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Thursday, April 25: Day 3 – Freedom Day

We s-l-o-w-l-y left our luxury hotel and walked a long way to our hostel that was located in the train station. This would be our first time living in hostels. We thought that we would stop by the post office that was on the way, but it was closed. We wondered if there was a siesta. We continued on and found ourselves literally in a parade. Everyone was carrying red carnations. One lady gave me one with a hippie-like smile.

We stopped for a breather and asked a young lady who spoke English to fill us in. She was from Brazil but had been living in Portugal for 3 years. She explained that it was Freedom Day as they were set free from dictatorship 45 years ago on this very day. The red carnation is a symbol of that revolution. The story goes like this: a soldier asked a woman on the street selling flowers for a cigarette. She didn’t have any. All that she had was red carnations. He took one and put it in the barrel of his gun. Other soldiers did the same. No one was killed during the takeover. The parade continued right by our hostel. There was singing and dancing. People chanting what a man said in the microphone. It had the feel of our 4th of July.

The Lisbon Destination Hostel greeters were very friendly and showed us to the room that we would be sharing with 6 other people. One bunk was on the lower level and one was on the top on the other side. Since Rob gets up in the night, we decided that he would take the lower bunk by the door and I would climb Mt. Everest … as quietly as possible since others were napping. We were happy to see: linens, a towel and a large storage locker to store all our loot … and it locks!

We went outside to join the celebration. There we saw the biggest, juiciest, sweetest, ripest strawberries. We ate our fill and then shared some with appreciative homeless people along the way back to the hotel.

We also saw a man floating 4 feet off the ground and visited the world’s oldest continuously operating bookstore in the world called Livraria Bertrand.

After dark, we strolled down the broad lighted streets toward the commercial square where an historic video telling the story of Freedom Day was shown by projecting images on the buildings.

We watched a young pastry chef (obviously a Michael Jackson disciple with one glove) make Portuguese Custard Tarts. In the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, “I’ll be back.”

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