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Chasing Legends in Ireland, London & Portugal via TAP Portugal & BA Business Class

Chasing Legends in Ireland, London & Portugal via TAP Portugal & BA Business Class

Old Dec 14, 19, 3:41 pm
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: YVR - Vancouver, with most winter weekends in Whistler.
Programs: Aeroplan 35K, Marriott Titanium / Lifetime Gold, Hertz President's Circle
Posts: 4,514
Chasing Legends in Ireland, London & Portugal via TAP Portugal & BA Business Class

Chasing legends in Ireland, London and Portugal via TAP Portugal and BA Business Class.

YVR-YYZ (paid)
YYZ-LIS-LHR (paid)
LHR-DUB (paid)
DUB-LHR-YVR (American AAdvantage Award)


I had been pitching the idea of another overseas trip for WT73 junior for quite some time. He wasn’t so interested in Utah, but going to London and Dublin seemed to pique his interest. He placed some unusual teenager pre-millenial conditions on me; could we start the trip from Toronto (instead of Vancouver) after his mom (and step dad’s) holiday? This way, he wouldn’t have to re-adjust to the Vancouver Time Zone and ease into the new GMT time zone all that much easier. Fifteen year olds’ tend to place strange demands on parents these days. After consideration about what was more important, and knowing he probably would have a job next summer and not be as able to get away, I opted to travel to come and collect him setting off from Toronto in Eastern Canada.

Given that it was the middle of travel summer, and reward seats were scarce, I ended up purchasing one of these greatly discounted TAP Portugal Business Class fares. It earned 200% RDM mileage into Air Canada Aeroplan and would put me into the AC 35K tier for the year which was good enough to gain for North American Maple Leaf Lounge access for 2020. The TAP Portugal ticket also came with a 4 day free stopover in Lisbon, Portugal, a country which I had never visited. For $1,700 CAD, ($1,285 USD) I was able to purchase a one way business class fare from Toronto to Lisbon, connecting onward to Heathrow on A330 aircraft with flat beds for both segments.

For the trip back, I located space on British Airways departing from Dublin, connecting to Vancouver on their A380 Club World service. I was able to avoid the Air Passenger Duty thanks to departing from Dublin, Ireland. Surprisingly, I was able to find this on the last weekend of summer, when everyone is getting back to school and home after holidays. With concerns that American Airlines was going to devalue AAdvantage from fixed to a dynamic pricing model along with its competitors United and Delta, I used up some AAdvantage points that had been sitting around. For 57,500 AAdvantage awards per person and $321.70 CAD each in taxes and fees, I ended up with two business class awards coming home on the Labor Day long weekend.

I was unable to find any reasonable BA Avios reward space departing from London to Dublin. As a result, I purchased a separate one way flight on Aer Lingus between London Heathrow and Dublin for $202 CAD each, which included priority boarding, a 25 kg bag and 25% earning to Alaska miles. The short 280 mile flight would be topped up to 500 RQM under the Alaska Mileage Plan minimum miles earned policy; extending WT73Jr's expiring for another year or so. As a bonus, the flight departed from the new London Heathrow Terminal 2 (the Queen’s Terminal) which I had yet to visit. It also featured the Plaza Premium Lounge which was regarded to be among the best in the Plaza Premium system, not that it’s saying much.

I hope you'll join us on another adventure.

In this Report:

Air Canada - Vancouver - Toronto
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge - Toronto Pearson International Terminal 1
TAP Portugal: Toronto - Lisbon
Sheraton Lisboa (Lisbon)
TAP Portugal: Lisbon - London Heathrow
Plaza Premium Arrivals Lounge - London Heathrow Terminal 2
Residence Inn London Kensington
London, United Kingdom
Moxy Hotel London Heathrow
Plaza Premium Lounge: London Heathrow Terminal 2
Aer Lingus: London - Dublin
Aloft Dublin
Dublin, Ireland
Athalone, Ireland
Sheraton Athalone
Cliff's of Moher
Crystal Springs B & B, Killarney
The Ring of Kerry & Skelling Island
The Blarney Stone / Castle
AC Hotel Belfast
The Giants Causeway, Northern Ireland
No 1 Lounge, Dublin International Airport
British Airways: Dublin - London Heathrow Terminal 5
Cathay Pacific Lounge, London Heathrow Terminal 3
Qantas Lounge, London Heathrow Terminal 3
No 1 Lounge, London Heathrow Terminal 3
British Airways: London Heathrow - Vancouver

Links to my previous reports:

Melbourne, The Gold Coast & Whitsundays Great Barrier Reef via Qantas First Class, Aug 2019
Whale Sharks, Tacos and Baja California via Alaska First Class, April 2019
Fried Chicken, CNN and Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia, USA via United First, April 2019
Christkindlesmarkt (Christmas Market) Villages in Germany via British Airways and Lufthansa First Class, Dec 2018
Iceland, Spain & Morocco via IcelandAir Business Class & British Airways First Class, Sept 2018
East Africa: Tanzania and Seychelles via Air Canada & Turkish Airlines Business Class June 2018
Spring Break with WT73jr at Vail Colorado, USA via Alaska Airlines. March 2018
Polyensia Part II: Easter Island, Chile & Mexico City, Mexico via LATAM Business Class. Sept 2017
Summer is a state of mind; Kaanapali, Maui, via Alaska Airlines with my 13 yr old son, August 2017
Fiji, New Zealand and French Polynesia via Fiji Airways, Air New Zealand and Air Tahiti Nui Business Class, June 2017
Mileage Running to New York via Delta Airlines First Class for Alaska MVP Status, Dec 2016
Havana and Varadero Cuba via Westjet Holidays from Canada, Nov 2016
Malta (and the island of Gozo), Venice, Italy and Oktoberfest in Munich, via Air France Business Class, Sept 2016
South Africa, Namibia, Victoria Falls, Mauritius & the UAE via Emirates First, Qatar & South African Airways Business, April 2016
Pearl Harbor, The First Lady of Waikiki and Wailea, Hawaii via Alaska Airlines First Class, January 2016
Dodging Volcanic Ash: A family trip to Bali / Singapore with my 11 year old via Asiana, KLM and JAL Business, July 2015
RTW#3 (J): Vietnam, Maldives, and Tackling India’s Golden Triangle via Air Canada, Asiana Singapore, Air India and Turkish Airlines Business, May 2015
Experiencing flying as a "Non-Rev", Australia Wine and Beaches via Air Canada and Qantas Business, November 2014
Alaska Airlines First Class to Las Vegas, and a stay in the Aria Sky Suites “Penthouse” via Alaska Airlines First Class, August 2014
Family trip to Kenora Lake of the Woods Ontario via Air Canada Business Class. August 2014
Cathay Pacific First Class to New York, a sombre visit to the 9/11 Memorial Museum & 4 days of eating in NYC, May 2014
RTW #2 The Khors of Oman via Japan, Poland & the UAE via ANA, Thai, Lufthansa Business Class, April 2014
South Africa, Safari in Maasai Mara Kenya, & Mauritius via South African Airways, Swiss and Air Canada Business Class, Nov 2013
A family trip to Westin Playa Conchal, Liberia Costa Rica via United Airlines, Aug 2013
Buried Treasure: UAE Empty Quarter and Beyond to Huvadhoo Atoll, Maldives via United and Etihad Airlines, Nov 2012
RTW #1(F) The Time Share Presentation: Spain / China / Thailand via Asiana, Thai and Lufthansa First Class, May 2012
A visit to Macchu Picchu and Valle Nevado, Peru and Chile via Air Canada Business Class, Sept 2011
Travel after the Revolution of January 25, 2011. Egypt via Egypt Air, May 2011
A Step Back in Time: The Twilight of Burma, a visit to Myanmar via Silk Airways, Sept 2010

Last edited by worldtraveller73; Feb 9, 20 at 12:50 pm
worldtraveller73 is offline  
Old Dec 14, 19, 3:52 pm
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: YVR - Vancouver, with most winter weekends in Whistler.
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Posts: 4,514
Air Canada
AC 2066 – Economy Class (U)
YVR-YYZ (Vancouver International Airport – Toronto Pearson Terminal 1)
August 13, 2019
8:00 AM – 3:20 PM (scheduled)
8:00 AM – 3:20 (actual)
Booked: Boeing 777-200
Re-Scheduled: Boeing 787-8
Flown: Boeing 777-300

To start off, I had purchased an economy “comfort” seat for this flight on one of Air Canada’s random direct targeted 15% off one day sales. I was able to get into a nice bulkhead aisle in 18H, along with a free drink, 115% mileage earning and priority boarding for about $30 extra; definitely a score. All in, it was about $336 CAD ($255 USD), which is reasonable for this route in the middle of the summer on a Monday morning in a country that has almost no air competition. Using some e-upgrades courtesy of my Air Canada Prestige 25K status that I had accumulated through work travel, I listed for an e-upgrade at the 4 day window for access to business (or premium economy). These days, I don’t ever fly AC unless I absolutely have to or unless the company is paying. As a result, I had no other immediate use for them. The upgrade was processed to the waitlist without any issue and I was debited 8 credits for the upgrade lottery privilege.

On the way home on my last day of work at 12 hrs before the flight, I received the dreaded automated email that my flight was cancelled and that rebooking was in progress. I did a little investigation and through the Air Canada app (which allows you to track the inbound plane), it appeared that the B777 was in Hong Kong. At the time of this report, protestors had taken over the Hong Kong airport for two days in a row so it seems that the crew likely timed out with the delays resulting in the cancellation of the HKG – YVR flight. With the aircraft stuck in the ground in HKG, my subsequent YVR-YYZ flight on that equipment was also cancelled.

Not knowing whether this was going to be a scramble for best available seats, I got on the phone to the “AC Priority Contacts” where I sat on hold for about 30 minutes. During the call, I was notified by email that I was automatically re-booked onto AC 2066 which was brought in as a replacement B787 to run the flight at the exact same times. I lost my bulkhead and had been automatically re-assigned to 32B, a middle without many exciting prospects. I logged on and managed to change it to an exit row, settling for 31H. I tried to re-list for an e-upgrade for this particular flight but the reservation was stuck “Not eligible for upgrade” and advised me to check in at the counter. I tried several times through the app and on the internet but was unsuccessful. Of course, there was lots of opportunity to purchase an upgrade to premium economy and business class, which was listed as $278 and $940 accordingly.

On the date of travel, and leaving her for 3 weeks, MrsWT73 was kind enough to be able to give me an early lift to the airport. It was a 5 AM wake up and I got dropped off at 6:30 AM. There were long summer lines this morning as the day started; it had been a while since I’d been over at the domestic side at this early hour. Most of my domestic flights are at the more leisurely and reasonable business traveler hours later in the day. Over at the Air Canada Priority Check in, I asked about e-upgrades and the agent now quoted me $250 and 11 credits for the privilege. Somehow the computer screwed up my comfort fare and moved me into a flex fare category. I didn’t fancy spending that kind of money for what might be a premium economy experience and figured I would try at the gate. Air Canada's newer policies have upgrades that fail to clear into Business Class now clear into Premium Economy. I dumped the bags off, hit up the Plaza Premium Lounge courtesy of Priority Pass and headed over to the gate.

Somewhere in the morning while I was at the airport, the flight switched back from a B787 to a B777-3. I tried again for the upgrade at the gate, where the agent quoted me the 11 credits and a $250 upgrade “add on”. I questioned her about it as the online price was 8 credits and she gave me some line that it was to encourage travelers to list early. I explained that I did, but that the AC systems would not carry the list over to the new flight. That explanation didn’t sway her, or she wasn’t able to over ride anything. Ultimately, accordingly to the app, the flight went out with 5 empty seats in business and 8 empty seats in premium economy with no one on the waitlist. It was disappointing on AC’s part that they offer these e-upgrades but then don’t empower you to use them. Okay – rant over. Onto the flight…

I boarded through gate C49, which is one of the domestic wide body gates in Vancouver by apron size. I boarded in Group 2 and found myself at 31H, which was the exit row near the bathrooms on the B777. It was my first experience on the high density B777-3 with 10 across in the back and it was sure snug in the seat. It was so snug that my thighs regularly clicked against the FA call buttons which were somehow on the sides of the seats as the in arm tables occupied the sides of the arm rest. There is nothing like having your tail feel both sides of the seat. I was really relived to have no one in front of me.

The screen came out from the side seat.

There was buy on board fairly promptly after the first flight. I received my free plastic bottle of white sine Martinolles Colombard Chardonnair Grenache Blanc which was dropped off along with a thimble of coffee in a paper cup. I chipped away at the start of this trip report and the Wedding Singer from the free AVOD. Headphones were $3 CAD for purchase but I had my own.

Almost there…

Straight in with the usual windy landing for Toronto. It was into the mess and mass of humanity of Terminal 1. Being summer, everyone was going everywhere.


I headed to baggage claim. Thankfully, all the bags arrived. I brought an extra suitcase so that WT73jr would have somewhere to place his souvenirs.

Thats a lot of bags for one person!!

I built in about 5 hours into my separate tickets so I did some plane spotting. There wasn’t much to see other than an Etihad B777 and an AC B787 at dusk.

While I waited, I also wandered over to the International Arrivals zone made famous, or infamous, by where Canada’s Foreign Minister met the first Syrian refugees fleeing their country. The symbolism of this being broadcast across the news and the current governments position on immigration set the tone for Canada’s recent election issues,

At about 5 PM, I met the previous administration in the row A departure zone at Terminal 1 in Toronto. Handover was without drama and short and sweet. WT73jr was in a great mood and super excited for the trip.

We had 4 hours to kill between our flights so we headed over to the Sheraton Pearson Airport using the Airtrain. It was pretty slow service at the Mahogany Bar at the lobby lounge. It was about an hour and a half to get through a Cajun chicken burger with fries and a Bam Bam shrimp bite for WT73jr. We got a little lost on the way back as the zeal from jr sent us in the wrong direction on the train to the opposite end of the train and we ended up a Viscount parking.
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worldtraveller73 is offline  
Old Dec 14, 19, 4:00 pm
Original Poster
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Location: YVR - Vancouver, with most winter weekends in Whistler.
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Posts: 4,514
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge - International
Toronto Pearson Terminal 1

Eventually making our way back to the terminal from the Sheraton, we were the first in line to check in at the TAP Portugal counters in Row E of the departures hall. As advertised, a long line of people had queued in the economy lines for the 8PM counter opening time. Thankfully there was no one in the business queue and we were among the first served.

We headed through security. We used our Nexus cards for front of the line service. We headed for the Thyssen Krupp accordion escalator that is famous on the departure side. WT73jr found it fascinating and, as a jaded 15 year old, he took an iPhone video of it as it slowed to a crawl at the end.

Immediately opposite the escalator is the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge. My last visit to this lounge was before our Turkish Airlines flight from Toronto to Istanbul in June 2018. It’s always dark whenever I am through here and today’s flight was not going to be any exception to the practice. It leads towards a bit of a solemn mood for the place as a result of the lack of light.

It was the same usual experience. It’s a larger area with lots of space to exist in. On my visits through here, it’s varied between 40% to 70% full. There have always been places to sit.

There was just enough to snack on; almost a meal replacement.

There were some second rate magazines that weren’t all too interesting. This is the same with the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges domestically and trans-border as well.

The lounge was pretty quiet and large enough that it offered a bit of personal space between the chairs. Jr enjoyed settling into some oriental pasta spiked with peas and vegetables. Notwithstanding that teenager ate minutes ago at the Sheraton, you can never pass up an opportunity to feed the stomach pit of a youth when it’s complimentary lounge that offered food that junior happens to be interested in.

Boarding of tonight’s flight was set for 2245hrs. The Toronto Airport concourse has joined many of the other American world airports where there are free Ipads for entertainment at many of the seats. We wandered downstairs through the iconic sculpture and practiced our echo’ing through the middle of it.

We eventually made it to the gate after passing through the international area.

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Old Dec 14, 19, 4:13 pm
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: YVR - Vancouver, with most winter weekends in Whistler.
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Posts: 4,514
TAP Portugal
TP – 262 Business Class (W)
YYZ – LIS (Toronto Pearson Terminal 1 – Lisbon International)
August 13, 2019
11:30 PM – 11:25 AM + 1 (scheduled)
Booked: Airbus 330-9 neo
Flown: Airbus 330-9 neo

The boarding zone was, like many of my other Toronto Pearson experiences, absolute chaos. There were several dozen families and those that needed extra time to board having to crawl their way across the non-existent maze.

Boarding started at about 15 minutes after the posted 10:45 PM sign on the card through a strange L shaped gate. While we waited, I got a glimpse of the new A330-9 Neo parked with the sunglasses look.

We boarded through door 2L on a single jet bridge this morning. We crossed the aisle and turned left. The business class configuration is set up in a 1-2-1 design. When I bought the tickets, I was expecting an angle flat seat on their Airbus 330-2 but we since got swapped onto the newer product.

Most of the travelling customers in business, didn’t seem to be people actually travelling on business travel. Rather, they seemed more like affluent families or seniors. It reminded me somewhat of the business class clientele on our past Iceland Air flights.

Waiting at the seat was an amenity kit, the menu for today’s flight, and a set of headphones. The amenity kit was pretty with scenes from Portugal, but not particularly useful in terms of content.

A pre-departure beverage of water, orange juice or sparkling was dropped off.

I took the opportunity to take a look at the menu. The menu itself was quite Plain Jane and was simple in its presentation.

The wine list was the interesting area of the menu, featuring Portugese wines.

We got underway on time. Surprisingly, the safety video was screened and surprisingly it was wholly in Portuguese with only English subtitles. It featured scenes of Portugal. It definitely piqued my interest for another longer visit sometime.

I fooled around with the large touch screen. The flight itself from the East Coast was a short 6 hrs 11 minutes by the time we were airborne. As with most business class flights under seven hours, it’s not much time to eat, relax and get a sleep in, let alone enjoy the product.

I figured that on such a short flight, we would either get a large breakfast or a large dinner. Without may trip reports about TAP Portugal, I didn't have a great starting point for any research. It turned out the larger service was the dinner. I took one for the team and had the green pea soup with lemon crème fraiche, grilled beef, potato puree, roasted vegetables and demi-glace sauce, plated and presented all at once. I paired this with Portuguese Quint da Alornia Tejo red wine. It was tasty but the wine was presented in very small thimble sized glasses.

The beef was surprisingly well cooked for an airplane steak… perfectly red.

After dinner, we were passing Prince Edward Island so I went to sleep. The cabin lights were dimmed but not put out completely. TAP Portgual provides a basic blanket and a light cheaper pillow that is very basic; similar to what you’d expect in economy class, only larger in size.

The Recaro seat is pleasant and new looking. It is quite firm; something that would eventually transfer into a firm sleeping experience. I slept pretty lightly for about 3.5 hours. As a side sleeper, I didn’t find the seats too comfortable since I wasn’t able to bend my legs. My feet would be stuck in the foot cavity and unless my knees were into the aisle, it was a bit difficult. As a 6ft 2 inch person, I could easily touch both ends of the foot and top of the seat lying flat. Nevertheless, it was a full flat seat and better than an angle flat on some of the older aircraft that I have flown. A 330 ml bottle of water was dropped off at the seat, closing out the dinner service.

At about 4:40 AM, or 90 minutes left from landing, I woke up for the breakfast serving. The breakfast was strictly a continental affair; egg lovers like myself would be lingering for more.

A towel service was presented.

Breakfast consisted of pastries, yoghurt along with orange juice and a coffee. The coffee was fairly average; not specialty branded or anything like that.

I checked out the washrooms and they were straightforward. There were no branded toiletries or anything along those lines.

Since I didn’t have time to get into a movie, I explored the in flight wifi offers. I didn’t get an opportunity to try it out, but they offered a variety of price points.

As always, it’s interesting to see the first glimpse of the continent when you arrive from an overseas flight. Arriving into Lisbon was a little bit different than my usual European flights which usually arrive to greener climates in France, Germany or the United Kingdom. The view from the window on the approach was quite scenic. It included a fly over of downtown Lisbon.

We eventually touched down at a non gate position, parking next to an Azul jet.

Overall, TAP Portgual, was a reasonable way to cross the Atlantic. The service was fine. It was everything you’d expect from a business class crossing. Aside from the compact footprint, I would easily fly them again on this new equipment. Add the fact that they have discounted business class fares that earn 200% EQM/RDM into Air Canada’s Aeroplan and you have a winning combination.
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Old Dec 14, 19, 4:24 pm
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: YVR - Vancouver, with most winter weekends in Whistler.
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Posts: 4,514
Sheraton Lisboa
Club Level – 2 Doubles

Lisbon, Portugal

We took the metro from the Aeroporto to the Salamanda Metro station and walked the 3 blocks on the slight downhill grade to the hotel over tiled sidewalks. Courtesy of Google offline maps, it was easy to find.

The hotel has all the personality of an office drone building out of the Matrix movie series. It’s well situated for some, right across from the local KPMG office.

Once inside, it was a pleasant lobby with the usual Sheraton brown carpeting. Fresh flowers were on display in the lobby, which was a nice touch.

There was a darkish lobby bar that was attached to the hotel restaurant in a large open space.

It was a bit of slow check in as they manually typed in our passport information but we were lucky that our room was available at 12:30 PM. As a result we were able to get settled right away after that overnight flight.

We received a higher floor soft upgrade to a “”Club Level” room on the 22nd floor (out of 25) which was okay since we had booked a two double bed configuration and most suites have 1 single bed which would have meant sharing a bed with a teenager.

There was a small desk in the room which became the electronics drop zone.

Throughout the visit, we regularly visited the club lounge. The Club Lounge was located on the 24th floor. Access was through a key card at the door. There was no reception check on our stay. There was nothing like having access to a club lounge when it was thirty degrees outside and coca cola 300 ml bottles were 3 € each on high street. I was able to set WT73jr up here after a day of sightseeing and he would happily enjoy two or three of them along with happy hour snacks. Dad gets the house wine, jr gets sugary pops.

The lounge had pretty good views thanks’ to it’s high floor. At least it meant spending time up there pleasant.

The pool was a popular area. It wasn't all to modern and special but it fit the trick. It had sunshine all the way to 7 PM on the day of our visit and had quite a few tanned clients attending.

The hotel participates in Make a Green Choice, although admittedly, not many points are earned through that channel anymore.

The best way that I can describe this property is that it is a great value for elites. The property offered full breakfast in the restaurant downstairs as a platinum benefit (or in the lounge), a Sheraton Club on the 24thfloor that offered beverages and other snacks between 07-11 AM and 5-7 PM along with a high floor upgrade. Along with a super convenient location, that is reasonably close to town, I would easily stay here again under similar circumstances.
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Old Dec 14, 19, 4:33 pm
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Posts: 4,514
Lisbon, Portugal.

I never usually feel like sightseeing on the day of an overseas arrival. It’s especially worse when you are travelling east and are jet lagged arriving into Europe. Having said that, Lisbon is regarded as one of the better city breaks, so right after we arrived, we headed out to kill the jet lag.

The Sheraton hotel was in a pretty good neighbourhood and it was a great first impression to the city.

We took the 1.50 € subway from Saldanha. The subways are always a reflection of the city, and Lisbon was no different. Lisbon’s were punctuated with strange art display amid urban spaces.

We and wandered down through the Baixa district, starting at the Dom Pedro IV Place with its impressive squares. We immediately passed by some of Lisbon’s street cars that climb the fingers of the hills surrounding the valley.

Eventually wandering through the commercial district, which included the most comprehensive sardine stores I’ve ever seen. Sardines appear to be a major export for the Portguese.



We caught our first glimpse of the Elevator de Santa Justa, a public elevator that was designed by one of Gustaf Effiel’s prodigies.

We stopped for quick pizza snack, before we ended up down by the water with the Praça do Comércio. The square is a massive area and was the home of many new arrivals to Europe in its day.

We ended up taking a short walk along the waterfront Corniche walkway. What a great way to spend the first day in Europe; the sun was shining, we were out and about getting mostly fresh air in pleasant surroundings. It was sure pretty.

We then came back and headed towards the Elevator de Santa Justa.

We climbed up the Elevator de Santa Justa. We were able to bypass the main (and probably hour long) elevator line by climbing around the block at the rear and paying 1.50 € to access the platform. We climbed two circular levels of stairs to access the roof top viewing platform. It was a gorgeous summer evening and the views over Biaxa were terrific.

Not looking all to jet lagged surprisingly...

After leaving the Elevator de Santa Justa viewing platform, we wandered through the upper neighborhood.

We then took the subway back to the Sheraton Hotel where we hit up the lounge for a bit. There was only white and red wine on offer, likely due to the fact that there was a pay bar one floor up that was open to the public.

Otherwise a great first day for our 4 day Lisbon stopover. The first impressions of the city were terrific and it looked like we would have a lot to explore here.
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worldtraveller73 is offline  
Old Dec 15, 19, 5:38 am
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Aberdeen, Scotland
Programs: BA Bronze, Emirates Silver, Virgin Silver, Marriott Titanium
Posts: 1,242
Good start to your latest TR. Lisbon looks a nice place from your photos.
nequine is offline  
Old Dec 15, 19, 11:12 am
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: NCL
Programs: BAEC and Hilton mostly
Posts: 460
Looking good in Lisbon, and I'm looking forward to your reporting on Dublin and LHR-YVR!
Tocsin is offline  
Old Dec 15, 19, 5:46 pm
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: St. Paul, MN
Programs: Delta Platinum Medallion, IHG Gold, HH Silver
Posts: 409
Looks like a great start to your trip, and I would love to visit Lisbon. It's on my wife and my short list for sure.

"For $1,700 CAD, ($1,285 USD) I was able to purchase a one way business class fare from Toronto to Lisbon, connecting onward to Heathrow on A330 aircraft with flat beds for both segments."

Wow, not bad at all, and while the food looks a bit lacking, worth to get the extra legroom on the overnight segment.

Looking forward to the rest of your trip!
757 is offline  
Old Dec 15, 19, 10:26 pm
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Dallas
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Posts: 2,559
Enjoying the report so far. My girlfriend and I stayed in the same Sheraton only a few weeks before your visit, great location!
wakesetter93 is offline  
Old Dec 20, 19, 12:42 pm
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: YVR - Vancouver, with most winter weekends in Whistler.
Programs: Aeroplan 35K, Marriott Titanium / Lifetime Gold, Hertz President's Circle
Posts: 4,514
Lisbon, Portugal
Day 2

It was an easy wake up on the alarm for 8 AM. We went downstairs for the hotel platinum breakfast and feasted on the usual hotel buffet with egg station, sparkling wine (for me ) and nepresso coffee machine.

We took the metro train from immediately outside the hotel (Picoas station) to the Restauradores stop. Not immediately knowing where the entrance to the Castelo de São Jorge castle lay, we wandered down into the Baixa district and well into the hills on the eastern side of the barrio (neighborhood).

We eventually found our way up to the entrance which happened to be on the south side of the castle. It was not without a clamber through some various side streets as we wound our way up the hill.

It included a stop a various elevator view points, where we could take in a great view over Lisbon.

There was a short queue for tickets when we got to the castle but that was to be expected.

After 10 € entry and 5 € for junior at the Castelo de São Jorge, we headed onto the observation deck area on top of the walls of the castle with specular views over the city.

From there, we entered the lower castle area for some view photographs, in addition to getting some beautiful scenery. From here we were able to take in the ruins of the citadel’s former royal palace with a few old arches left behind for good measure.

We passed through the Romantic Garden, a shaded area and headed through the museum of permanent remnants from the site. This contained pottery and similar objects that were recovered over time.

Entering into the Castelo de São Jorge castle itself, we immediately went to the top turret and got a large look around. We started at the Tower of the Keep, which was the sturdiest of the castle towers and was built to withstand the heaviest of attacks.

We eventual moved onwards to the Tower of St Lawrence; a long stairway that descended towards a well. It allowed for early escape or a route for access in the event of attacker’s over run of the castle. Although it was 30 degree heat, we had to climb it, and we clambered all the way down.

Teenager was tired at the end of that. Too many iPhone games and not enough running around outside... (laughing).

We returned via the Tower of the Cistern (containing a large well) then over to the Archaeological site, which was not all too exciting. All in all, we spent about 3 hours at this attraction. While busy, it wasn’t over run with people.

We ended up taking lunch at the cafeteria inside the castle walls. A cheese pizza for junior and a cured ham and queso sandwich on baguette for me. The cafeteria was covered in peacocks throughout the trees. The screeching made for an interesting dining experience with screeching sounds while we finished our sandwiches.

From the Castelo de São Jorge, we left the castle and walked down the hill towards the Alfama barrio. We wandered its charming and quaint streets as we headed over to the Peurta del Sol. The area had beautiful terraces overlooking the city (and it’s cruise ships) with live busker music at almost every corner.

We also were able to get our first glance at the famous relic street cars that roll around Lisbon’s streets.

From the Puerta del Sol, we started to climb the hill to see the city lookouts. We climbed first up to the Miradouru da Graça, situated next to the Igreja de Graça. MrsWT73 would have loved the wine bar that was situated here, with terrific views of the Castelo de São Jorge and other parts of the city west.

It was an interesting walk up the hill, with lots to look at, including interesting buildings and tiles.

The wine bar and some interesting views.

We forged on, stopping for a water at a nearby mini Mercado and ended our climb at the top of the Miradouro da Senhora do Monte, where we took in a lot of views. The area was full of moto - pedi cabs and it seemed like this was the way to take in this part of the city.

The view was great, but teenager was also more interested in the local urban graffiti off a nearby alley.

Instead of clambering all back down to downtown, we ended up waiting for Tram 28E, the popular street car tram. The 28E route takes in some of the most picturesque spots in Lisboa. For 3 €, we managed to get on at the top and wind our way down through Alfama barrio. The street car lurched and groaned as we wandered through twisty streets aiming to photo bomb other tourists taking photos of the car. We ended up finding some standing room in the back, which was not air conditioned.

We travelled through Baixa and over through to Barrio Alto and Chiado neighborhoods where we finally hopped off on the other side of town.

We wandered back downhill into downtown Baixa. We wandered past one of Lisbon’s tram cars, that serviced the local neighbourhood. This one was in a straight line, unlike the Tram 28E that we rode that was a longer route.

A favorite for me, we happened upon the world’s oldest bookstore. It was certified by the Guiness Book of World Records, it had an interesting charm to it.

WT73jr was recently obsessed (like most teenagers are) with purchasing a cork wallet as a souvenir and promptly led me through a dozen Arab owned souvenir shops throughout the afternoon in the efforts to get the best available price. Most of them ranged from 12 – 15 €. When he found one that was only 9.90 € he was over the moon. This meant more souvenir money for his Hard Rock Café purchases.

After the day, which was 20,000 steps, 13 km and 43 floors climbed per the iPhone Health app, we took the train back to the hotel for some hydration at the Sheraton Club. Jr had two Pepsi’s in the glass bottles and I enjoyed a glass of the house wine as I organized the day’s photographs overlooking a great sunset view from the Sheraton Club Lounge.

We headed out in the hotel neighborhood of Saldhana; an upscale area filled with well to do Lisboan’s. We ended up at the nearby Little Italy; an authentic Italian restaurant that was absolutely packed at 9:30 PM on our arrival. We had no hope of sitting outside on the terrace and were luck to get an inside seat. I had an authentic spaghetti carbonara and a Portuguese red. Jr stayed safe and went with the Quatro formaggi pasta which was quite rich.

We crashed at the hotel at around 11 PM exhausted from the day. What a great day in Lisbon!
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Old Dec 20, 19, 12:52 pm
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Location: YVR - Vancouver, with most winter weekends in Whistler.
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Lisbon, Portgual
Day 3

We had a slower wake up today and set out for a day in the sea side barrio of Belém. We took the Metro from Picoas to C followed by a suburban train to Belém. It was a slow process between waiting 20 minutes in line for the ticket machine at Cais de Sodré. It took us well over 2.5 hours to get from hotel door to attraction door.

Our first stop on arrival was to head to the Jerónimos Monastery. I should have bought online as we had another line for tickets in the summer crush of tourists to access 3 computer kiosk ticket machines made longer by undecided people not wanting to pay by credit card in this cash society of Europe.

It was a very impressive building from the exterior, with interesting motifs over the doorways.

Once inside the Monastery, we had a great look at the intricate carvings that lined the walls among the inside and outside.

We then took a walk to the separate entrance that led into the church.

Most notable here was that Vasco de Gamma, the great Portuguese explorer and the first to link Europe to Asia (India) via an ocean route, was entombed. The picture came out somewhat blurry for some reason above there.

We left the monastery so that Jr could have a McDonald’s snack & I could stock up on cheap liquid drinks of the non alcoholic variety. It was about 33 degrees Celsius out today in the searing sun and the walking around in the heat was slowly getting the better of us. After that, we headed across the street to Pastis de Belém, an institution that has been selling custard tarts for some 150 years. I queued like all others for a 1.15 € shot at glory. It was awfully tasty although my travelling partner was having no part of experiencing the strange desert treat.

After the snacks, we headed for a short walk through the fountains over to the water feature along the shoreline. It was set up to admire the Portuguese explorers along with the various explorers.

There was also a chart map of all the areas of the world that the Portuguese explorers were able to reach.

We then headed over to the Belém Tower Castle, wandering along the water front walkway. We arrived to a long line at 4:51 PM with a last entry at 5 PM. We had no idea whether they would admit all those in line or cut us off right at 5 PM. Fortunately, as we got closer, the castle closed at 6:30 PM and we were all able to get in. This photogenic castle was worth a visit and although it was pretty plain inside, visiting a castle on the water isn't something you get to do everyday.

It was an interesting and simple building to climb around. They only allowed 120 persons into the tower part, with a sole circular staircase servicing the 5 floors.

There were some great views from the top, headed out all directions.

There was even a terrace that was available.

After that, we headed on a walk back towards the local train to head back into Lisboa.

And then the metro back home.

As we had a long day, and had a proper restaurant dinner last night, I gave into WT73jr’s comforts of home and we ended up having Subway sandwiches take away for dinner tonight as we were both kind of full. We walked the 7 minutes from the Sheraton Lisboa to the nearby chain.

In the restaurant, I gave Jr my iPhone to do a little google translate from English into Portuguese so he could complete his food order in a different language. It was my horrors when I got back to the room after dinner and it came time to FaceTime home to MrsWT73 and I realized that I didn’t have my iPhone with me. I tore back to the restaurant and they were kind enough to have held it for me. I gave the clerk a little reward which she didn’t want to accept but the headache for me as an international traveler having lost an Iphone at the beginning of the trip was more than the 20€ I offered, which she ended up taking. Of course, on the screen when I opened it was this . . . I guess it wasn’t me that set it down... (laughing). I need to do better at keeping track of everyone and everything.

Last edited by worldtraveller73; Dec 20, 19 at 1:02 pm
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Old Dec 20, 19, 1:01 pm
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Location: YVR - Vancouver, with most winter weekends in Whistler.
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Lisbon, Portugal
Day 4.

We had an easy wake up today and being our last day in Lisboa, we tied off a few loose ends of sights and attractions that we hadn’t seen before.

We headed down to Baiza Cha by metro and headed over to take in the church that we had passed by on Tram 28E. Inside it was beautiful along with some terrific stain glass windows.

My sister, who had previously visited Lisbon on her traveling days, had recommended getting a drink at Memmo AF. It turned out to be a great location with a fantastic view. Little was I aware, that it was also a Design Hotel. I left my Marriott credit card in the hotel room of all things. It was a great spot with a beautiful roof top bar.

WT73jr unusually took to his foodie self and located a Portuguese tapas on the menu that he wanted to try (Peixinhos da Horta com nosh aioli). With that, we had some breaded green beans with aioli sauce. It was a good introduction to tapas in Lisboa.

Continuing on with the food theme, based on a recommendation of one of my colleagues, we then walked down about 15 minutes to the Time Out Lisboa market. It’s essentially the largest open air food stall market in Lisboa. It was well worth a visit and every type of food was imaginable.

It was absolutely packed with travelers and families. It was difficult, but not impossible, to get a seat. When we did, I went to locate a Pepsi for Jr and a glass of wine for myself. I then was able to locate food stall “Mangerita Silva”. I ordered some Iberico Ham served with hard cheese with crusty bread.

With a 17 € Mista Pata Negra order... Ohh the Ham – OMG the best ever… It was melt in your mouth good. Someone else thought so too… taking a rare photos of it. It obviously rated as cool.

From there, we walked up hill towards the top of barrio. We went to the very plain outside church. The inside was covered in leafed gold; which impressed WT73Jr. There were some sinister or idyllic mosaics and sculptures amongst the sides of the church; depending on your perception.

Leaving the church, we headed back town to the center of Baixa for our last tour around downtown Lisboa. It was super hot and I had a lemon sorbet ice cream before we left.

A few last bits of window shopping, including some guitars that pique’d WT73jr’s interest. He is a guitar player in jazz band back home...

We headed back up to the hotel where we went to the lounge. We refilled on about 3 bottles of fuzzy soft drinks each thanks to the dehydration of the heat. We opted for an early light dinner for some take away Japanese food from around the corner from the Sheraton.

Our 3 ½ day stopover in Lisboa was absolutely terrific adventure. I can see why this city has high marks for a weekend stay. There is a lot to see here, a city that has a great personality, terrific food and attractions and great weather to take in. It’s highly recommended and I am looking for an opportunity to come back with MrsWT73 in the future.
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Old Dec 20, 19, 1:09 pm
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Tap Portugal
Lisbon Premium Lounge

We had a 4 AM wake up for our departure from the Sheraton Lisboa. Surprisingly, there was both Uber Black, Uber XL and Uber X all available at 4:45 AM on a Sunday morning when we rolled through the lobby leaving the Sheraton. We got an Uber Black with hotel wifi that worked all the way out to the street. A nice BMW 5 Series touring came to collect us within 5 minutes for the trip to the airport which only took about 15 minutes.

It was a bit of a confusing mess checking in. I tried to get a little advance knowledge by locating a map but the airport website was not very helpful in terms of maps and didn’t have much useful information. The Lisboa airport is a pretty dated experience. The experience involves a whole host of twists and turns across split levels and traffic crossing each other. They have expanded it but only on the departure side leaving an older congested front portion. This was not to mention that the airport was pretty busy on a Sunday morning, with lots of leisure travelers camped out or just wandering around.

We located the TAP Portugal premium check in area and dropped our bags. On request, I got instructions to the lounge. We headed for the fast track zone, which was included with our business class ticket. While it was signed, it was not super well managed as the queue was immediately adjacent to the children and family check in line which was a bit chaotic.

After security, we located the main holding area. The TAP Lounge was located next to the contract ZNZ lounge in the first Shengen area of the airport. This place won’t ever win the award for the most inspirational terminal, but at least it was functional.

We took the escalators upstairs. While we arrived at 6 AM, it was pretty quiet but it got full quite quickly. I would imagine that the place would be full quite a bit of the day as it was medium sized and not all to spacious.

Our first impressions were average. I’m not sure what they have going on with the “Kermit the Frog” green décor and it didn’t particularly resonate with me compared to other like spaces. Perhaps it looks better in the daylight? We plunked ourselves down by the glass and hooked up to the wifi. The wifi was fast and strong.

There was a wide variety of magazines available. Unfortunately, they were all Portugese and I couldn’t read any of them.

The lounge was offering food in the morning. The food wasn’t all to appealing; quite cafeteria styled. Having said that, it was tasty and there was nothing wrong with it.

The lounge featured a bar. Although it was manned at this hour and open for business, it wasn’t too busy. There were not many drinkers at 5:00 AM (laughing).

It’s always interesting to see the flagship lounge of any carrier. The main feature going for this place is the nice looking avant gardist furniture. It’s not really a place I would strive to get here early to hang out in. When you compare this place to it’s nearby competitor, the International Iberia T4S Lounge in Madrid, the Iberia Lounge has this place beat miles down. While it’s practical and sufficient for anyone’s needs, this place sadly won’t be remembered as a top experience in anyone’s traveler’s history.
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Old Dec 20, 19, 1:14 pm
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TAP Portugal
TP – 262 Business Class (W)
LIS – LHR (Lisbon International – London Heathrow Terminal 2)
August 18, 2019
07:35 AM – 10: 00 AM (scheduled)
Booked: Airbus 330-9 neo
Flown: Airbus 330-200

We left the lounge at 6:35 AM when the gate information was posted on the monitors. Like many airports in Europe, the gate information was not posted until 60 minutes before the flight.

Once the gate N43 was posted, we headed down towards the N gates. We passed through the Shengen EU exit customs, and then down towards the no man’s land of international flights. Aside from some duty free, and the odd lonely restaurant, there wasn’t much down here. If you’re travelling through here, best to stay on the Shengen side until closer to your flight.

I dropped Jr off at the gate so that I could go take a closer look at duty free. When I got back, the boarding call had been announced completely oblivious to Jr who was wrapped up in his headphones watching a YouTube video.

We boarded through the Premium lane and got stuck in a queue on the jet bridge while they loaded those that needed assistance.

We boarded through door 2 L (single jet bridge boarding) and turned left into the older A330-200. This more common version has the dated angle flat seats in a 2-2-2 configuration. We located our seats 4H / K and settled in for the flight. This is an older aircraft and it shows. It had some outdated angle flat seats along with monitors that were smaller than some laptop computers these days.

There was no offer of a pre-departure beverage, which was surprisingly odd for business class on wide body flight to be just sitting there while we waited. The flight deck announced a 10 minute departure delay for push back for some unspecified reason.

We eventually got airborne. I gave Jr the window seat so I didn’t get any ground photographs. Instead, I played with the outdated IFE which was circa the 1990’s era. It reminded me of the current IFE located on some of the older British Airways jets.

I had a bit of a nap as we climbed to altitude. As we got underway, the breakfast service was provided. It was presented on a tray all at once. It was a typically European offering of cold cuts, yoghurt and breads from the bread basket. Orange juice and a very forgettable drip coffee was also offered. Jr ended up sleeping through breakfast, thanks to the 4 AM wake up.

As we approached Heathrow, we entered into a holding pattern for about 15 minutes and eventually landed with a short taxi into Terminal 2.

We disembarked and wandered to immigration. Canadian’s are now eligible for the passport E-Gates, a change they made in early 2019. Hoping to get a passport stamp for the collection, I almost got hauled out of the line by the Border Force for even trying. I think he gave up after I told him the reason we were there. We ended up getting one “on request” since they don’t offer them anymore unless you are here for “entertainment” purposes.

Probably my last United Kingdom entry stamp...

This segment concluded our Tap Portugal business class ticket with a free stopover. The ability to be able to get over to Europe so cheaply and the ability to earn 200% miles into Aeroplan represented a great value. If you’re able to stay on the Airbus 330-900 neo aircraft, it’s much more comfortable than the older Airbus 330 configurations as presented here. At the time of traveling on this report, the older aircraft is still floating around and it shows when you ride it. Recent reports now indicate that most of these aircraft have now been refurbished.
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