Friday, June 24, 2016

Porto to Lisbon - Day 13

Saturday, June 18
Today it was back to Lisbon for two nights to catch some final sights, go on another day trip and get ready to catch my plane home. Mostly a travel day, so not many photos. Don't think I had posted this photo of the São Bento train station from the outside on the right.
I took a cab from my hotel to the station with plenty of time to spare. While I was waiting, I met two women about my age who had just completed the Portuguese Camino from Porto. They were very positive about their experience but weren't very specific on details when I pressed them. One of them had her arm in a sling and said she slipped in a shower in an albergue and broke her shoulder. But they trudged on using a transport service for their phenomenally huge backpacks. The injured one said she had an 8-lb cpap machine in her bag. She must have been fun in the dorms. 
The train ride was great (I had a single seat to myself) and a nice man put my bag overhead. My ticket was 21 euros for 1st class (with senior discount) which included extra legroom, comfort seat and beverage service. Second class was 15 euros. My husband taught me well.
The train arrived about 12:40 and I caught a cab  - only 10 euros - while others waited in a long line just to buy tickets on the metro.  Unfortunately, my room was not ready but I regrouped and headed out.  Only a few things to see and do. I love riding the trolleys so I rode two -- one around the old central city and one in the really old Alfama area.
Then I walked around the area again. It was a spectacularly sunny day (although quite hot) and the views again from a veranda in this old section were beautiful.

That's the Tagus River (also known as Tejo River) in view.
Then I found the Cathedral Se,
which we had missed before, and thought it was the start of the Portuguese Camino. However, later when I photographed these signs,
one of very few I ever saw on the whole trip, a shop keeper informed me that I was wrong. The real beginning is at the small church of Santiago, further into the old section. I found it tucked onto a side street but clearly marked.

However, afterwards I decided to call my exploring a day because I had underestimated the tourist traffic on a Saturday in this area. The streets are very narrow and the sidewalks are almost non-existent. But the worst part is these little "tuk tuks", motorized rickshaws that are like 3-wheeled motorcycles built into a cab.
The drivers would stuff them with people and scoot everywhere, ignoring traffic.
Tonight I ventured out to the Chiado area and had dinner at another historic 1900's era restaurant, Cafe Brasileira.
It was made famous by Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935), a beloved poet who was known for using multiple personas in his writings - from a simple countryman expounding on the joys of nature to an erudite scholar pontificating on various philosophies. Because he often met his friends here, he is honored with a statue by the front.
I had one of the traditional tuna salads I often ate on the camino, but the smallest serving of wine was a half bottle. Unfortunately, I had to pass. I did have to find my way back on tiny streets to my hotel. And I have an early morning!

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