The Storks of Böbs

The Storks of Böbs
A Very Fine Pair

Down The Iberian Peninsular - crossing borders on the way home


Portugal to Plasencia,

The Ribatojo and Alto Alentajo
These two areas of Eastern Portugal though producing many of the best quality produce of Portugal are also the poorest. They have wonderful wines, olive oils and some of the still intact cork oaks in Portugal. Also, the Pork Sausages (Blood, white and smoked puddings) and Hams are well worth a trip.
 left the campsite paying the princely sum f €25.,- for the two nights, pity the internet wasn’t working. Retracing my journey along the river, I came once again to Constancia, today I was going via minor roads that followed the Rio Tajo, passing through small and larger towns and villages, this area is rural only agriculture, beef farming a bit of sheep and a lot of cork and olive production.

I arrived at a small cross road, I noticed something called a Touristic Farm, this tickled my fancy so I pulled in and drove up the small drive. Parking I went into reception. I went in, no one about I peered into a side room wow that was some room.

Just then I felt a presence, it was Pedro a young chap who was seemingly in charge, I asked about it and he told me proudly that it was a project, it was a working farm, but also had rooms for families, I think a bit like “Urlaub auf’n  Bauenhof” in Germany. He told me that the project had been set up by a Belgian couple, they came at irregular intervals to see how things were going (mainly at harvest time), the project was self-sufficient, it produced vegetables, fruit, olive oil, sheep and bred cattle. Young families would come and stay a couple of weeks with their children, it was a way to get the kids in touch with the land.
Pedro
He said that he was worried by the movement of young people from the rural to the urban towns, he himself had left the area to go to find work in Lisbon but had returned to take up this position.
The Owners Private House (when he is there)

The working farm (the farm cart isn't

Here you can rent
I left with a good feeling that, this was a very worthwhile project.

I now turned away from the Tajo and headed to a charming town called Castelo de Vide, this can be seen from far off clinging to the side of a cliff, this being topped by fortifications built by King Dinis in the 13 century.


It looked good, but I saw great difficulty manoeuvring my camper around those narrow steep and winding streets, so I made do with taking photographs from the main road below. I was rewarded by the sight of a Black kite flying past. The IP2 was all in all a worth while route what with the Storks in their nests atop electricity pylons feeding their young. I left the IP2 to climb up into the National Park area, where I hopefully would find my campsite.
I arrived at just about 13:00 and was met by a charming Dutch lady, this was Annicle, she and her husband own this and have moved to Portugal on a permanent basis 16 years ago and bought this piece of land and turned it into a very nice campsite. Well with this view and the surrounding national Park who wouldn’t.
The entrance (on the bottom right is the free for guests to use car)

Me blogging

The seating area

The wonderful Annicle

I inquired about where I could get something to eat she said about 2km distance was a restaurant, but if I wanted she also had a small menu, that she cooked fresh to order, I had a look at it and noticed that she had Piri-Piri chicken on the menu, that would do me.

I said would it be ok to order it for 18:00, no problem said she. I had a look around the property, the campsite is situated on an ancient stone age settlement, the walls and door openings are clearly visible, she said that in the coming year they would be turning one of them into its original state with a straw roof. A neighbour had done this. They have installed a very nice swimming pool and the ablutions first class. Wifi is available but only in front the reception, bread can be ordered for the next morning.

It started to rain and when I say rain, it was a deluge, I was in my camper when Annicle came and knocked on the camper door, she said she would be delivering my meal as it was impossible to sit out in this, sure enough on the dot my chicken Piri-Piri flew in with a nice salad and chips, she had even added an ice-cream in just for good luck, what a nice lady.

Next morning I was off towards the Spanish border not across, but pretty close.

I left my smashing campsite and Annicle behind me and crossed over the border into Spain, the old border crossing posts looking a bit tatty now that they are unused.


A short way passed them you arrive at the one-time border town of Valencia de Altántara, this had been a thriving little town at one time, living on smuggled goods from Portugal, now it just lives off the passing tourists. 
I had been informed on very good authority that this was the place to buy your hams and sausages, this was where Annicle sold her olive oil. Show her card and you get a good discount, I was escorted through the shop (more an Aladdin’s cave), by the lady in waiting, showing me this and that and picking the best ham and smoked Lomo and cheeses of course you must taste it first. I left a couple of hundred Euros lighter but was secure in the knowledge I hadn’t been ripped off. The lady even went back into the shop and brought me a bottle of wine and a loaf of bread, that was to go with my meat and cheese.


I headed off in the rough direction of Plasencia for no other reason than it had a camping site, that had Wifi, it wasn’t a long journey as the site was in the middle of a National Park, on arrival the Lady warden tried to get me to stay for another night with the promise of something special, a bird watching trip, did she think I was that easy.

It was a nice site and I headed for the bar, beer is a great relaxer after a hard day down the pits or in the shipyards, or even on the road in Northern Spain. I had a couple and had a look to see what was on the menu, there were two mains on the plate of the day, one fish and one meat, If I had ordered it earlier I could have had Paella, also you had to be two.  I went back to the camper had 40+ winks and then at about 07:00 went down to the restaurant. The waiter was the same helpful chap that had served me earlier. I was shown to a nice table over looking the veranda, there was much coming and going of bird life and in the evening sky the swallows were dipping and soaring catching the evening meal for their young, I could hear a Roller giving off its Chack- ack call. I also saw a Montagues Harrier swoop by in search of prey.
It was time to order my meal, I thought I would have a mixed salad (Nice with egg, tuna fish and fresh salad leaves, very tasty. Next came the main, a smashing steak with chips and I finished off with a burnt custard. If I had left it at that, it would have come to €9,-, that included, 3 large glasses of very nice red wine. I ordered a coffee (Americano) and a brandy, I am not kidding the waiter brought me a large cognac tumbler and it was ¾ full, I was frightened to swill the glass in case of spilling any.   The lot came to €12,50,-,  slowly wandered up the slope to my well earned bed. I was up next morning and went down to the restaurant to get a cup of coffee, I passed the lad in charge of baking bread, he had just stocked up the oven (woodfired and said that in an hour he would be baking. He baked every day, this meant that all of the Parks bread was fresh.

As I reached my camper, there was a hullabaloo going on, a mother Azure-winged Magpie was trying to feed two fledglings, but not quick enough for their way of thinking. The Azure-winged Magpie is only to be found in Portugal and Southern Spain, so I was very lucky.


My next port of call was a small town on the main Pilgrim trail, the town of Astudilio is nestled below the ruins of one of the Templers Castles.

This is a small site and in fact is there as it is an Auberge a place for the Pilgrims to rest for the night. A lot of them do it in stops, they stop for the night and when they are ready to move on, a van then transfers their baggage on the next phase of their journey. This was a very busy little place, unfortunately in the next village was a big festival taking place, I missed it earlier and Sunday was the big day, this is when the Devil, dressed in harlequin outfit, jumps over the young babies lying on the ground, that is prior before he is done to death. I found a soulmate in the cook, he was also a keen ornithologist, he showed me loads of fotos, I did not realise that this area of Northern Spain is famous for the Great Bustard. Outside the campsite also had a great wood fired oven, here the cook was cooking legs of Lamb, I actually saw the butcher delivering them earlier, so no frozen NZ lamb here.  

Pamplona.

I have always wanted to visit this City ever since reading Earnest Hemingway’s book , I have been nearly there many times but never quite made it. But now was the time, though alas the bull running is not for another month. I found a great Parking spot, down beside the river, funnily enough it was right beside the Auberge Paderborn, this pilgrims hostel was financed by the Paderborn Diocese and still partnered  by them.

I wandered up into the old town, it has some mighty walls, towers and battlements, I entered through the mighty gates and worked my way through the streets dodging in and out of pilgrims (this is one of the major starting points on their journey. I visited the Covered Market (very nice but they close up shop for lunch and most stalls either were or just about to close for their Siesta, I thought I would go to the Cathedral, would you believe it, it was also closed, do the priests and their ilk also have a Siesta every day? So, I found a very nice set of gardens had a sit down, took some photo’s and set off to find the campsite, this was a way out of town.

It was an ok campsite not a great one but ok, it is used by lots of students and spectators when the bull running takes place, I think I will give it a miss this year. I had an early night as I wanted to be off on the road at 08:00, it was a long drive to the Pyrenean State of Andorra, this was to be my next place I was wanting to visit on my journey home.

Day 20&21 Down the Iberian Peninsular - Castelo do Bode and Tomar


Castelo do Bode 
The Tajo Vines
I left Lisbon following the River Tajo, more or less, I arrived at the small town of Constância knowing I had turn away from the Tajo and follow the Rio Zezere north, the only problem the Sat-Nav didn’t know of any such a road, but trusting on my Boy Scout instinct (you don’t reach 70 years of age without trusting on some instinct or another), I followed that black tarred thing called a road.

It brought me to a bridge that crossed the river, a sign pointing to a camper wastewater drop of place told me where they provide that then there must be a camper spot not far away. Just then along came the cavalry, in the form of a canoeist going into a canoe school. I ventured to ask him, he was kind and told me to go across the river again and hang a left, and follow it, I said were to? He said there is only one road no turn offs so you will arrive at a dam, that is your destination. So off we jolly well went, what the kind chappie forgot to inform me was that he was used to coming down on the river in a canoe (being Sunday a lot playing about on the raging river). After about 15 minutes of ever up and twisting serpentines I saw a blue light up ahead, it was the Bombederos (the fire brigade, they are used for everything in Portugal), I stopped to be informed that during the night there had been several rock falls onto the road up ahead, but if I took it easy I should be all right, it was the should be that I didn’t like), but they had marked the falls and they were quite small as avalanches go, but one of those rocks dropping on you could cause you a bit of a problem. I passed a sign “Barriera campisimo” this I took to mean dam campsite, I was correct and there ahead was the dam wall and a sharp left uphill to the campsite.



The lady in charge (Isabella) spoke no English, no German and just a smattering of French, but I made it known that I would be spending two nights here, (originally it was only going to be one, but having read all about the nearby town of Tomar, this being the last bastion of the Knights Templar Order, it needed investigation in greater depth.

I got my waggon into place, plugged in and levelled up (I had picked the most level spot, so no chocks needed), I went to the little bar come café, and had a chat with the chap in charge, he was  very helpful and I had a beer and decided to walk across the dam, the road crosses it and then onwards in the direction of Tomar, I do believe I saw Eric Idle riding this way in some historic film. At the other end of the dam was an elderly wench, selling local produce and not so local produce, but also a closter of the Sisters of something or other, I must say it was in first class order and had a great view of the dam and the raging cascades. I walked around it, but there was no way inside and I suppose the sisters inside didn’t fancy the likes of a hirsute brigand with nothing better to do on a Sunday that molest young novice nuns.

No one at home
 I returned to the old hag and bought some beans in a plastic bag (you see them being sold all over Portugal) a bag of cherries and a bottle of beer. I sat in the shade and watched the swifts using the updraft of the dam as they darted around catching the insects for their young. High up in the thermals a large bird of prey circled, not a wing beat (I had left my Bino’s in the van foolish boy) it could have been any one of the eagle family prevalent down here ( Bonelli’s, Booted or Short-toed).


I walked back and tried to get internet no go, so I had a beer instead, went back to the camper and wrote up my Lisbon Blog and down sized a load of photo’s will see what happens. It was dark when I finished so settled down to read all about the knights templars and their follow-on order. the Order of Christ.

Tomar

I was up nice and early next morn 06:00 as usual, was showered and breakfasted (sardines on Ryvita) and up at the café to get my Blog published, alas still no go, but I did have an excellent coffee. I had a chat with the next camper (he was a WES number plate) he was having problems with his electrics and wanted to make his coffee, what would a German do without his kick start in the morning, I said use my socket it is working (I had boiled water for my morning tea, not Earl Grey but Ginger and Lemon).

That done I put my seats and tables, strung about with my wet underwear (I do not only wash my private parts in the shower) in a position to guard my place under the shade of the Paperbark Gum Tree. I set off across the Dam wall and headed the 19 km into Tomar, no problem well signposted. I found a great spot, right next to the covered market (it was here that I was informed that I could park on the very large adjacent car park but would need to vacate it before 16:00 as there was an evening market on. I had done a bit of driving around the town to get to the market place so by now had my bearings.

But first a walk through the covered market, it was a shame, but we had been warned about shopping on a Monday, any fish that is sold is not fresh, as no boats go out on a Sunday. No fish stalls only flowers and veg, no fresh meat either, I suppose the cattle ranchers don’t do any ranching on a Sunday either. I then wandered over a bridge and there before me was Henry the Navigator, he gets everywhere that lad. He was standing right in front of the gates that lead to Templars castle, fortification and Convent of Christ. Through the gates is a very nice garden laid out with rose beds and clipped privet hedges, this formal garden had originally been the vegetable gardens that fed the castles Knights, monks and all the other people that hang around castle walls on a Saturday night.




I looked at the guide, there are three routes to visit the area (it does not only include the castle, but a vast area of forest. I chose the medium one (only because the easy one was closed), I walked slowly up wards listening to the sound of the birds, the trees were full of Black Redstarts, easily identifiable by its flash of red on its tail, white throats and warblers. I stood for quite a while watching red (almost black) squirrels bouncing around the trees. I the distance I heard a woodpecker drumming and a cuckoo calling. On I went, the road turned a few times and crossed a spring that at one time had fed a cistern pool, but this was now dry, I crossed the path to a saintly spring, I didn’t follow the steps up as I wasn’t feeling particularly Saintly today and the steps were very steep. I carried on ever upwards until I reached a water channel this was part of a great watering system, that brought water to the Castle and the Convent a little way outside of Tomar is a magnificent Aqueduct (I did mean to go and see it but was pressed for time). The total length of the aqueduct is 6 km bringing water to the Convent of Christ at times spanning valleys in monumental feats of civil engineering, double vaulting spans. I think the Romans would have been proud of them.


I circled the walls, well about a quarter of them and decided I was in need of refreshment and a spot of lunch wouldn’t go amiss either, so down I went not the long way that I had come by but there is a much quicker way down (it is a lot steeper but going down is easier). Down at the bottom is the ever-welcoming Tourist Information Office, it is house in a wonderful building with massive oak doors and an amazing internal structure. The kind lady gave me a very well informative booklet. Armed with this I went in search of food and drink. I found a very nice little restaurant along the main street with a wonderful view of the Castle. I waited until the waiter had finished dealing with a group of young USA (they could have been Canadians) people, they were neither loud or demanding and were willing to try all things they each selected a dish and shared it, no twisted faces and no ughs and I am not eating that.
Bread and Olives

Cheese and Ham

Cod Roe Salad

The Ham still on the bone

I selected a platter of cheese and air-dried ham, I did want an octopus salad but it’s Monday, no octopus on Mondays. I selected cod roe salad, to be followed by those deep fried small sardines, they must have been frozen, but whatever, they were delicious. 

Meal finished I walked to the end of the Ruo Serpa Pinto, there in front of me in a very nice square was the Town Hall, in the centre a Statue of the founder of the Temple order in Portugal D.Gualdim Pais, opposite is what is thought to be the oldest church in Tomar, the Church of St. John the Baptist, was started at the time the castle was being built and is thought to have been started by D.Gualdim Pais, the then Grand Master, though Henry the Navigator, did some other works on the building, it wasn’t until 1467 that King D Manuel I actually start work on the church that is seen today. It is believed that the bell tower (or at least part of it) is part of the original Church.

From here I walked along the small shady streets as I was interested in the Synagogue, I found it, but alas it is covered in scaffolding inside and out (I managed a quick look and a photo of the works in progress. It was originally built in early 1400s and closed in 1496 when the Jews were expelled from Portugal. Sounds familiar! The building is of interest in that it is the only Gothic style Hebrew Temple in the country. It is built on a quadrangular plan and has a vaulted roof supported by pillars and wall cobels. This shows a lot of oriental influence. The building has had a very varied life, it has been a prison, a haybarn, a grocery store, even a Catholic Chapel, when it was known as The Hermitage of St. Bartholomew. It was saved from total decay by Samuel Schwarz a Polish Jew and Jewish historical researcher when he bought it in 1924. He donated it to the Portuguese State in 1939 to install the Luso-Hebrew Museum Abraao Zacuto.


Total Renovation, inside and out
I then went down to the buildings flanked by the river Nabao on one side and sluices and flooms on the other, these are the “Kings watermills and Olive oil presses, the site dates back to the medieval period, it was once the property of the order Christ from the fourteenth to the nineteenth century, it then became municipal property and it was in use continuously right up to the 21 century. The Powers to be are now in the process of turning it into a working museum showing the earlier mills, Blacksmiths workshops, Sawmill, as well as an electricity generating plant.
One of the narrow streets


It was now time to head back to the camper as the tow away deadline was approaching, the car park was now almost empty and my camper looked a little forlorn sitting all on its lonesome. I started her up waved good by to the chaps that were stopping anyone coming in and headed out to do a bit of shopping before heading back to the campsite so that’s it and good night from me.

                                                            

Day 17-19 Down the Iberian Peninsular- Belem & Lisbon


Days 17-19 down the Liberian Peninsular – Lisbon and Belem
Day 1 Belem
We left Cascais (Guinicho to be exact) campsite at a leisurely pace and headed off in the direction of Lisbon, we could not find the address for our campsite and the Sat Nav lead us a merry dance, a nice Policeman in the end pointed us in the right direction, and told us head off on the main road following thze signs for the A8 and we would then see large signs for Campisimo, we did and low and behold it worked, so once again if you want to get to a campsite ask a policeman.

We got everything set up and not wanting to lose Lisbon time decided to go down to the Heroinismus Cloister in Belem, Linda had never visited but being a custard tart convert decided she must try the real thing. It was raining and at not at all nice, but with our rain coats on off we went, the No 417 bus stopped a short distance from the campsite so off we went, soon along came the bus, we went to get on but the nice people said not this one the next (the same bust stop serves the outward and the inward bus). In a couple of minutes along came our 417 and soon it whisked us off in the direction of Belem.
I didn't see any singing in the rain that day
We arrived at the Cloister and the flower, shawl and bead sellers where doing a brisk trade in rain capes and umbrellas. It took a good half hour of queuing but at last we were inside. I have been to this cloister twice before, but it never ceases to amaze me, this being Linda’s first time, she was in pure amazement (she’s a Prodi and they don’t have this type of thing).
A nice piece of hammer and chisel work
Did they have ze Polish tilers in?

MmmmYes GRIFINDOR I think!

Linda was having Nun of it
We spent a good couple of hours wandering the cloisters, the chapels and refectory.



The Mariners window

The refrectory, wonder when they serve nosh



As my old mother would say get your Vasco Pyjamas on and up the holy dancers

I wonder if he knew he was knocking on the wrong door

The Church from the Chlor Stalls













When at last we had had enough of gaping and staring we headed outside, it was now very nice sunshine, so we walked across the road through the gardens and took in the view of the Magnificent Statue of Henry the Navigator and his merry band.
Did he jump or was he pushed?
The light house and the Torre Belem
The Tower all by itself
We then walked to the Belem Torre (Belem gateway) on the way passing the National Museum of Modern Art (MNAC), there was an exhibition of the works of Escher that was just coming to an end, but we didn’t venture inside as all over Lisbon you can see examples of his works be it on the pavement mosaic patterns or on wall murals. We then cut back across the road to get our bus back to the campsite, beside the bus stop on a piece of disused tram line.
Not the banana Bunch, but the Banana Tram
(you can get a tram direct from Belem to the centre of Lisbon) it has been turned into a nice little café, not selling as you would expect Pastel de Natas, but pies, it was getting near the end of the patrons day, so he only had one solitary pie left, I decided to have it, it was a very nice chicken pie, quite delicious, against my inner self I even shared it with Linda.
The 417 Arrives
We returned to the campsite on the No 417, Passing the lass at the main Entrance.

I dropped my stuff and went to the restaurant join Linda, she was drinking a glass of red and had bought me a large beer, she was sitting outside, and it had turned cool, so I suggested we went inside, the restaurant was sparsely populated, so we found a table no bother. I got my Laptop set up and while doing so inadvertently knocked over Linda’s red wine, alas it went over her camera, I dried it off and Linda went to get some serviettes to mop up the wine. The waiter had seen the happenings and came across with a cloth and then after had gone to wring it out returned with a new glass of red wine for Linda, we tried the camera and it seemed to be working ok. I down loaded my photo’s, we ordered our food (there is no set plan here you order it when you want, no rush, this after all a campsite. The food is simple with a different meal of the day as well as the normal food up in pictures on the wall. I had calamari rings and chips and Linda an omelette and chips, simple but very tasty.

We finished our meal and our drinks and headed off up to the camper, when we arrived we tried Linda’s camera again, it had stopped working, she wasn’t a happy bunny. We stripped out the battery and disk and dried them as best we could, we laid them out to dry, hoped for the best and went to bed. 

Lisbon day 2
Today we had decided to do the open bus tour (we had done the yellow bus tour in Porto so by keeping our tickets we got 10% reduction. But as usual I was up first and went to have my shower while Linda made the tea and got her tubes and things hung up. I came back and while drinking my tea tried out her camera, it was working intermittently so it couldn’t be anything too bad. But I said she could use my camera as I always have my faithful point and shoot Lumix that has accompanied me all over the world and as it has a 10X optical zoom takes very passable photo’s. That agreed off we went to get the bus to Belem where our tour would start, it was a bright sunny morning and when we got to the Belem bus stop, there was already a long que to get into the Cloister, we felt rather smug having done that yesterday when there weren’t so many tourists out in the rain. We agreed we would go to the famous Pastel de Belem shop for breakfast, inside was just starting to fill up, but we got a table right beside the service point, I didn’t want a custard tart, but Linda did (she was doing a tasting experiment between all of the custard tarts in Portugal), decided on a couple of pies, one a chicken and the other a duck and leek, both I must say very tasty, the chicken not quite as nice as the one I had the evening before, but the duck and leek was wonderful



Linda in her search of the perfect custard tart, We are having a late summer cookery club meet in Stodo, the theme this year will be Stodo goes Iberian. Therefore get your castanets polished and your sombreros out guys and gals.

The Que was just starting to form and Linda not queing














We then went to what we thought was our bus-stop, but wrong this was the tour of Belem bus, ours was the yellow tour, blue line bus down at the other end of the square. Off we scooted and got the correct charabanc.
The correct bus stop
It took us in a loop passing the Torres Belem and King Harry’s statue with his erstwhile crew, again. 
They hadn't moved since yesterday
It then went along the water front taking in all of the buildings; churches, warehouses and dock buildings that have now been turned into very nice pubs, bars and restaurants, that really only come alive at night. We reached our hop off point just behind the National museum, this is covered in scaffolding as it is having a complete make over, we didn’t go in, I shall keep that for the next time. We did walk down to the square and went into the Information Office, always one of our first ports of call.

The other sideof the Tajo
We then wandered along the street next to the main public thoroughfare, the one that leads from the Praca do comércio through the Arche, we went first along the Rua Aurea then cutting back we therefore missed a lot of the tat shops and arrived at Rossio, a large open square with its views of the surrounding City looking back along the Rua Augusta, to the right the Chiado and Bairro Alto and to the right Castelo de Sáo Jorge and the Alfama. Stop, sit and have a coffee (Lisbon has some wonderful coffee) and enjoy a few quiet, restful, moments.
Rossio, fountain and The National Theatre
Next we went looking for a present for Aiden, he needed something to help his mother in the kitchen, so we had seen it a bit earlier so along we went to get it.
Next lunch is order of the day, so we decided to sit outside, though not very nice as there is often a cooling breeze coming up the street from the river Tajo. But hey who knows when the next time we shall have the opportunity? We had a very nice sharing fish platter and a large perfectly cooked vegetable platter. The food was all cooked perfect, (the fish wonderfully grilled and the vegetable a la dente.


Next it was across to Figueira, the starting and ending point for many trams, busses and tours, we then went through a side street and found the Church de Sao Domingos, this Dominican cloister Church had suffered much over the centuries, first the great earthquake of 1755 and finally a fire, in 1959, this destroyed most of the inner fabric. Only the ceiling has been fully restored, but the remaining desolation has been quite respectfully reincorporated into the church, this makes it well worth a visit.















Leaving the church, we turned a corner and low and behold there in front of us was a ham and art fair. We walked through promising ourselves to return tomorrow.

We decided to go up to Chiado and visit the visit the Bairro Alto, we had aimed to go via the Elevador de Santa Justa (€5,15 up and down) but call us tight fisted we decided to walk up and then when we had finished our looky-looky, we used the department stores internal escalators, cost Nowt!

It was now time to use up the rest of our hop on hop off pass and catch the yellow bus to Belam. Linda ordered her pork pie, she commented that it was really nice, Though I didn't get a taste so cannot comment!!
We got on the bus, but as it got further and further along its route it got fuller and fuller, I now know how the Portuguese learned to pack sardines in a tin.at last reaching our destination, we plonked our baggage in the camper and headed down to the restaurant area, (mini market, bar, Wifi room, TV room) to have a drink and a toasted sandwich with the now obligatory chips. Then it was time for bed (Linda was more than a little tippsy).


Saturday 26 May, Linda’s last day.

I was up and about, and Linda said she would pack her case, as I was bringing most of her stuff back with me, she only had her aspiration device and a few other things that she cannot do without. We got the bus to the underground then went to Campo Grande on the green line, finally the last part by Taxi to Linda’s hotel where she would be spending her last night as she had a very early flight.
We hopped on the underground once again and got off at Rossio for breakfast, it was to be a very good breakfast, black and white pudding, speck and a dry aged ham and smelly cheese sandwich, we had a sangria to wash it down.
The Lady selling breakfast

So we bought the mixed breakfast and a ham sandwich
 Linda done a bit of a shop for a handbag (she had to spend some birthday money, I must say it looks very nice. Next, we looked for the tram line to take us up to the Castelo de Sao Jorge. The que was massive, I said to Linda do fancy a bit of a hill climb, that lass is game for anything, there is a set of steps that lead either to the castle or heaven (if your lucky), they are building an escalator, but it isn’t quite finished.




The starting point of our ascent

The first part
Wonderful flowering trees at the top of the steps
With a bit of a huffing and a puffing we made it to the top of the steps, but that isn’t the end of it, there is a fair number of twisty streets, all going up before the gate comes into view.

We needed a drink after that, so we sat at the nice café beside the castle walls and had our beverages. We watched the comings and goings, the punters wondering why they had ever been so silly to do that, but what the devil they had made it.




It was time to now take the downward path, much easier, the narrow streets that lead through the Alfamo district are worthy of a visit just by themselves, this is the oldest part of Lisbon and will soon come into its own when June arrives as this is the month of festivities.





We stopped off at an art gallery, very interesting.






The Cathedral looking east along the Tajo
A cool and pleasant garden to take a rest













Down at the bottom, we turned right at the Naval museum and found a nice little café just across the road from the Fado Museum, we sat and listened not to Fado but a couple of Jazz musicians doing their stuff and doing it very well.


We each had a Sangria, white for Linda and red for me. WE thought that we had burnt off the calories from breakfast so decided to head for a restaurant that our friends Kei and Sebastian had recommended (two seasoned Lisbon fans), alas I missed the turning and we ended up at the point that I would catch my number 417 and Linda her Underground.



There was a small market going on, but not a very food orientated, at the corner was an original Lisbon restaurant, Linda wasn’t impressed but I likes the look of it my dearies. In we went and were greeted with come in and take a table (they had finished midday service and were getting ready for the evening one the waiters and staff were busy either eating cleaning or chatting. The head Poncho, came across and asked us in very respectful English, what did we fancy, then another came with the menu and wine list, they served predominantly fish, Linda had seen her swordfish and myself seen rougette.
















She didn't really want it but Henrique persuaded her!!!
Mine was unfortunately sold out, the head Honcho (I now know is called Henrique) said I can recommend the steak, that is what I am having for lunch. We chatted, and it soon became clear this was no ordinary head Honcho, he proclaimed he was the top dog of all the Muscadet Sommeliers in Lisbon. Hanging in the corner was his cloak and medallion. This was too good an opportunity to miss, I got him to don his cloak and medallion and took a photo of him.












In the background the Mama cook was busying herself and soon our food appeared along with our bottle of Vino Verde. We were the only people in the restaurant (it would normally be shut for service), Henrique came to our table with a very good Muscadet as a present, not the best he said but very good, very good indeed.

 Mama was getting things ready for the evening, first a whopping great octopus was pulled out a pot and left to cool, this I was informed would be made into various octopus dishes for that evening. Alas it was time to go, I went across to thank Mama, she had just turned out a big bag of Brown Crabs, still alive, I asked Henrique did he import them, no he said they come from Cascais, well I though I bet out of those pots I saw a few day ago.
King Harry and his Chief Engineer
We then headed across the road Linda to head for her Hotel and I to get my bus to the campsite, bye-bye Linda have a nice flight. I was off to see Real Madrid beat Liverpool, who was that keeper????