Well past midnight the train pulled into Lisbon’s main station.  My partner picked up our backpack; I handled the stuffed tote.  Walking out onto the dark and quiet street  the late August night felt warm and sticky. In our levis and t-shirts we could easily have been mistaken for a couple of American hippies. Without a reservation our hope  was to find a place open and willing to give us a room for the night.

Next to the station we spotted a hotel ablaze with lights, a beacon of hope at that late hour. The elegant entry matched the name, Avenida Palace. With four stars etched into the glass door, I knew that a room would be far more than our meager budget could afford.


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