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By Irène FRAIN Sofitel Lisbonne Liberdade

I can still taste the port, full and noble. Each sip brought me a bit more back to life. I savored it, not wanting to lose a drop of this swig-by-swig resurrection.

Then I ordered lunch. To tide me over while waiting, the waiter, having seen that I was famished, brought me octopus salad and a platter of codfish fritters. I dug right in.

This did not escape the notice of my neighbor at the next table.
She, too, was French. And, like me, she was alone. She was no doubt longing for conversation, so, pointing at my two plates, she said, “The hotel’s pesticos are wonderful.”

Surprised, I looked up from the octopus with which I was busying myself.

“Tapas, if you prefer,” she said.

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