Car rental at Lisbon Airport

We arrived in Lisbon at about 2:30, and got away at about 6. In between, we waited in a queue for our car rental, along with half the rest of the world.

I’m not sure exactly why it was slow. Partly it was some old guy who spent at least half an hour talking to one of the agents (how long, exactly, does it take to get the paperwork for a Fiat Punto signed). Partly it was because everyone was queuing for Enterprise/Guerin and nobody was using Sixt or Europcar or anyone else. But mainly it was because the agents were trying to flog all manner of rubbish, like 300 euro insurance upselling, or some b.s. toll device that they’d rent to you at extortionate rates when you can just pay tolls in cash, or whatever the next boondoggle is somebody can think of to fleece tourists.

Then, when you’d finally gone through the joys of ‘upsell’ you tramp with all your luggage out of the building, to another building, up some stairs and into another queue of people snaking through a carpark and spilling into a ramp where Portuguese petrolheads are delivering hire cars back to the pickup station as fast as they possibly could, and then my attention changed to ensuring my father wasn’t standing in the path of a speeding hirewagon.

Eventually, we got a BMW 1 series, which takes all our luggage if you slam the doors really bloody hard, and has a mysterious reverse gear that’s shy and refuses to make itself available until later in the day when you’re alone in the car, screaming and yelling at it, and an eco-mode that seems to work by making the car stall automatically every time you are stationary and in neutral. So traffic lights are more fun in Portugal than I’m used to.

Still, it has very good soundproofing and so the not-brilliantly paved roads of Portugal are nice and quiet, but it also has dreadful visibility rearward and sideways, so that was less fun on the autoroute. If the kids hadn’t been asleep (thanks, soundproofing) they would have learned a lot of bad words already.

Well, one bad word, repeatedly. Can’t wait for the "Daddy, what does ‘fuck’ mean?" conversation.

Oh, and getting out of Lisbon airport in a hire car and onto the autoroute is one of the most Byzantine experiences I’ve ever had. I guess in a quiet moment working on the cathedral in Barcelona, Gauri must have popped over to wang a few extra rococo frills on the road design here. The crazy, getting-flattened-by-a-tram Iberian.

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