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Wednesday 2 November 2011

Iberian Journey

As the clocks go back and November begins – but the UK still remains untouched by the predicted wintry weather and temperatures “as low as -20C” – Zelo Street is on tour in Iberia. Tuesday afternoon brought departure from Liverpool Airport on the last EasyJet flight of the season to Lisbon, a route the carrier should be running all year round, although carrying skiers may be more profitable.

So the loading of just 90 – most of them Portuguese returning home – was no surprise, and pushing back at 1645 on the dot not a problem. A slightly bumpy encounter with the Atlantic Jet Stream led to an early arrival, but any optimism was deflated by the realisation that this was a new part of Lisbon Airport, with a remarkably long walk (with hand luggage) to get out of the place.

Tuesday was a public holiday in Portugal, so downtown was quiet – but rather quieter than usual. Just how quiet the austerity drive has made this most intimate of capital cities will be relayed later in the week. There has been talk of economising on street lighting and stopping bus and Metro services earlier in the evening, but this would hit both local and tourist economy badly.

Already, those bedding down in shop doorways have been noticeable: how many more there are remains to be seen. And one should bear in mind that this is not a Mediterranean city, or indeed country: the winter months bring their share of cooler and wetter conditions. Indeed, the forecast is for some heavy showers and even some thunder. Sleeping rough is no soft option.

And, as it was the last flight to Lisbon, how does the return home happen? Ah well. This is also scheduled to be with EasyJet, so it won’t be from Lisbon. The Iberian journey continues later, in hopefully more leisurely style. But the realisation that this part of the world may contain economies that are close to the edge will also be kept in mind.

I’ll post more on this later in the week.

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