Just like da Gama, Dias and Magellan, Portuguese explorers who navigated their way into the “great unknown” that was the Age of Discovery, I, too, take a sorta-kinda, but less challenging, leap of faith as I cast off down the gangway from TAP flight #869 weaving my way through the crowd to the far-flung baggage claim area inside Aeroporto de Portela, Lisbon’s international airport, and my first port of call on an abbreviated, seven-day Insight Vacations‘ (Insight) journey through Portugal and Spain christened the Iberian Adventure.
As a member of Insight’s latest intrepid “band of merry media” — 29 selected journalists and photographers — I’ve got one week to soak it all in then scribble it back out as we set a course that’ll wind its way from continental Europe’s western-most point facing the Atlantic Ocean all the way into the epicenter of Old Spain’s vast Andalusia. Along the way, I’ll be documenting the “art of traveling in style” — with knife, fork, spoon and camera — via one of Insight’s comfortable, business class legroom motor coaches. Did I mention onboard WiFi? Obrigado!
Greeted with the kind of respect reserved for Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal’s revered national soccer team captain), my bags are quickly stored in the boot of a shiny, late model, diplomatic-blue courtesy car and I’m whisked across town to the Dom Pedro Palace (DPP), one of the Great Hotels of the World and Insight’s five-star signature address up in the Campolide district of Lisbon.
My 18th floor digs, with an incredible view of the city’s skyline, are impeccable. From the Molton Brown toiletries, to the espresso machine, to the turndown service. I’m even gifted an assortment of goodies: gold wrapped chocolates, a bottle of port wine and a plate of Granny Smith apples, all framed by a welcome note from the DPP’s resident manager.
Down the elevator I go and head out with Susan and Michelle, Insight’s USA and Canadian reps, respectively, to nearby A Valenciana, a churrasqueria, where the frango de currasco (barbecued chicken) with piri piri (spicy-hot chili pepper sauce) and home fries is TO DIE FOR. And, the Portuguese caramel flan isn’t too shabby either.
For complete information on Insight’s premium and luxury-escorted itineraries, including the Iberian Adventure and 112 other journeys throughout Europe, just click HERE, or call toll free 1-888-680-1241, or contact your travel agent.
See you bright and early tomorrow morning as we remove the lens cap and navigate the decorative cobble of picturesque Lisbon.
©The Palladian Traveler