Once the buses finally arrived at the terminal, leaving the secure area of the airport was rather easy — save for the crowds of people attempting to squeeze through the passageway where passengers have nothing to declare.
Overheard was an interesting conversation between three American women on what they think they should declare the value of the belongings which they are carrying with them through the nothing to declare line:
“I think I have — what — $300.00 worth of stuff on me if they ask?”
“Yeah, that sounds about right — I think?!?”
“I might have $50.00 worth.”
I am not going to speculate why they were having that discussion — but I digress.
Aeroporto Metro Station is Closed
I followed the signs through the crowded terminal to the Aeroporto station of the Metropolitano de Lisboa, from where I was to take a short ride to the hotel property at which I was staying…
…only to find that it was closed — with no reason or explanation as to why; and no suggested or recommended alternative.
I found a police officer and asked him as to why the Metro station was closed. “Strike”, he replied. That figures, I thought to myself.
Well, that was a wrench in an otherwise simple plan.
I then went back into the terminal — which was still filled with people, many of whom were confused — to seek information as to what alternatives were available to me…
…but the lines for every information area were long. I waited in one of them. The person behind the counter told me that the Aeroporto Metro station was under construction for several days. She gave me a map and advised taking Aerobus for only three stops, which would have cost four euros and dropped me off within a couple of blocks of the hotel. That sounded like a good option…
…until I saw the long lines of people snaking around — waiting and not moving at all — and no Aerobuses were in sight.
I then considered a taxi or ride sharing service…
…but vehicular traffic was at least as miserable as pedestrian traffic.
I then took another look at the map and realized that I not only could walk what amounted to be approximately five kilometers; but that doing so actually could save me some time…
…so if I could walk from the airport to the Las Vegas Strip, I could walk in Lisbon as well. I walked to the hotel, which consumed slightly greater than one hour of my time — I certainly got some exercise out of it — and I noticed that vehicular traffic was choked on roads and highways around and near the airport as well. What a mess! I definitely chose the best way from the airport to the hotel, in my opinion.
Due to a strike called by several trade unions, withdrawals and delays in all services are expected on June 12th and 13th, except in the Oporto Urban Trains. The Arbitration Tribunal, appointed by the Economic and Social Council, has established minimum services.
Alternative means of transport will not be provided.
As to the Customers who already bought the tickets to travel on the Alfa Pendular, Intercidades and Regional trains which will not operate, CP will allow the refund of the ticket total amount, or its reissuing, without any costs, for other day/train.
Minimum services defined by the Arbitration Court appointed by the Economic and Social Council:
We appreciate your understanding and we would like to apologise for any inconvenience. You can contact our Customer Care Line for any further questions – 707 210 220 (€010/min – land line | €0.25/min – mobile networks + VAT).
This meant that the confluence of both events likely contributed to the virtual paralyzation of movement of vehicular traffic and the crowding and long lines within the terminal itself.
“The Metro apologizes for the any inconvenience caused by these repairs works, which were planned to minimize, as much as possible, the duration of the service changes in the Red line.” I would have thought that working during nights and on weekends would be the best way to minimize the inconvenience of Metro passengers trying to get between the airport and the city; but the workers probably would have refused to work on nights and weekends.
As a result, I overheard people express themselves in confusion and disgust, as the inconvenience which occurred as a result of both the closure of the Aeroporto Metro station and the national railway strike is not exactly the best way to welcome people to a world capital city.
Unfortunately, travel can hold hidden snags in store — no matter how well prepared you might be at all times — and having some sort of alternative plan of action is never a bad idea…
…and yet, it is those surprises — which at the time you will think you can absolutely do without — which create some of the more interesting tales which you will likely recount for the rest of your life.
Still, most of us would prefer to mitigate those snags — which is why I feel I have a responsibility to inform you of whatever travel alerts I can provide when I find out about them: so that you can plan your travels better if you are one of the people who are affected by them.