Lisbon, Portugal

On Thursday night, Stephen and I arrived in Portugal to begin our 10 day vacation. After a long day of traveling, we were very excited to enter "warm" weather. Being used to low 30's, the high 60's were welcomed. Steph Johnson had arrived earlier that day, so we unloaded our bags at the hotel and set off to have dinner together. We enjoyed some great seafood, and then made it back to get some rest before the Dotson's big arrival the next morning. After a LONG walk to the hotel, we made it to greet RP, Glenda and Kelly as they made it in. It was so nice to see familiar faces, and to get to hug them after so many months away. We decided to venture out and sight see a bit, mostly to get familiar with the race day route and where to start, etc. Portugal was a great city on most accounts, but a very seedy city in others. On our first tram ride, getting on was very hectic and RP got pick pocketed...our FIRST tram ride. He was able to find the wallet with only cash missing, and even confront the culprit (to no avail)...but we were able to get over it and enjoy the rest of the day with just a minimal amount of anger. We saw the major buildings, sculptures, stores, and plazas...and made a list of things to do the next day as well. It was just so nice to be with family. We arranged for great Italian food that night, to carb load, and had a great waiter to practice our Portuguese with! Abrigaddo :) The rest of the weekend consisted of shopping, sightseeing, great lunches, delicious pastries, naps, Portuguese beer, a wine tasting, touring the Cathedral, and awesome conversation. Sunday was race day, and I was a little nervous of the unexpected--so I got little sleep! We woke up and had breakfast, then started out to find the starting point. Good thing we left a few hours early, because it took 2 buses, a train and a lot of walking to get there...but we made it. We met a really nice German man that we befriended outside of our hotel, so we had nice conversation to get my mind off of it the whole way there. The race itself was an adventure. There were something like 30,000 people involved in the "Family run," which was a 7km run/walk race. This meant that 30,000 people were in front of us with strollers, canes, bags, costumes, people taking pictures, people posing to kiss, groups 7-wide intertwined in hugs, etc. to get past to begin our race. Needless to say, after our times started, we still had 10-20 minutes of walking, weaving, running between and knocking over people to get out of the chaos. It was beautiful, though. We started the race on the San Francisco Bridge duplicate, over the channel in Lisbon. It truly was beautiful. We then made our descent to the coastline, where we ran for the remainder of the race. After getting out of the mad masses, and going the wrong way for a while, I found myself alone, running in the sunshine. It was nice. About mile 7 I saw a huge sign that said "GO KATIE," along with the whole Dotson clan rooting me on. Glenda even went so far as to buy Gracie a jacket and sewed "Go Katie" onto the back. Of course I started crying, while Stephen videoed the whole thing. It was incredible. It definitely made the run worthwhile knowing there were people there to cheer me on to finish! And I did! I finished in great time, 10 minutes faster than I expected, and loved every minute of it! I even got sunburned...imagine that :) Following the race, we ate some amazing Brazilian food and toured some more of the city. Steph left the next morning, but we had one more day of sightseeing left in us. We were able to tour the castle erected to protect the city, which had amazing views, and ended our Lisbon trip with a beautiful dinner overlooking the city at night! It was a great trip, and I'm glad we did it in Lisbon, a place I probably never would have travelled to!