Our last day takes us from Porto to Frankfurt, then onwards home to Toronto. Siobhan and I woke up at 3:30AM to catch the airport shuttle to Porto’s airport, where in the cool night air, some airport employees enjoyed a smoke break as we got our luggage out. We walked over to the check in desk, where a line up began for the Lufthansa flight to Germany. On one desk, a family of three had a long conversation which ended up in them walking away, passports returned to them and luggage removed from the belt. On another, a family of Canadians began to check in several pieces of luggage. It was so early, that the gate we were supposed to depart from was dim.
In Frankfurt, we decided to take the S-Bahn, or regional train, into the city to visit a museum and perhaps have lunch. It took only twelve minutes to get from the airport into the city’s main train station, and another fifteen to walk to our destination, the Museum für Kommunikation, which was formerly the postal service museum. On the way, we passed the Euro sign sculpture at the European Central Bank headquarters, which we thought was neat, considering there’s a gift shop immediately next to it. The museum itself has many old phones and televisions, comprising a history of written, printed, and transmitted communication. It was really nice to see an old working Strowger electromechanical phone switch at work.
One visit we didn’t plan was the Frankfurt Airport Tour, which is offered by the airport authority. There, an airside bus took us out onto the tarmac, where we could see the huge Boeing 747’s and Airbus 380’s from the ground, driving us around the airport property. It was well worth the small entrance fee, and an enthusiastic employee gave us an English commentary, despite the actual tour being in German. He really made our time there special, giving us a real in depth explanation of how the airport worked. Sadly, I would have loved to stay at the airport longer to watch the airplanes, but we had to get onto our flight home to Toronto.
So, in summary: Portugal was a beautiful and scenic country, where the people were friendly. We had a fantastic time and would love to return some day. If you intend to visit, bring a circular polarizer.
Some notes from field:
- The word lavagem describes washing laundry. I want to know which words in Portuguese end in –em.
- In Lisbon, a small ceramic dish called an assador de barro is used to heat up sausages. A small amount of alcohol is poured onto the dish, then lit and the sausages placed on top of the grille.
- In Porto, a small ticket booth offered tours of vineyards and other tourist tickets such as opera and theater. However, the daily special was a tour called The Harry Potter Experience which sounded like one of those pseudo museum/science center exhibits. Turns out J.K. Rowling wrote part of the Harry Potter novels in Porto, where she worked for a while and tours are offered in the city.
- On the S8/S9 train to Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof, on certain stops, buskers appeared on the train, with a portable speaker on a dolly. Our first trip in, one busker tried to encourage the passengers, while another played a whistle. No one gave him any money as he tried to solicit down the car. On our way back, two women dragged their speaker around without playing any instruments, which seemed a little bit disingenuous. Buskers in New Orleans would eat these guys for breakfast.