Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Enjoy the Ride

If there is one thing that I am learning on this trip it is that not everyone's opinion of a port is the same.  I often ask people about the ports we are going to and they respond with a fairly short answer.  They might say that's it is a very nice port, one that they really enjoy.  Other times they may say that it is boring because there isn't much to do.  I have learned to take such responses with a grain of salt.  For one, I want to enjoy every port that we go to.  I feel that every place, if approached with the right attitude, has something good to offer.  This is not to say that there are some ports that I favor over others, but the point is that I want to enjoy each one for what it is / what I make of it. 

Today's port was Lisbon, Portugal and it was much different from the last few islands that we visited.  Unlike the islands, which were rugged and mountainous, Lisbon was, well, a city.  Generally I do not like the "big city" ports as much.  I explained to my assistant Kathy the other day that when I was in college I did not have a strong desire to study abroad in a sophisticated European country.  I would have much preferred to study in a third world country.  A place such as Kenya or Tanzania was more what I was looking for.  Given the choice between city or country, ocean or mountain, a warm bed or a sleeping bag beneath the stars, I choose the latter in all three scenarios.  That's just the way I am.  It is for this reason that I love the ports that some people think are boring.  I don't need a big shopping mall or a fancy restaurant.  Give me a tiny town tucked at the edge of a towering mountain range and I am all set.  Eating an orange from a street vendor after a long run in the mountains is far more satisfying to me than being waited on hand and foot at a fancy restaurant. 

Having said all of this, I still enjoyed Portugal.  My run through Lisbon gave me a good chance to see what the place was like.  Lisbon was a place filled with Palm trees, cobblestones, old buildings, a Starbucks, a bridge that resembled San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, and closely grouped houses capped in red roofing.  There were also trolleys which shared the streets with the automobiles.  Many of the streets were narrow, and navigating them was kind of like traveling through a maze.  Although it lacked the mountains that I enjoyed over the past few days, it was a nice place and I enjoyed my visit.  With Lisbon in our wake we will spend the next two days sailing back to Southampton and after that we are off to France.

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