Lisbon, farewell Cascais. 38:30:75N 09:20:98W

Zipadedoda of Dart
David H Kerr
Mon 18 Jun 2007 12:34

Yesterday was a cultural and gastronomic tour de force. We took the train from Cascais to Lisbon, which costs Euro 2.60 return and takes about 20 minutes.


We arrived late morning and headed for the centre of town. We established base camp in a street side Cafe called Nicolas Café, in Praca do Rossio, and set about an excellent coffee and studied the Lisbon Tourist guide book.  After some discussion we decided not to do the normal thing of taking a tourist guide bus or tram, as all the people we saw on these looked really bored. So we elected to tour the city on foot. Great decision. Although it would have not been practical to tour all the main areas, we did manage to take in a large chunk of the Baixa district and the Castelo area. The big advantage of this way of seeing things is that you really do get a flavour of the city. Lots of street entertainers, in the form of bands, electric, accordian, pipes (South America style), jugglers, fire eaters and so on. Also you can take your time studying the wonderful buildings and grand architecture  of the town. What was a surprise was that it was so structured and ordered, rather like Bath & Edinburgh. This city was DESIGNED, rather than something that just evolved. Whilst the Baixa district was very regimented and grandiose, the Castelo area was full of winding narrow streets, set on a steep hill. There are in fact seven hills in Lisbon, which does make for many and varied views. The only negative we have to report is that the graffiti artists are VERY prolific in the city and indeed virtually every where were have been. It is so sad to see splendid building defaced in this way.


After much careful searching we selected a fish restaurant just behind the Dona Maria II National Theatre, for lunch. We had the mixed (fish) bar be Q grill and chased down with a bottle of Planalto seco wine. This was rounded up by a very dramatic looking Irish coffee, served in a large brandy balloon. During lunch the heavens opened, after what had been a sunny day. So we continued our foot tour once the sun came out again, and sampled the delights of Castelo. This is an ancient fort, and has spectacular views across the city and the Tejo River.


By now our legs and feet were turning to jelly, not helped by the less than wonderful state of repair of the cobbled roads and pavements. So we found a delightful café for a libation and a well earned rest. (See attached picture of happy crew). We then headed for the Praca do Commercio, which is a vast square with spectacular and rather intimidating statues. From there was a short walk back to the railway station in Cais do Sorde. By this time were both “cream crackered” and fell asleep on the train. Fortunately Cascais is the end of the line so we did not do a “Nick” and wake up at the other end of the country!


After a quite night in doors and a gentle game of Back Gammon, we retired to bed for a good nights rest, prior to setting off for Sines this morning. Is a nice sunny dry day, bit chilly (but still wearing shorts) with the old faithful iron sail purring away once again. After that, it will be Cape St Vincent and Lagos, hopefully by the end of the week.

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