Years ago when I was a stewardess for Pan Am I had several flights to Lisbon. Although it was a senior route I was able to bid the line because I had a year of intensive Portuguese and could make the announcements and modest conversation. It seemed so picturesque in the countryside yet cosmopolitan where we stayed in Estoril with its high rise hotels dotting the Atlantic beaches.
Last year I returned to Portugal for the first time since those early days of my flying adventures. Lisbon is now quite grown up and sophisticated but offers a feast to eyes that love color, with its myriad shades in tiles on walls and varied crayon hues shading buildings.
The Monument to the Discoveries and the world map set in marble below that memorializes the many places first visited by Portuguese sailors was very impressive. This relatively small European country became the first of the great maritime world empires by the early 1520's. Even the swirling patterns found in sidewalks recalled the waves that beckoned these intrepid sailors to cross the seas seeking the unknown.