7 September 2019: Getting to Porto , Easy Peasy.

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September 7th 2019
Published: September 7th 2019
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Lisbon Architecture Lisbon Architecture Lisbon Architecture

The building in the centre is well known and has a pointy facade.
This morning was a casual, no rush affair. We had 4 hours to catch a train that was a 10 minute walk away.

I plonked into my favourite chair near the window, and looked out at a large trawler passing nearby, with an orange ferry on one of its many river crossings for the day. It was that bright , clean early morning light that highlights the colourful buildings with their curved tiled terracotta roofs. You’d never tire of this because it’s never the same.

Last night Sue and I strolled down to the Praca do Comércio, a large waterfront square overlooking the riverside. It gets very busy as many people come down to sit at the waters edge with a drink, eat at one of the many eateries, or go for what the Italians call, a passegiata, a healthy evening walk with family or friends, designed to wind down the day and settle your meal.

The evening light came in and you could feel the heat of the day give way to a cool breeze drifting in from the river. Small waves broke on the tiny sandy beach, and couples and families were in no hurry to
Praça do ComércioPraça do ComércioPraça do Comércio

Originally built on the site of a royal palace, it now is Lisbon’s main waterfront square , playing host to eateries, buskers, pickpockets, and many tourists and locals out to enjoy the end of another day.
be anywhere. Some young, undernourished looking buskers gathered to play some reggae music - was that marijuana I can smell - and created a mellow atmosphere on an already peaceful night.

Portugal has low crime rates, has successfully trialled drug use legislation that our conservative government wouldn’t countenance , and no terror attacks to speak of. It’s a pretty chilled out place.

Unfortunately Sue couldn’t confirm or deny the smell coming from the cigarette the musicians were passing around; apparently there was no such thing in Young, NSW.

Our original plan was to eat dinner in the square, but it was crowded, quite expensive for Lisbon, so we opted for the small restaurant run by Bandladeshians, I’m not sure that‘s a word, where we enjoyed dessert and the friendliest service ever. At the end of our meal, the young waiter approached us, offering shots of something. When I told him thanks, but no thanks, I don’t drink, he smiled and replied, ’ Neither do I but I sell it!’ Thanks again. I know tipping is not compulsory but great service shouldn’t go unrewarded, and it wasn’t included in the bill; I had to bump the bill up
Lisbon’s Arc de Triomphe Lisbon’s Arc de Triomphe Lisbon’s Arc de Triomphe

The entry to Praça do Comércio
to 25€, food and drinks, somehow.

This morning was a coffee away but breakfast at home before we rattled our suitcases down the tiny cobbled streets to the station. As one of my pictures shows, the staircase was steep and narrow. I made 2 trips, and it seemed a tighter squeeze than when we first arrived. The suit fitted at the wedding, so I’m off the leash. Everything is edible.

The train ride was uneventful. Leaving Lisbon, we seemed to pass through high rise housing estates and industrial areas for ages, and it’s got me thinking that, if I do the Portugués Camino next year, I’ll start in Lisbon, go by train to avoid this soul destroying leg of the walk, and use the days saved to walk to Finisterre and Muxia. I want to start before Porto, but this concrete jungle won’t put anyone in a good frame of mind.

We saw the evidence of many fires along the railway tracks, among trees that look suspiciously like eucalyptus trees. Portugal has many plantation gumtrees, and since starting, wild fires are more prevalent. Nothing burns better.

Villages of white villas with terracotta roofs line the tracks,
and small orchards of olive trees with corn grown between the rows hints at a bit of subsistence farming, with a little barter or sharing thrown in. Spain is similar, and in country areas, this is a survival game that’s been thriving for centuries; these people may be asset poor, but their community bonds would put many urban areas to shame. I have neighbours that I don’t even know.

At Porto we had a coffee at the station cafe so that I could access their internet, and Sue met a woman she taught with years ago, who was travelling with her son, a University student in Berlin. This boy was a pregnancy when Sue last saw her. It’s a small world.

We caught a taxi to our Airbnb, and the hosts were waiting with a complimentary port , very helpful tips and instructions, and left promising some information we needed would be sent. It arrived shortly after . They own a number of apartments and seem to be switched on operators.

Dinner will be at a restaurant in this neighbourhood, and tomorrow we will walk down to the historic Quarter down by the Douro River and start 4 days of fun.

Additional photos below
Photos: 16, Displayed: 16


The Other SideThe Other Side
The Other Side

Minutes from the Square you find areas that, while I consider safe to be in, it might be worth being a little wary in. Most pickpockets operate in busy squares and tourist areas where they go unnoticed. This neighbourhood is much safer. Salt of the earth type of people.
A Last Morning Stroll; Lost Again. A Last Morning Stroll; Lost Again.
A Last Morning Stroll; Lost Again.

I’m a homing pigeon. Sue always trusts my instincts. This lack of a contradictory opinion has rarely failed, but when it has, OMG its big. 38 years of backing me in; it must be love.
Last Morning Coffee From The Corner ManLast Morning Coffee From The Corner Man
Last Morning Coffee From The Corner Man

Sue thinks he has something special in his brew; it’s really delicious.
Our Front DoorOur Front Door
Our Front Door

But as I’ve said, I really have no idea where our apartment is, except up.We are well off the road according to Mr Google.
It’s Tight.It’s Tight.
It’s Tight.

Right about now I’m regretting the pastries and tarts. I had to make two trips but the climb was always worth it. I give it five stars.
Our Own Carriage.Our Own Carriage.
Our Own Carriage.

A few more joined us, and at Oriente it became chaotic.
Oriente Station Oriente Station
Oriente Station

Very nice roof design.

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