2. Lisbon – Setubal – Santiago de Cacem.
Gerry was asleep by 9:30 pm last night and he was awake again at 6:30. He coughed and snored all night and whilst I was very tempted to give him a shove I let him sleep… its miserable having a cold. His coughing woke me before 7.00 but he also brought me a cup of tea so he was quickly forgiven. “I dont know what flavour” he chirped. “I don’t mind” I said “As long as it’s not camomile.” There was silence and a small smile…nuff said.
We collected our first sello as we checked out… Gerry said it was the most uninspiring stamp we’d collected which I felt was harsh… it’s a stamp and the start of our journey so I was happy.
We walked down to the river as the sun was rising and flagged a taxi… were off to the Orient Express. (Not quite but our bus was waiting at Estacao do Oriente).
The Parque das Nacoes is a modern suburb of Lisbon. Beautiful apartment blocks built on wide cafe and tree lined streets… and a wide boardwalk runs along the edge of the Tagus estuary. It’s early and the streets are quiet… we found a cafe and sat down to breakfast Lisbon style.
At the alloted time we headed off to find our bus. As we sat waiting the bench started shaking. I looked at Gerry and he said it was an earthquake and looked around for open ground… it turns out whenever a bus drove by, the bench vibrated. I’m hoping that Gerry’s mood changes soon.. and we lose all the gloom and doom.
Our bus took us over the Tagus estuary and the impressive Vasco de Gama bridge… it took 8 minutes to get across. We drive down the Setubal peninsula, passing ploughed fields that really look more sand than soil but there are crops and vines so it must be fertile. Less than an hour later we pulled into Setubal. We had heard it was a bit more industrial here but we’re pleasantly surprised by the old, narrow (albeit slightly shabby) streets leading down to the waterfront. We stopped for a coffee before taking a promonade along the sea front… along with half the town! There were big galleons and sail ships in the harbour and it had attracted a crowd. The harbour water was alive with Mullet… they were a good size too. You could have dropped a net in a scooped out half a dozen easily… I had no idea what they were but my fisherman husband said he’d never seen so many together.
We wandered back to find our next bus. There was a slight moment of panic as it headed off towards Lisbon… but a sigh of relief when he took the Algarve junction on the motorway.
And so we drove south. Passing mile after mile of pine, cork and eucalyptus trees. Yellow grass reminded me of that other walk last year and I wondered if we would discover that same meadow sweet scent in the morning?
We’re in Santiago de Cacem. We’ve checked into a very charming little guest house run by a Dutch couple. Gerry has done his washing and later were going to venture out to find the starting point of the Rota Vicentina… and then a restaurant… but for now he’s having a snooze. Poor chap has such a bad throat, I really hope he feels better tomorrow… it”s his birthday.
Guest House A Cocheira in Santiago de Cacem – €58 for a double room including breakfast. A charming clean little hotel run by a Dutch couple called Sandra and Richard… who speak excellent English.