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<   BACK    IBERIA2001  #31 Lisboa-Batalha-Lisboa  NEXT  >




            It is very hard to write this.  I feel a deep sense of grief and anger that is difficult to understand or keep under control.

Woke up at 10, on this our 50th day of the trip (half over); we spent 37 days in Iberia and 12 in Portugal.  This is a day to catch the things we missed north of here.  So we drove north for 80 miles to Batalha (bah-tal-yah) to see the great Mosteiro there containing the tombs of Joao I and his queen, Phillipa of Lancaster (England). 

 It is very touching that their effigies on the tomb are holding hands. There is also the bodies of the Unknown Soldiers guarded by the Portuguese military as well as the tomb of King Duarte in the unfinished chapel that has no roof.  It is all spectacular.  We drove 14 miles south on a different road to arrive at Alcobaca (al-koh-bah-sa) where the huge monastery here houses the tombs of King Pedro I and his love - Ines, that I told you about (killed by Pedro's father in Coimbra). 

This is the largest church in Portugal.  From here we drove south to the little walled hill town of Obidos, reminiscent of Orvieto in Italy.  The town was traditionally always a gift from the King to his new Queen.  It is very cute but a little touristy. 

 The Pousada here is the castle.  We walked some of the walls but both of us were clinging to the side wall for dear life, we were quite a ways up with no side rail at all.  Once we got down, we started laughing like hell as to why we went up there.  We then drove the 53 miles south back to Lisboa, I did my run back down Liberdade (to stay away from the DOG) and we caught a cab to La Gondola, an Italian restaurant.  To my great surprise, the spaghetti carbonara and scaloppini valdosta were fabulous as was the fresh annanas (pineapple).  We went to the Saldahna Shopping Center (open until midnight) then back up to the top of the Sheraton before going back to the hotel.  I worked on the computer until 4:30 AM and then to bed.

I woke up at 11:30 and we checked out of the hotel at 2 PM.  We walked to Saldahna and split up.  Marcia went shopping and I bought a new recharger for Dimitrii's cell phone, got a cappuccino and took it in to do email again at the same place. 

 We planned to meet at the bar on top of the Sheraton but when I found it was closed, I looked and found Marcia sitting in the lobby.  She overheard some Americans talking about no flights out of Lisboa, so she went up and asked what had happened.  When she returned her face was pale and she started to cry.  When she told me, I didn't believe it.  I got mad and reassured her and told her there is no way an airplane can bring down such a huge building.  She was very upset and we walked back to our hotel where they had CNN on and we all sat there appalled.  When I heard Pennsylvania, I suddenly remembered that Dimitrii was there proctoring two new US surgeons.  I panicked.  I sent him a digital message to call me and he did immediately - he was in Zurich, thank God.  How sweet it was to hear his voice.  He had caught the last flight out of JFK to Europe at 11 PM and just made it out after a wild ride from Philly to JFK because he missed his flight from there.

Marcia's reaction is that she continues to cry while I am so angry I could kill someone.  I told her this is worse than Pearl Harbor and I now know why young men joined the service in droves after that, because I felt I was ready to enlist and fight, even at my age.  The kids called us as did Dr. Hoyos and Irene.  As time went by the rage kept welling up in me.  Maybe this affected us differently being so far away from home.  I still don't like flying airplanes.  Quietly and with great sadness, we drove the 80 miles east to Evora.


KJH                                                               Go To -> NEXT DIARIO #32 

Evora, Portugal

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Copyright 2010    Kenneth J. Hoffer, MD