Talal and I were ready to begin our Portuguese adventure, spend time exploring a new city and enjoy our summer vacation.
We were eager to get to the airport, have a bite, and grab a drink before our flight. We picked a spot near our gate, answered some final emails, took a few calls, reviewed our tourist destinations and chowed down. As we ate, we got notice of a delay for our flight to New York. Bad weather in NYC made it so that our tight layover would be even tighter. But when it rains, it pours. We found ourselves checking in minute-by-minute at the gate, calling AirBnB to see what our cancellation options were and trying (albeit unsuccessfully) to route ourselves through a different connection. After a few hours, United was eventually able to get us on a flight to the Big Apple, but we still would miss our flight to Lisboa. Instead of risking the once-daily, direct flight for the following day, we found a motel near the airport and decided to make the best of it.
When we made it to New York, there was no word on our luggage. Even though it had been a long, stressful day, I decided that I wanted to collect the bags so as to minimize the risk of losing them before our 2-week international vacation. The rude baggage attendant said that locating our bags could take 4 hours and was disgruntled when I said, I'd wait. So, we did. The shops closed, the arrivals lessened and we waited. Ready for a shower and a good sleep, we finally received our bags and departed for the motel near midnight.
We ordered a late-night meal, despite the limited choices, to satisfy our hunger. The wait for the bags was worth it, because we were able to shower and sleep comfortably. In the morning, we dolled up and made our way into the city for lunch, before taking our leave (once again!) for Lisboa.
After a long internal battle to choose which restaurant we should eat at, Talal and I chose Gato, Bobby Flay's establishment.
As a long-time Food Network connoisseur, I was very excited with our final choice. I knew that I wanted the eggplant and manchego bites and followed recommendations for everything else. We had a wonderful sampling of the artichoke and kale paella and the polenta waffle. We were on holiday, so we ordered drinks. If you're wondering, it was a Sunday and, frankly, we deserved it. We almost had the place to ourselves, so we took the time to savor every bite and this unexpected treat in the middle of a long journey.
A special shout out to the United credit card and the travel insurance! Because of our delay, Talal was able to cover the cost of our hotel and the meals. Can't say I was happy to lose a day in beautiful Portugal, but it really could have been worse. The bags could have disappeared... for instance.