Day 940 – Central Portugal – 27 Sep 12
For piccies see www.eastmidlandsdea.co.ukPrimarily this blog is aimed at keeping our daughter in the UK, Chloe, abreast of our adventures in Europe. Additionally, we hope that other readers will find snippets of info regarding campsites, prices and foreign travel interesting or perhaps just informative.
Drove down to Figuiera Da Foz (100kms N of Lisbon) on the Autovia and sorted out part 2 of the toll saga. It's so simple! Just like any other toll system except no people in booths to take money. All automatic and fairly pricey.
Our 3rd Orbitur campsite was easy to find and is large, with good facilities and wooded, about 200 yards from the sea. Good pitch with about a dozen other motorhomes and caravans. The rest of the site is holiday huts and semi-permanent set-ups. It's very hot so we strolled to the beach to view the large rollers crashing in – it's easy to understand how people could get caught out in these waters. The undertow looks very powerful. The crashing waves are relentless and we can hear the roar back at the wag. We walked along the beach to the village of Praia Cova where there are shops, restaurants and a bus to Figuiera. We will cycle there tomorrow (20th) to stock up on provisions and then if the sea fog has dispersed, we will sit by the pool.
Cycled about half a mile into Cova and found the market. Fish, meat, veg and clothes all under one roof. Excellent sardines again grilled for lunch with splendid local bread. This is one of the main reasons we do this. It's really nice to keep coming to different sites, each with its unique setting and local interest.
2 nice days relaxing and cycling into the village. Off early tomorrow to Lisbon (22nd)
Straightforward drive on A8 Toll road to Lisbon (€26!!). Most expensive tolls we've been on and we were charged Class 3 and even 4 – top rate! However, there is literally no traffic and it's very relaxing. Saw the famous Benfica Stadium of Light and the directions to Campismo Lisboa on the edge of their big park were excellent and so is the pitch. Serviced hardstanding €22.50 per night. Sort of take ACSI but at enhanced rate.
Straight onto bus into town - €1.75 / 40 minutes via Belem. There's a great view of the suspension bridge over the River Tagus, dominated by the gigantic Christo Rey statue – much like the one in Rio. Lisbon is much like Porto and has not surrendered any of its ‘Olde Worlde’ Charm. Some might call it shabby/rustic (Bill), others might call it historic or eclectic (Carole). We walked down the main pedestrian street to the centre square – Figuiera. Had some cake at the famous Brasiliera Café and watched the Giganticas dancing in the square. Bought a Yellow Bus 48 hour pass (€25ph) which gives us 2 days of Hop On/Off rides all over town, free buses, trams and a ride up the Santa Justa lift. Saves us €24 in buses alone. It's a really good deal and is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Took our first ride towards Belem and went up the Monument of Discoveries (€3) which celebrates Portuguese seamanship and exploration. Good old Henry the Navigator! The Portuguese under Vasco de Gama were really the first ones out there!
Thundered in the night – first rain for 3 weeks. Dry by morning though, and it was on the now free bus to Belem, where we took the free open top trip around the town, taking in the Torre and Palace (45 mins). Then another (free) bus into The centre for coffee and cakes. The (free) tram (normally €18) up into the hills surrounding Lisbon to find the Cathedral. Went round twice on the tram and got off half way and walked down into the centre of town after a nice lunch overlooking the River Tagus. That's a good thing about Lisbon, you can walk around it – no great distances involved and the Hop-On Bus/Tram takes you easily to the outlying attractions. Then it was up the St Justa Lift (1902) for views of the inner city (free). Then another 714 bus into Belem for a walk round and then home by 1930. There is a sort of Aire on the front at Belem which seemed popular and safe.
Looks sunny again today (23rd) so it’ll be the 714 into town and the long Hop-On route to the outlying district and a stop off at the Expo Centre and then the Basilica. Will try and get up a Funicular if possible and take a city tram ride as well.
Did all that and the threatened rain held off. Got back relatively early as we have a longish day tomorrow with a bus/train ride to Cascais.
The 750 bus from outside the campsite took us to Alges where the train awaited. Luckily we paid the €1.75 fare and didn’t use our expired Yellow Bus Pass, because a shed load of bus inspectors got on and inspected ALL tickets with a machine! And, they caught a few fare dodgers.
Return train fare to Cascais was €6.70 and took 25 minutes on a tube like surface train. The graffiti is everywhere and covered the train completely – so much so it was impossible to see out of some of the carriages. It's a Portuguese phenomenon and seems to be acceptable on anything EXCEPT national monuments – which aren't touched.
Cascais is very pleasant with lots of expensive yachts in the harbour, but clearly set up for the summer tourism trade as all bars appear to sell ‘London Pride’ or Guinness. Nevertheless, it was worth a trip out to see, even though the only people about were coachloads of tourists. We walked along the front to Estoril (20 mins) and had lunch. Estoril is quieter and set up for golf, grand prix and gambling.
Dropped into Decathlon on the way home – it's just across the road – and picked up some shoes for me, goggles and backpack for Shirl, spare bike inners, swimming hat and a foot pump. The Boules were €105 so they were left on the shelf.
Off to the Algarve tomorrow, via the huge suspension bridge over the Tagus and are due to spend 15 nights resting up. I'm pretty tired and touristed-out! My feet are killing me – so it's into sitting-on-arse mode for a fortnight and then off to El Rocio for Cowboy-Time!
All for now
M and D
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