LISBON, Portugal – Well, it wasn't. A minibar Christmas, I mean. But it almost was.
I couldn't believe it when I woke up at 11 a.m. Stunning, considering I'd gone to bed at 12:30 a.m. But there it was, 11 a.m. And it was maybe 1 p.m. before I decided to move about.
Christmas was a rainy one in Lisbon. Gray and windy. So I decided to stay in bed for a little longer, given that everything was supposedly closed and I was lazy. I ordered a movie (Skeleton Key) on pay-per-view and made a cup of tea. By 3:30, I was famished and not sure exactly how I'd deal with it. I inspected the minibar.
Now, don't be sad for me. Christmas. Minibar. Rain. Alone in a hotel room. Sure, there's a moment that I wished I had a lover, another where I wished I was with my family more than anything. But it was fleeting, and mostly I relished the aloneness, if not the hunger. I had an invite to Christmas day lunch at a famous chef's in Lisbon (charmed life, shut up, no way, what a dear man), but as I'd been in his company for two nights in a row, I decided against it. I'd also been asked to drinks with a group of my boss's friends (DO NOT KISS HUGO UNDER PENALTY OF LAW, she said). But really, I wanted to be alone.
I set out in the drizzle and find that, indeed, nothing is open. Seriously. Not a cup of coffee to be found in this town. Nothing. Hungrier. And hungrier. I ride the famed Lisbon elevator and meander down to the commerical square to Europe's tallest Christmas tree. And popcorn. I eat some popcorn and am glad.
On my way back, I find an Italian restaurant open. So I go in. Order a bottle of wine (why not a whole bottle? It's 16 euros or about 18 dollars, not even the cost of two glass in NYC), a caprese salad, and spinach ravioli. I talk to a couple from Boston and listen while an old guy from Chicago goes on and on about hating the United States. I eat. Drink. Order coffee (American, please. How humiliating, but yes.) and some of the best tiramisu on earth.
Walking back to my hotel in the rain, I see a homeless guy masturbating. The same homeless guy who yesterday I would have bet a euro was having sex under his blanket. Well, why not masturbate? It's free. And it's Christmas. Small pleasures.
So I am back at the hotel. Belly full of wine and pasta. Heart full of love.
Allison stayed at
Hotel Dom Carlos Liberty
Rua Alexandre Herculano, 13
The famous chef who charmed her is Michael Guerrieri. His restaurant is
Rua da Artilharia 1, 16
1250-036 Lisbon, Portugal