Seville (Spain) to Lisbon (Portugal)
27.06.2015 - 13.07.2015 30 °C
Today was very special. It was our first visit to Portugal. We crossed the border around 10am and we gained an hour.
Our first stop was at a seaside town of Tavira (region of Algarve) and it was a bit of a shock for them to have so many people visiting at once. There was chaos. No ham left at one café as Bill and Denise got the last bit. The second café was flat strap and English was not their second language so we went across the road. The chap there was able to understand us and we had some lovely fresh ham and salad rolls, coke and a Portuguese beer (8 euro lunch). It was certainly a pleasant stop for our first time near to the Atlantic for this trip.
Portugal might be the poor sister of Spain but their highways certainly outshine ours in Australia. From the time we left Seville we were on a four lane carriageway. The land does not appear to be farmed as intensively as it was in Spain. It is still hilly and we travelled through the inland once we left Tavira. For some time, we could see the ocean in the distance. Farming is of a different sort in Portugal. We have actually seen some cows but the main industry appears to be cork trees. These are harvested every 9 years. The cork is used to make bags, umbrellas etc. Rice is also grown alongside the roads in some areas where there is an adequate water supply.
Our compulsory stop for the driver was at a small service station on the freeway two hours after Tavira. We all had our nanna naps in between. Ross and I shouted Denise and Bill ice-creams and Bill shouted coffee. It was the nicest coffee we have had. So here’s hoping that Portugal can at least give us nice coffee.
Lisbon we were told, was destroyed in an earthquake on 1 November, 1755. It has had to be rebuilt and large avenues were put in place to allow for growth – fore-thinking you might say. We drove in over a very large bridge that would make you think you were driving into San Francisco. To our right was a smaller version of Christ the Redeemer. Tom our guide, changed our schedule so that we visited a carriage museum. It housed carriages of various sizes and colours from the 16th to 19th centuries. Impressive! One carriage was used for the last time for Queen Elizabeth 11 in 1957 for her visit to Portugal. There was also one where King Carlos and his heir to the throne were shot, the bullet marks still evident in the side door. Anyway, it was a lovely way to start our visit.
Victor, the driver, took us the long way to our hotel so that we could become orientated with the city. The Hotel Intercontinental, Lisbon, was ready and waiting for our arrival. Tom pointed out that if we were to go to where the huge flag of Portugal was flying we would get a great view. So the four of us headed off to see what we could see. It was a beautiful sight across the city to the harbour. We walked down a pathway to the huge monument that Victor drove around on our way to the hotel.
Tom had pointed out a tiny restaurant not far from the hotel so we decided to check it out. It turned out that the owner could speak pretty good English so we settled in for dinner. Kathleen and her husband Neil decided to eat with us. We had vegetable soup and pork with plum stuffing. I ordered squid but I must say, the reality of having it served up with the full body and tentacles was a bit much for me - and several of them as well.
We had a quiet walk home and had a cups of coffee and tea in the lobby before heading for bed. Big day tomorrow.