Portugal – Technology Deprivation

Missing Technology in Portugal

I know, it is odd that I am the one doing the Technology post rather than Alan.  I don’t claim to be as techie as him, but I got a little going on.  As you know we set out for Portugal on Halloween.  Of course, we didn’t just hop in the car and head out. No, there was loads of research and planning prior to our departure, by little old me. You see, the family depends on me doing my research and planning.
So you know me, super organized and almost anal about having everything researched. I usually have a guide-book and print out everything, place it in a folder and we are all set in the car. Not this time! No, I decided to save a little paper and just have it on my laptop or browser favorites. After all, we have all the technology anyone would ever need to guide us through this weekend.  I did manage to print out our hotel confirmation email and address, so that was a bonus. Into the car we go and head west.

The Smartphone isn’t always Smart

We are about 4 hours into the drive and we just crossed the Portugal border and I realized that the directions on the hotel confirmation email aren’t the best.  I asked Alan to get out his smart phone and verify the directions. So as a good hubby would do, he begins the search on his phone. There was a slight problem, No Data Connection! We didn’t even think about informing our phone carrier that we were leaving the country. Duh! So Smart Phones Out of commission for the weekend (unless we find free wi-fi). No navigation and no phone = not so smart phone. Yikes, how are we going to find our hotel?

Which way do I go George? I need Technology!

We decided we needed to just do our best with the directions the hotel provided us. After all, how difficult can they be?  Okay, let me tell you in the dark, with no street signs and in the rain, this proved to be quite the challenge. So somehow we ended up at a hospital. We decide to ask a cab driver, parked near the hospital.  We pull alongside him. I roll down my window and I open my mouth to speak…. At that very moment, I realized I have no clue what to say. It hit me that we aren’t even in Spain and I don’t know Portuguese. Oh no!

So I go with the old standby in Spanish “Do you speak Spanish or English?”.  He spoke very little English, but it helped! Yipeee.  He pointed and said turn left, go to a round about and then a right and then once you see Lidl (grocery store chain), you will need to ask someone else. No problem!  Off we go. We did exactly what he said, but didn’t end up at a Lidl. Long story short, we needed to ask several others for help as well and an hour later found our hotel (apartment). This apartment didn’t have wi-fi, so we were out of luck for planning the next day.

Ah, we can plan

We did manage to find our hotel in Lisbon via the direction on their confirmation email. Phew, one hurdle jumped! Upon check in at this hotel, we confirmed there was free wi-fi!  Things are looking good.   I pulled up the saved items on my laptop and planned our days in Lisbon. We didn’t have access to a printer, so I hand wrote the names of things to see etc.  We found our way to the winery on Friday morning and then headed to Lisbon.  Then I realized, I left the paper at the hotel (no smart phone and no smart Heidi).

Follow that Double Decker Bus!

While crossing the bridge into Lisbon and I point to the left and say, “If I remember correctly, there are quite a few points of interest over in that general area”.  Okay that isn’t too helpful.  We did manage to find our way to the Belém Tower and then meandered the city (more on that in another post). Let me remind you, we have no guide-book, no map, no navigation, no phone and roaming around a country where we don’t speak the language! It was so much fun.  I get an idea, “Hey, let’s just follow that Double Decker Bus. They must be going to cool places”.

That worked for all of 2 minutes and then there were bus only lanes.  We did manage to find the booth where they have brochures for the bus and yippee inside of that was a City Map!  We were set. We managed to make it through the weekend just fine. I will be honest, I think it probably turned out better than me planning it. We may just need to take a technology break now and again and just explore like we used to. 

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About Heidi

Heidi has a passion for travel and has been exploring the world with her husband and 2 kids, since August 2012. She’s visited more than 50 countries and loves to write about their family adventures, mishaps and costs. She has been an inspiration to others wanting to live their dreams. Her travel tips, planning posts, cost breakdowns, accommodation, and product reviews are also very popular. Her current home base is in Spain.

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