Layover In Lisbon

Even in a hotel filled with Americans, you can spot the airline crew the second you walk into the bar. The jean shorts, the golf shirts, the neatly groomed hair…the clutch of folks who clearly know each other well but cannot possibly be related in the family sense–because everyone’s about the same age save for one or two senior members.

It’s been a while since I’ve passed the time with a crew at a layover hotel, though it used to feature prominently in a former life. And I hadn’t had the chance to join up with any US-based crews since moving to Lisbon nearly four years ago. So to see the city from the top floor bar of the Sheraton, looking out over the Tejo yet speaking casually in American pilot-ese, felt both familiar and strange.

We had big beers and gin & tonics, and a handful of peanuts. The purser played a few showtunes on the piano to everyone’s delight. I stood up next to the picture windows for a better view, noting the handy stencils on the glass showing prominent landmarks. My favorite ones are different–but I know some crew who won’t leave the hotel on their rest. This may be all they see.

But not us. We had just one round before taking the elevator down and out into the evening. Lisbon has so much to offer, even if you’re only in town between flights.

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