Portugal: Birthday Trip in Post (or still?) Pandemic Time

During past several years, it has become a tradition to go for some fun trip on my birthday. Tonga, Italy, Andaman Islands, Croatia, Austria – to name just a few destinations which were wonderful “birthday presents.” Clearly, this year was somewhat of a challenge. How to find a country which would be: a) reasonably safe in terms of Coronavirus and fun to visit (I did not feel like going to South Korea or Byelorussia) and b) are open for foreign visitors (a lot of countries do no let foreigners in now). And then I learned that Portugal not only lifts a lot of restrictions domestically (shops, museums, restaurants are open), but also opens for foreign visitors. To make sure, I communicated with Portuguese embassy in Washington and they confirmed that this was the case. By the way and quite amazingly, Portugal has much lower rates of Coronavirus cases than its bigger neighbor, Spain.

Finding a ticket turned out to be a logistical nightmare. So many companies canceled flights that remaining options required many changes and long layovers. But here I am: San Francisco to Los Angeles, 8 hours there, then to London, 20 hours there (which is Ok with me), next day – Lisbon. The first leg, SFO – Los Angeles was easy, but…with interesting surprise. See picture below:

After landing in Los Angeles I was supposed to re-check the luggage. So I walked to luggage area expecting to wait (as always) and also see many other people expecting their items. But as I approached, the only what I saw was my lonely suitcase waiting already: it came in matter of a few minutes and there were no other passengers with luggage.

Short walk to International terminal and…another surprise: it was nearly empty

Wow. Anyway, my plane should leave for London in one hour (hopefully). I will try to “report” from London tomorrow.

One thought on “Portugal: Birthday Trip in Post (or still?) Pandemic Time

  1. A truly unusual adventure. I am glad you are blogging it. Even though the destination is perhaps not as exotic as Sri Lanka, an international trip at this time is “out of this world.” Be safe. Glad you didn’t have to do the usual elbow-to-elbow baggage pickup, with huffing and puffing as people pull huge valises off the carousel!


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