Portugal Trip : Day 5

Day 5, 17 August: I spent the morning at the Conimbriga ruins, the best Roman ruins in Portugal. The mosaics, which used to be the floors of wealthy Roman citizens’ houses, are well-preserved. A guide would have been nice, though. I saw two lucky (and probably rich) Americans with theirs, a bellman from Quinta das L’imas in Coimbra. We greeted one another, and I felt almost like a local.

After my self-guided tour, I was back in the parking lot, opening the door of my car. As I was about to get in, I noticed something crawling out from under the car. It was a dog, scrawny and mangy, about to lose his shade. He looked friendly enough, the sad sack. As soon as he wiggled out, his comrade joined him. He too had that forsaken but friendly look. I gave them both a thorough rub on their heads and wished them luck.

Back in Lisbon, Cathy and I dropped off the Polo at the airport and took a taxi to the Marriott. Now, the Marriott is a fine hotel, an American hotel; you know what to expect. You know you’re not going to get keys left in the door and a Jane Eyre videocassette for your use. You’re going to get standard luxury. I missed the quirky experience of a European bed and breakfast.

The Marriott’s out a ways, near the university and the zoo, and the metro’s a few minutes walking. It’s a clean tube. We rode it for about 5 km, from Jardim Zool”o down to Baixa/Chiado, right in the middle of everything. We sat in a square and watched a stray dog walk around and around, looking for something, anything, to eat. I said to Cathy, I’m beginning to think stray dogs are a bit of a challenge for Portugal.