Portugal diary, day 4

Tuesday, 14 May, 2019. 17:17

We’re resting for a while at our hotel before heading to the meeting reception this evening, which will be at Casa do Lago, on the small lake in the middle of the park between our hotel and the meeting venue.

This morning we woke up early, being the second night after arriving, as is so often the case. Probably 05:00 or a bit earlier. Unable to go back to sleep we waited until the sun started coming up at 06:00 and then got up. We headed down to breakfast a few minutes early to find several people there already. We double checked the breakfast times, which were posted in the lift on the way back up to our room, and it definitely said from 07:00. Anyway, we ate muesli and yoghurt and some bread and mini croissants. I took a glass of what looked like a mushy fruit salad to add to my muesli, and it was just chopped fruit, so that was good.

After breakfast we prepared to head out. We left together and walked to the Entrecampos Metro entrance, where I left M. to head into the city while I turned north to walk up the park (Jardim Mário Soares) to the meeting venue. It was Building U of the Universidade Lusófona. On the way I passed the University of Lisbon as well, and the park was full of students in academic dress, as well as other students in regular clothes performing various stunts at the direction of the others.

D João I
Statue of King João I of Portugal, in Jardim Mário Soares

M. meanwhile headed south on the yellow Metro line to the end of the line at Rato, then walked south towards the Bairro Alto, or high city. She spent the day wandering around the area, checking out the sights, eventually working her way down the hill into the Baixa and Rossio Square area. Then she walked to the riverside and finally caught a train back to the hotel from Terreiro do Paço.

While she was doing all this, I was in the meetings in the university building. As I entered, I had my name marked off at a registration desk and the guy there told me which room we were using and how to get there. The room was a lecture room, with rows of fixed seating with tiny swing away desks attached, which was a change from our usual horseshoe desk arrangement. It was quite uncomfortable being in one of those seats all day and not having a proper desk to lean on. And it was very warm and stuffy. But fortunately we are in a different room the next two days. The IS&T Archiving conference is on here this week too, and today was the short courses in the same building as us, but from tomorrow they move to another building, so we’ll have better rooms to choose from.

The meeting proceeded smoothly, with the opening plenary session and opening Working Group 18 regular session full of procedural admin stuff. Then I had to sit on the plenary administrative working group as head of delegation for Australia, and we worked through the lunch break. We had a catered lunch in the room, for which we paid 15€, but honestly it wasn’t worth anywhere near that much. It was a choice of two bread roll fillings, a salad, and a couple of quiches, one spinach and one chicken and pineapple. Oh and some tiny bite-size croquette things. And I was going to go back for seconds, but a lady came and cleared our plates away before I could!

In the lobby of the building people set up a display of photography by a local photographer, Jerónimo Heitor Coelho, with large framed prints on easels and attached lights. These were impressive landscape and cultural photos of Portugal. The photographer was there meeting people and someone was taking photos of him meeting people.

The afternoon session was short, due to one of the technical ad hocs being cancelled, so we ended for the day about 16:00. I walked back to the hotel, and by now the day was hot and the sun felt burning as I dashed between shady patches in the park. M. had returned to the hotel by about 15:30. We rested for a bit in our room.

Around 18:00 we went down to the hotel bar to sit for a few minutes before leaving to walk to Casa do Lago, on the lake in the park. The restaurant is on an island in the lake, accessed by a small concrete footbridge.

Casa do Lago
Casa do Lago

The meeting reception was scheduled to start at 18:30, but there were others already there as we arrived a few minutes early. I introduced M. to some of the Japanese delegation members and then we went to get glasses of red wine and then grab some of the finger food that was arranged around a small open room. There were tables for four and standing areas outside, in the light of the setting sun. All the shaded tables were taken, so we grabbed one that was at least partly shaded by a tree. Klaus Richter and his wife joined us and we chatted for a while, before we excused ourselves to go talk to some other people. We talked to Scott Geffert for a while, and then Neelam arrived. She was sure she’d met M. before, but M. said to me privately that she was sure they’d never met. Hmmm. Anyway, we chatted for a while.

It was getting close to 20:00 when we decided to leave and find a bit more food to fill us up for dinner before heading back to the hotel. We walked west into the area we’d walked through coming from the airport since I knew there were some restaurants and shops there. We didn’t want a full dinner so looked for some place we could get a snack to take away. There wasn’t a lot of choice so we ended up going into a supermarket and buying a small baguette of brown bread with grains plus a tub of strawberries. Back at the hotel we ate some of the bread and strawberries, showered, and got ready for bed.

Leave a Reply