Mon 7 Sep 2009 16:51
Wind: Calm .
Weather: sunny, warm.
Today I had set aside for starting the process of obtaining a visa for Brazil. I figured that because Portugal and Brazil are still fairly closely linked Lisbon would be a good place to obtain one. And I didn't want to get one too soon as you have to use it within six months of the date of issue. I found the address for the embassy on the internet yesterday and thus armed headed into Lisbon on the train. Once in Lisbon I looked around for a clue as to what to do next. I had looked up maps but the street the embassy was on I could not find. I spied a travel agent, they might be able to help I thought, and in I went. The young lady I approached could speak fluent English and was very helpful. She told me that I wanted the consulate not the embassy and marked on my map its location. It was a short walk and off I trotted to the Praca Comoes, No 22, first floor. When I got there the door was locked, there was a notice outside in Portuguese, and there were a few people along with me studying the notice and expressing obvious signs of some frustration. Unfortunately none of them spoke any English at all so I had no idea what was going on; for all I knew the consulate staff had all gone home and were never coming back.
What to do next? I took down a couple of phone numbers and went to a nearby café, ordered a cup of coffee and rang the two numbers. Well of course I got a recording in Portuguese. I tried punching a few random numbers in the hope that I might perchance be transferred and stumble on something in English or better still get a human being, but no such luck. I pondered for a moment then looking at my map where I found a tourist information centre, at least someone there would undoubtedly speak English and be able to shed some light on what is going on. A short hike later, I was in small busy office. Again I was assisted by a young lady who was very polite and looked up the consulate on the internet, initially she told me that it should be open and she didn't know what else to do to help me, obviously keen to serve someone who wanted to spend some money in Lisbon, not get a visa to go somewhere else. I gave her my lost puppy look and stood there saying, "Well what shall I do?" She continued to search her screen and told me, "Ah ha, it is a public holiday in Brazil today and they are closed for the day."
Good news I thought, a day's delay but hopefully that is all, I shall just have to head in again tomorrow.
Now I had thought to do a bit of sight seeing while in Lisbon today but it seems I had blown this also for all the museums and such like are closed on Mondays which makes sense, and to further my chagrin I find on reading my guide that if I had come in yesterday, that on Sundays most of the museums are free. Damn, a pity I had not bothered to check my guide earlier. Not to worry, I went for a bit of a wander anyway. Lisbon has obviously seen better days, many of the buildings are magnificent but most are now quite run down and there is a lot of graffiti about. Nonetheless the city has a vibrant lively feel to it, the public transport system looked excellent, including many wonderful small old tram cars which seem to run all though the city.
Seeing as I had to come in again and as most of the things I wanted to see were closed I decided to head back to Cascais (pronounced Kash-key I have since found by listening to the train's announcement system) and have spent the rest of the afternoon doing some much needed painting. Which I have just finished.
Now for dinner and then to hit the English pub with the wi-fi connection.
All is well.
And another day enjoyed basking in the balmy warmth of somewhere . . . I wonder where, but it is of no importance. It is very nice when the sun streams in through the companionway hatch and lands right on the settee berth, regardless of where we are. Perfect for a . . . Zzzzzzzz.