The Portugal Years: The Fourth Year – A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Lisbon

Bethy arrived in the states when she was 9 months old, and when we returned to Portugal, she was sixteen months old.  We were traveling with a sixteen-month-old tired walking, talking toddler – still without a seat. And of course, airline policy was if you don’t have a seat you get nothing to eat. We had packed some snacks for Bethy that included crackers, a couple of bananas and juice. Our flight left JFK around seven p.m. EST, and we expected to land in Lisbon near dawn. It was about a seven hour flight. All would be well.

Bethy, to my delight, fell asleep about two hours into our flight. I am always amazed by the people who can sleep on the plane. I can’t. The best I could manage on that long flight was to close my eyes and let my ears do the working. On some level I believed that God was  in charge and would take care of us; but all other levels were on red alert.

The flight attendants served donuts, orange juice and coffee. We could almost smell the familiar aromas of Lisbon. When the captain began to speak on the intercom, we were confident that he was preparing us for landing.

The year was 1983.  Lisbon airport had not yet installed radar at the airport. The Captain’s message was not what I was expecting. He told us that heavy fog engulfed the Lisbon Airport and it was impossible for us to land in Lisbon. Before we could blink, we were on the way to Faro in the south of Portugal where the plane  refueled. The captain called for our attention again. This time, he gave us the news that Lisbon was still out of reach. Then he added that Madrid was clear and we were going there to have a layover there till the fog lifted.

In Madrid, we exited the plane. Then we sat and waited in the terminal and we waited for several hours.  We had one quickly deteriorating  banana left for Bethy and nothing for us. And no money to buy anything. Fortunately, I was still nursing her, and we did have plenty of water to drink.

Eventually, we embarked again and landed in Lisbon about noon. We got in a taxi and headed for home.  It was early to bed that night, and Bethy slept well until 7 a.m. – EST.

Do you have any interesting traveling stories?

fogplane

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29 thoughts on “The Portugal Years: The Fourth Year – A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Lisbon

  1. Eugh! There’s (almost) nothing worse than travel delays. When I moved back to Glasgow from London, a one-hour flight turned into a seven-hour nightmare with various weather and incompetence related delays. Wouldn’t have been too big a problem except that I had two young cats in cages who were getting progressively angrier and more upset with each passing minute – and toddlers kept coming up to say hi and sticking their unsuspecting little hands in the bars. Constant vigilance required! I’ve never ever been so glad to reach my destination!

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    1. I don’t think it has improved over the years. I have friends who were moving to Mauritius a couple of months ago and it took them nearly two days to get there from Florida. They were traveling with their two boys.

      I just bet you were happy to reach your destination. I bet your cats were, too.

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    1. I used to like to drive. I drove from Pennsylvania to California one summer. I had a friend who shared the driving. One of the highlights of my life.

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