Automattic Life

VIP Support in Lisbon. Again.

Visiting Lisbon 3 times for work obviously wasn’t enough. Or me going last August for a family holiday. So now I’m back, feeling like it was only yesterday.

Come join me, for flight fun, food frolics and maybe some work related stuff in-between.

Thursday 23rd

I set off at 8am – a nearly 3 hour road trip to Heathrow Airport. Thankfully check-in and security was very swift and I was soon through and able to grab some lunch at 11am. Our flight left just after 2pm, with a 3 hour trip ahead of us.

But before I did, I randomly bumped into one of my US colleagues, Glenn, going on the same meetup as me, and transferring at London. He was on my flight too.

Totally unexpected, but was good to see a familiar face so early on.

The flight was eventful, after one the passengers fell asleep and his wife was unable to wake him. There was the “is there a Doctor on board” announcement from the cockpit and 2 people stepped up to help. Eventually, the man came round. We don’t know what it was about but they were giving him lots of sugary snacks afterwards, which hints to the cause.

We landed and, again, movement through the airport was buttery smooth, both customs and baggage collection. At this point Glenn and I met up with Mary, who’d landed 30 minutes earlier.

We got an Uber. Mary is staying at a hotel which a few of my fellow leads are at. Glenn and I, though, along with 3 others are at an Airbnb – a rather lovely one too, which will be the base for all of us to meet up at every day.

My room is massive (and not even the biggest one), as is the apartment generally. The view too is spectacular.

Glenn and I decided to go and explore and, particularly, find a supermarket to get some food in.

There are 11 of us in Lisbon, with 1 person connecting remotely. By mid-evening, 8 of us were here so met up at a pre-booked restaurant, Audrey’s. A great meal and fantastic to see my friends again.

Most had arrived that day from the US (like Glenn) so were wiped out. We quickly retired to our respective accommodations for the night.

Of course, that didn’t end the drama. One of the leads that had been delayed arrived in the early hours and couldn’t get into our Airbnb. Just as he was about to give up, another one of our number, who’d stayed out late, came back and let him in.

The final member of the group, who’d also had flight delays, didn’t arrive until the next morning.

Friday 24th

Although I’d set my alarm at 7am the person next door to me had their alarm set at 6:30am, and that woke me instead.

I had breakfast, showered, and then Glenn and I went to the supermarket again, this time for lunchtime items.

We started off with a “getting to know you” ice breaker, followed by our lead giving a presentation.

Lunch was a buffet style affair – bread, meats, cheese, salad, etc. Indeed, going to the supermarket and having a buffet lunch became the standard for the week.

After lunch everyone gave a prepared talk for 10 minutes on a subject that they thought would be useful for everyone to know. That took us quite some time in the end and we finished early in the evening.

At around 7pm we got Ubers to the Time Our Market. The Uber we got from the Airbnb was… how do I best put this? A BLOODY MANIAC. He sped like a madman, even bumping up onto pavements, slinging the car around the tightest corners and down the narrowest of roads too.

Somehow we got there in one piece. I got myself a local delicacy, Prego, which is a hot meat sandwich. For dessert I, naturally, had a hot Pastel De Nata.

We Uber’d back, chatted for a bit before retiring again.

Saturday 25th

Up at 6:30am and out with my lead, Andrea, around 8:10am to get some more food shopping. We’re back about an hour later and the day starts, with everyone else having joined us by now.

We did an exercise where we generate ideas on particular subjects. Idea generation took the morning and, after a lunch break, we spent the afternoon reviewing, voting on them and having general discussion.

The meal that evening was Mozambique-Portuguese fusion at Cantinho do Aziz. I had the “Lamb” Chacuti” (in quotes because it seems it was goat meat and not lamb – either way, it was very nice).

We finished around 9:45pm and headed back, chatted a while and headed to bed.

Sunday 26th

Up at 7:30am, which I thought was a lie in until I realised that Daylight Savings had come in overnight and in fact it was still only 6:30am. Bleurgh.

Today is the social activity day – some have a Pastel De Nata baking lesson in the morning.

The rest, including myself, had an e-bike tour for 3 hours from 12 o’clock.

It’s full name is the “The Seven Hills tour of Lisboa by eBIKE” and there were 7 of us in total. It was a glorious day and I managed to get sunburn on my hands.

We stopped for a late, light, lunch before going back, which was a little after 5pm.

Our original restaurant plans fell through so we decided to go back to The Time Out Market again. It was quieter and myself and 3 others found a restaurant around the outside that did traditional food. I had Duck Rice, which was fantastic. I then found a place that sold the most amazing eclairs and had a dark chocolate one. I picked up more Pasta la Nata’s for the group.

Ryan had to leave the next morning, so we said our “good byes”.

A group of us at the apartment chatted until late and, despite my later alarm, I ended up getting up before 7am.

Monday 27th

The last day before we travel home. We had an ice breaker of a game of word bingo, where we chose words that we ticked off when others said them – this went on throughout the day.

Otherwise, we split into 3 groups to work on specific projects. I ran one of these.

We presented all of our results and wrapped up around 5pm. It was such a nice day, we spent the time on the balcony chatting.

Final meal is to an Italian restaurant for Pizza (Pizzeria Romana Bio). It was amazing but there was a LOT of it. We went for a walk after and picked up ice cream (had to be done).

Tuesday 28th

Travel day! Glenn, Andrea and I are all catching flights around the same time, so leave around 9am.

I took some photos of the, now, tidy Airbnb before we head out.

Again, the airport went smoothly, as did my flight. I landed around 4pm and, after grabbing my luggage, it was a 3 hour journey back home.

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