August 2017
  • Day16

    Day 17. Tram 28.

    August 24, 2017 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    I didn't mention that last evening we were entertained by some some street dancers/acrobats who were very good.
    What followed was a journey down into the bowels of the earth(Baixo Chiado metro station) to purchase day transport tickets for today.
    Bright and early we were at tram stop to board the #28 tram. Am iconic tram on an iconic journey in Lisbon. The queue was so long it was the 3 rd tram for us.
    It was great fun rattling around the streets, some so narrow you could touch the sides of the street. I have sympathy for the locals because the tourists take all the seats.
    One good thing we discovered were the Basilica was and visited it. A much more impressive building. As the botanical garden was opposite a tour of that followed.
    The #28 took us back into the centre for a visit to post some cards before a ride on the Elevator de Laura.
    Lunch followed before we got out of the heat.
    It was disturbing to see the armed police in Rua Augusta which is Lisbon's Las Ramblas. They normally are visible if they have cause for concern. We hope not.
    A final stroll in the cool of early evening, a final Super Bock, dinner and we retired to prepare for an early departure tomorrow morning.
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  • Day15

    Day 16. Judgement Day

    August 23, 2017 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    Our visit to the Sao Joao Hospital was successful but expensive. The Drs removed Shirl's bandage and declared it no longer needed covering or the sling. They prescribed some cream to be applied twice a day and we left very relieved. Shirl celebrated by buying a new long sleeved shirt. Necessary for protecting her arm from the sun.
    Coffee and Pasteis followed with a visit to the Se (The Cathedral). Not impressed.
    We strolled along the waterfront admiring the views with the intention of visiting the Basilica. Got lost and ended up in the Market instead. We like markets.
    Lunch at a Brazilian Cafe and an interest conversation with a young, Bangladesh , man about cricket. He fancies their chance against us next week. To be honest so do I.
    The afternoon was spent blogging and writing diaries as well ad planning what to do tomorrow.
    TAP have advised a Border Force strike tomorrow and Friday. Fortunately at this stage Schengen countries are not affected. Don't fancy fronting up at the airport at 4 am for a 8-45 flight.
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  • Day15

    Day 15. Sintra and beyond

    August 23, 2017 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    A guide took us to Sintra first thing in the morning where we saw first hand "tourist pollution ". There were thousands of them fighting for parking spaces etc.
    Our first destination was the Palace of Pena a former home of Portugal's royal family. We were taken to a small entrance, away from the maddening crowds, to purchase our tickets. Only for the gardens and Palace terrace. Buying Palace tickets depended on the queue.
    On our arrival at the main entrance it was quite obvious we were not visiting the Palace. The waiting time in the queue was estimated at 1 hr30 mins. In the heat we would have become boiled lobsters. Not on.
    From the Palace terrace we headed to the high cross. The highest point with great views all around. From there in the shade of the garden, quite extensive, we headed down through the Valley of the lakes to meet our guide Nunu.
    The Quinta da Regaleira was our next port of call. An exhuberant collection by some of Portugal's best artists. The ceiling panelling were fantastic.
    The gardens were a labyrinth and despite being discombobulated several times we managed to see all the highlights, which included the following;
    The Iniciatic Wall. A submarine tower that sinks 27 metres into the earth by a spiral stairway and the exit was through a tunnel.
    The Regaleira Tower, the Grotto, the Balnearium Fountain and the Chapel.
    Weary and dusty we then drove to the most Western point in mainland Europe. The Cabo da Roca. Very dramatic coastline.
    I might add we manage lunch amongst all the activities.
    A walk round Cascais with an ice-cream and we were ready to return to Lisbon. Tired, dusty but very satisfied.
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  • Day14

    Day 14. Lisbon.

    August 22, 2017 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    Bus trip to Lisbon was uneventful, passing through an huge area of cork trees. No evidence of bushfires that were on the news.
    We are accommodated in the Baixa area of Lisbon and on arrival there was a noticeable difference in temp. Cooler. The hot weather is going to follow us for the next few weeks with no change in sight.
    Passed the afternoon strolling around the area with lots of other tourists.
    Tomorrow we hope to take a trip to Sintra and Cabo da Roca the most western point of Europe.
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  • Day13

    Day 13. Evora

    August 21, 2017 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    Up bright and early on the bus to EVORA. On arrival we took the city tour bus to get a general feel of the city.
    The Chapel of the bones attracted our interest and so we visited. Built with bones from a previous time it is interesting but macabre. Like the one in Paris in it's subterranean passages.
    A Cathedral visit and the nearby Roman temple followed but the heat was too much so we had lunch and headed back to Estremoz.
    EVORA is not the place to visit in the August heat.
    After a siesta ( it is one of the things that prolongs your life) we dined and had a beautiful meal and evening.
    Shirl soaked her feet in the bidet to soften her toenails for trimming.
    Lisbon tomorrow and hopefully the weather will be cooler.
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  • Day11

    Day 12. Estremoz.

    August 19, 2017 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 37 °C

    We changed our plans today staying in town to visit the weekly market instead of going to EVORA. 42deg predicted there today against a cool 😜😎37 here.
    The market was of two parts. Flea and veggies. Always interesting to see the locals engaging in animated bartering and conversation. Not much of interest and we retired to a bar for cold drink. It was one dominated by men and the owner frowned at Shirl sitting at the bar.
    With nothing left to do but escape the heat we retired to await the cool of the evening.
    We heard that there have been bush fires near EVORA and with this heat and winds they will be difficult to see. Tomorrow we might see, experience the extent of them. Let's hope they are not too severe.
    The evening saw us visit the local church and as we approached a group of young musicians entered the church. Shirl immediately thought"concert". Not to be. It was the music for the mass. Ursula, up there with St Peter must have been having a good old laugh. Us two sitting through a mass.
    We tried the Asado Polvo for dinner. Roasted octopus. Quite tasty. I have included a photo from the men's toilet telling men not to sprinkle on the floor.
    A pleasant evening.
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  • Day10

    Day 11. Estremoz.

    August 18, 2017 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 37 °C

    First off this morning we headed off to the hospital to have Shirl's arm redressed. We approached what looked like a derelict building and entered with some trepidation.
    Inside it was clean, spotless.
    I was greeted by an older woman who clearly wanted nothing to do with us and told us, in Portuguese of course, to go down the hall to room at the end.
    There were several rooms and one with a doctor. I explained our problem. She consulted her computer terminal and, of course we were not on it. She spoke to someone and told me to go back with our passport to the counter. Phew! A younger lady, who spoke a little English, took the passport and Medicare card and proceeded to enter the details, with difficulty and consternation. As usual everyone joined in giving her advice. Eventually a smile and obvious relief and the task was completed. I returned down the hall and the wound was already redressed. The doctor entered details into the system and told us to return to the counter to pay.
    I paid with many thanks to the young lady and we left, very satisfied.
    Shirl told me she nearly had a heart attack as she thought the cost was €70. It was €4-70. ($7).
    The wound is healing nicely and several of the tapes that held the skin together were removed. I think Shirl is praying all will be well so we can walk St Francis Way in Italy. I remain unconvinced.
    The Correos(Post Office) was our next port of call with me wishing I had learnt more Portuguese. All was well and the hound man spoke excellent English. The parcel of Shirl's purchases is on its way.
    A visit to the medieval part of town on the hill was next before it became too hot.
    The visit to the local museum depicted the old way of life provided some relief from the heat.
    Not much to see elsewhere ,but we came across a gallery of marble sculptures. Wonderful pieces. Several we would have bought if it was possible. A long, interesting conversation with proprietor followed.
    Returning to town for lunch and an escape from the afternoon heat.
    Surfacing in the relative cool of the early evening we copied the locals and found a cafe by the square. (In the shade)
    A Super Bock and Ginger Ale were enjoyed whilst observing the locals. A passeggiata around the square finished the day got us.
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  • Day10

    Day 10. Our journey to Estremoz.

    August 18, 2017 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 37 °C

    At breakfast we were able to pass on our knowledge of Fozcoa to a fellow traveller, newly arrived. She had been kept in the dark about what was on offer here.
    Our bus journey was uneventful but interesting. At our 3rd stop 4 locals plus a nun came on board and an animated, loud, debate amongst them about who sat where, followed.
    After 15 mins calm and quiet returned(thank goodness).
    Throughout the trip the burnt out countryside was all around us. Portugal has had terrible bush fires and 64 people perished.
    Estremoz is to Portugal what Carrara is to Italy. They mine marble. Each will tell you there's is the best.
    The bus terminal seats, floors and walls were made of the stuff. Outside the kerbstones and cobbled streets were marble.
    Opposite the new terminal is the old one with it's protected tiled scenes. A more charming edifice.
    Fortunately our hotel was close by as one does not linger on the searing heat. 38degs. Once inside the air conditioned comfort we stayed until we.ventured out in the cool of the evening.
    Weather forecast is for the hot weather to continue.
    Looks like morning sightseeing and afternoon siestas.
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