased in Portugal, 2 cans of Egyptian Stella beer, & many odds & ends + my lovely earrings. The only casualty was my beautiful, fragile alabaster vase which came out of my suitcase & its cocoon of packaging & lots of tape with a jagged hole in its side & a chip in its lip which Roger carefully glued back in place. I lit a small candle inside the vase & am enjoying the light which comes through the hole & through the opaque sides. It glows & reminds me of my fabulous trip.
Carol Bailey still reliving Egypt, but enjoying the quiet of N. Idaho