Monday, May 13, 2013

Lisbon Long Weekend

The one downside about living in the Netherlands is the lack of statutory holidays - there aren't as many as there are back in Canada and they all seem to be lumped together within 3 weeks - seriously. We got April 30 for Queen's Day, May 9 for Ascension, May 10 for who knows why and May 20 for WhitMonday and then we don't get anymore stats until Christmas. Unfortunately I didn't get to partake in Queen's Day as I was in Malaysia (and will eventually get all of my blogs posted :-) ) but luckily, I had made plans early in April with a colleague/friend Rebecca to take advantage of the first May long weekend by going to Portugal for 5 days.

I know Rebecca through work but it goes beyond that. When I first started working in oil & gas, I worked with her dad at Anderson/Devon and he used to talk about his daughters Rebecca & Renee who would have been in junior high at the time (this should give you an idea of the age difference). Flash forward about 14 years and her and I now both work for Shell and started to work together on a few projects in Heavy Oil (she is a landman). In early December she found out that she got a short term international assignment (STIA) over to the Netherlands to a place called Groningen and moved there in March. What is good for me is that she loves to travel too, so her and I had got to talking at work and decided that we would try this weekend together.

For me, this is the least planned I have been on a trip, and I am not an uber planner. Essentially, all we had booked was our flights (KLM to Lisbon on Wednesday night) and our hotels in both Lisbon & Estoril. Rebecca was in charge of booking our first 2 nights in Lisbon and I booked our rooms in Estoril and our last night in Lisbon. We are leaving nice, bright and early (6:30am - ugh) on Monday, so I just booked us at the Holiday Inn up by the airport. Rebecca scored for us in Lisbon big time. She booked us into the Clarion Suites, which had decent ratings on TripAdvisor and was in a pretty central location. When we arrived, which was about midnight, the guy upgraded us to the penthouse suite, which was essentially a 2 bedroom apartment. We had a living room, 2 bedrooms each with a king sized bed and 2 full bathrooms - all for 175 euros!

We have nothing planned for this trip except that we would do the Hop On/Hop Off bus to get a sense of the city and then would just go from there. Normally I have done some searching on the internet or picked up a travel book - for this trip - nope. Just winging it!

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