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Playing Tourist In Lisbon

August 31, 2009

Now don’t misunderstand me, I know that we’re probably the ultimate tourists – what day is it, where are we?  For your information, it’s Monday 31 Aug 09 and we’re in Oeiras, just outside Lisboa (Lisbon for the uneducated).  I know this with certainty because the GPS tells me where I am and, if prompted, when I am as well.

This is our 3rd day here, having arrived on Saturday.  On Saturday, after taking a deep breath and settling in, J and I went for a walk looking for a supermarket that the marina office said was 10 minutes walk away.  After walking round the hinterland for about 1½ hours and failing to find so much as a corner shop, we gave up and came back to the boat, tired and brassed off.  There’s nothing wrong with the town, it’s just that it doesn’t seem to have a centre where you can get your life support sorted.

One of the beautiful buildings in Cascais

One of the beautiful buildings in Cascais

Anyhow, we had a couple of beers and felt much better and then set off for Cascais, a seaside town next to Estoril for supper and a walkabout.  On the way to the train station, what did we find – you guessed it, the supermarket in a little shopping centre offering all sorts of stuff including a paper shop selling today’s English papers.  Immediate improvement in morale.

Cascais was lovely, all bars and restaurants offering a wide selection of styles of food.  We wandered round and having walked the length of the quayside to the marina we wound up having a really great meal in an Italian place near the centre.  The place is holding a fiesta this week, so there was live music and fireworks later in the evening.

The Irish Bar

The Irish Bar in Cascais

Cascais is also hosting the world Laser SB3 championships this week; great if you’re into that but of little interest to those of us who prefer to sail without getting our bottoms wet.

One of the more impressive buildings in Lisbon - note the paving mentioned in a previous blog.

One of the more impressive buildings in Lisbon - note the paving mentioned in a previous blog.

On Sunday we caught the train into Lisboa to ‘do’ the place in the accepted tourist manner.  In many ways, our expedition bears out the old military principle of ‘time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted’ in that we hadn’t done any preparation and didn’t know what we wanted to see…..  Having arrived in the town centre, we quickly realised that thing to do was to take an open topped bus tour.  Once we’d found the right bus stop, we caught a tour which took us round the city.  Without wishing to upset anyone, we were underwhelmed by the place.  There didn’t seem to be much left of the older parts of the city and the newer bits were mostly pretty soulless and uninspiring ‘though there were one or two impressive pieces of architecture, both ancient and modern.  Added to our overall disappointment with the city, the sun was very hot and every time we came to a halt we felt as though we were being quietly cooked!  At the end of the tour, we had a drink in the centre of town and decided to beat a retreat back to Cascais which we knew was quite pleasant.  

A modern railway station, of which the city is hugely proud.

The modern railway station in Lisbon, of which the city is hugely proud.

Today, (Monday) we have come to the conclusion that the water pump is terminally ill.  It doesn’t seem to make much difference what we do to it, it will pump for a bit and then refuse to play.  The marina reception have now managed to contact a chap to come and fix it for us; he’ll be here sometime this afternoon, so we will not leave until tomorrow now.  I’d have preferred a place to go and buy a new pump but that doesn’t seem to be the way things work in this place.

Ah well, now there’s time for another beer to ward off the down time blues…

Duncan & David enjoying coffee & brandy after our meal in Cascais.

Duncan & David enjoying coffee & brandy after our meal in Cascais.

Our companion David, is very long-suffering of the constant delays & seems fairly relaxed about when he eventually reaches his home near Malaga tho’ he has said he’d like to make it there before the end of September!  We need to press on anyway as we have to be in Barcelona by mid-October at the very latest, when the first lot of guests are due in the shape of the Stunning Ruins.  (For further information, continue to watch for updates on our blog.) 

 One of the most trying things for David to put up with is our capacity to sleep.  I have always been fairly fond of my bed but since adopting our new life as water gypsies, we are both capable of sleeping 10+ hours a day given half a chance & by the time we surface David has often been up & about for a couple of hours or more!  This sleepiness could be due to all the fresh air, distances walked and lack of any real stress but just possibly it could also be linked to the quantity of alcohol we seem to be consuming these days!  If other things irk David, he keeps it to himself and really seems to put up with us with remarkable fortitude.  For our part, his excellent company, help & assistance have been invaluable and we’re just very thankful that he hasn’t jumped ship yet!

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One comment

  1. Weather in Ireland – rain, rain and more rain, it feels like mid October already – urgh! Your lovely pictures of the dolphins and the pretty places that you’re visiting are making me very green with envy! Glad to see you are sampling lots of local beers and wine, let us know when you are free for a quick skype chat xxxx



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