The Lisbon Tourist Trail
26 September 2013 - Oeiras Marina
A bold move of about 5 miles from Cascais. It’s Thursday today: we arrived on Tuesday afternoon in the fog, to find ourselves allocated a berth just opposite Red Snapper and Duncan feeling that we might be tailing him! The marina is small and relatively cheap, run by the same group as the Douro marina in Porto. The finger berths are stout and the harbour is protected from the west. It’s not as convenient as Casacis, but perfectly satisfactory.
Yesterday we went to Lisbon, catching the train from Oeiras. The station is a 20 minute walk, along the sea front, through the park and then up hill into the town. The trains run very frequently and the return tickets cost €3.70 each for a 15 minute journey. We caught the fast train (which turned out to be a mistake) and went to Alcantara, with a view to walking back to Belem. There was an argument in Portuguese about which station we should alight. In Alcantara we were taken under the wing of our neighbours – a couple of down and outs in their 40s who led us to the tram stop in Alcantara. We caught the no15 tram eastwards; not one of the small pre-war wooden trams, but more like a Boris Bus. We had to pay on board (€2.85 – we had to get change from the local tabac.) It was pretty clear that most Portuguese would have travelled free – but this is one of the sick men of Europe, so we paid the dues. Standing room only : a real crush. We’d been advised by our chaperons to watch out for pickpockets… It wasn’t just us who was confused by the transport system – there was an student from Italy named Francesco who was helping some Canadian tourists.
We all exited the tram at Belem and walked across to S Jeromino.
The adornment on the monastery, which dates from the tudor period, is much more extravagant than the UK protestant heritage. Roger said that it reminded him of the carving of my grandfather Points, who abhorred any uncarved wooden surface – and he was right. Every stone was comprehensively carved. It was all very interesting and worthwhile visiting.
From S Jeronimo we went on to the Padrao de Descobriamentos on the river front – a monument dating from the 1940s to commemorate the voyages of discovery. There was an exhibition of the life and work of henry the Navigator “Talant a bien faire” translated into English as the will to do well. A motto to live by! The views from the top of the monument were amazing: but didn’t photograph well. From there, finally, to the Tour de Belem; another renaissance masterpiece that survived the 1775 earthquake.
By this time we were both exhausted by an excess of both exercise and culture, and were disinclined to run for the train. But the train driver waited for us at Belem station and )once he’d established we’d got tickets) let us aboard and then explained that if we wanted to get to Cascais we’d have to change in Oeiras!