As the title suggests, I escaped (Ha, one escapes a situation or place where one does not want to be. So, this is an inaccurate term, but WTF, I'm day drinking and I think I'll keep it.) Lisbon the last two days, once to Sintra yesterday and today to Cascais.
Sintra is an extremely picturesque little town - much like the Alfama district of Lisbon. Hell, all of Portugal is extremely picturesque that I've seen, other than the graffiti. Just what is up with that, anyway? Every non-historic, building, freestanding wall, and flat piece of metal is covered with it. Some is stylish, more rarely, some is marginally artistic, but far too much of it just looks like vandalism by illiterates. And it's everywhere!
But, back to Sintra. I got together with Taina again, and she had two compatriots with her, and we took the train together to Sintra, where we went to visit the Pena Palace. I won't go into it regarding any specifics, because Internet, but it and surrounding lands and gardens were nothing short of majestic amazeballs. It's dumbfounding to me how much effort and cost went into building and maintaining a what was essentially an occasionally used vacation house. It strikes me as something Fucktard Bezos™ or ETwat Musk™ would do, though. Hell, they probably have one (or more) already or in the works.
I have to admit the constant stopping by my youngster compatriots at all the photogenic locations to take 10-15 minutes (minimum) to pose for the Instagram photos was a bit tiresome after the fifteenth or nineteenth time. I did get some measure of revenge by taking them down from the palace on a trail, which was muddy, steep and a fuckton of fun - for me! Obligatory beer once we got into town.
I ended up with aliens in the calves when I made it back to Lisbon and got off my feet. After thinking on it a bit, I realized I'd only had 3 cups of coffee (all before 9:00 am) and two beers to drink all day. If I didn't know dehydration was the reason for the aliens, I'm pretty sure now.
When I went to leave the room, he asked me if I spoke Italian, English, Portuguese or Spanish - in each language. Impressive! When I replied "English, please," he turned his phone so I could see a photo - of a pair of well-used Hoka Speedgoats. Apparently Vasco (that is his name) noticed my shoes. (Hoka Torrent 2, in case you were wondering and I know that you were.) For those who are NOT touched by the mental illness of running stupid distances, those of us who are touched feel a kinship of that stupidity, and tend to get to chatting. We talked for about 15 minutes about races, running, and shoes. Had to get a photo. I, of course, had to name-drop being acquainted with Jim. I'm a dick that way.
Earlier today, I leveraged my existing Moovit* knowledge and my newly discovered train know how and hit the station and bought a €5 round trip ticket to Cascais on the coast. Man, the surf was up! Had a good time walking the coastline, then got a nice donut and espresso (for a grand total of €2!) in town before heading back to Lisbon. Tried to figure out the kiosk to buy a metro ticket when I got to the station in Lisboa, but got stymied. I'm not sure if it was operator error, a machine not functioning properly, or a combination of both (the preponderance of history points to the former), but I didn't buy a ticket. Not a big deal, since I'd walked there anyway. Maybe tomorrow I'll get a 24-hour pass and ride the underground rails to other places. Or not. I'll do whatever. Meanwhile, enjoy the imagery from the coastline.
* Moovit is an app that gets one between two points using feet and public transport. It's pretty cool. I first used it on Lanza.