From Prague to the Atlantic coast - XIV.
13th Day (Saturday) – Arrival to Lisbon
The alarm clock waked us at half past eight, so, cold shower followed, the tent must be packed, and disorder, created on back seats of our vehicle must be organized, as small confusion places were made there. So, we went to buy breakfast in Carrefour shopping centre. I ordered classical meals, which became popular, i.e. half-liter strawberry yoghourt, as very light, tasty and rich way of breakfast. The GPS navigation calculated us a transfer to Lisbon, Portugal capital (the distance was approx. 540 kilometres), that means, each of us was forced to drive 270 kilometres, this would be hard work, really. We passed ahead along one-line straight road N-432, at maximal allowed speed of 100 kms/h. We had to outdistance a truck or slowly running vehicle from time to time. The countryside around presented mountaneous area (the hills not exceeding the altitude of 1000 metres) and dry plain-land. We occasionally passed small villages, but in general, the countryside around was very deserted. Even green plants were disappearing. We saw more frequently the fields covered with solar plates. To tell the truth, such way of solar energy use would be worth while! The fact that you enter into Portugal, means, from administrative point of view, that you pass only a plate: „Welcome to Portugal!“
Anyway, the countryside became totally monotonous: small trees, situated on heated hills. The quality of road was worse, the surface was often „patched up“ and we were forced to overcome „beaten tracks“. In some villages, we passed even paved roads. To tell the truth, the traffic was scarce, but always, when we passed some vehicle in opposite way, we must draw our attention, the Portuguese drivers were „famous with their abilities“ in negative way. So, the overpassing in right-turning curve or before drive on horizon of the hill, this could be nothing special. And another specialties: you drive alone for many kilometres ahead, followed by another vehicle, in minimal distance from your buffer, was also a normal situation. In general, a drive to Lisbon, where we arrived between five and six o´clock p.m., was rather monotonous. We tried to get some accommodation and knew immediately, that this could not be too easy. Our fears were nearly fulfilled: one hostel was closed, the second one required clumsy money, another hostels could not be found at all. We started to be rather desperate, and, after passing several villages in the surroundings of Lisbon, we arrived to littoral tourist resort of Sintra, where the atmosphere was really fantastic: picturesque old houses, transparent sea and beautiful panorama. This area had an only defect: five persons for one square meter, all streets were absolutely overcrowded, and of course, all accommodation possibilities were full. So, after three hours of arrival to Lisbon, we finally found the refuge in a camp at north-west part of the town. I could not understand, how we could pass such locality, as it was rather big. In general, it was forest-park, where also the bungalows were constructed. Several asphalted ways were leading there, but you could be found as in forest - in Parque Florestal de Monstanto. This area was nice, the best camp, where we were accommodated till now. Moreove, owing to hilly side-view, i.e. camp-forest, rather cold wind was blowing there, and more shadow was available and no mosquitos could be met there. This camping place was situated in 6 km´s west direction from Rossia town quarter. So, we were looking forward to walking, after sitting inside the car during the whole day.
So, we went to Lisbon city centre at nine o´clock p.m. Frankly speaking, the traffic was rather chaotic (similarly as in Spain) but traffic lights along roundabout drives or five slow belts on couple of meters on straight section, all this could be of no surprise for us. We were informed from guide-book that parking in Lisbon city centre could be rather problem (with the exception of weekends, where so called payment zones were invalid). We had good luck, on Saturday we looked better free place for parking. We went through city centre. Our first impression: we could say that Lisbon resembled Prague very much. We looked at the surroundings but the hunger led us to local restaurant, full of local persons. It was such family cosy inn, one room only, with four oblong tables, the walls decorated with scarves of football teams of various nationalities, with positive smell of fish. The waiter, dish-charman, money-collector and probably a proprietor (all together) was running among tables and his loud voice was to be heard in all parts of the room. His figure was small, taking big glasses and a moustache, reminding a walrus, was very nice from the first view. We ordered big pieces of meat with pommes-frites, and we ate perfectly. We can fully recommend this restaurant, however, we have forgotten to note its name, but, according to guide-book and maps, we were of the opinion, that it could be Picanha Janelas Verdes, Rua das Janelas Verdes Street, Lapa quarter (at the sea side).
It was a pity that we did not have enough forces to continue city sightseeing, despite the fact that few people were in the streets, and pleasant cold weather was dominating, so, we let Lisbon sightseeing continuation for the next coming day.
Next chapter: Walk throughout Lisbon
Text/photo: Maxim Kucer & Jakub Štantejský
Translation. ing. Jan Jonáš
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