A lovely clear day as we rode down the hill to the bus station past the coast. It’s 8.30am the sun is low, no wind and the sea is shimmering in the morning sun. A couple of boats are heading off for a day’s pleasure on the sea. All is quiet for a Saturday morning, the markets along the boulevard are just setting up, a long day of selling colourful beachwear, bags of all shapes and sizes. Then the stretch of boat tour booths every 100m for like seems forever. Tours offering local trips around Ponta da Piedade and speedboats going 20km east to the renowned Benagil Caves. They will be operating soon to attract the first comers from buses and trains.
The bus goes on the Expressway no chance of seeing the west coast. We stop at Portimao and across the bridge see a large flock of white flamingos, they are not coloured up in their striking pink, it must be the wrong season.
The expressway took us through the hills, it’s very dry, sort of reminds me of the Australian summer country. Closer towards Lisbon grape vines spread for miles. After 4 hrs we arrive in Lisbon, we have a 20km ride to our hotel in the west side of town. Although Lisbon is known for it’s hills, I have managed to avoid them. This place is big as we head south skirting through the city centre with great cycle ways.
The river is in front of us then we are heading west on a long wide promenade and into a strong headwind and cobblestones, thankfully we get some reprieve on smooth tarmac. The 10km of promenade is a mix of restaurants and monuments. The April 25th Bridge is a standout 2277m long. We have lunch at a restaurant just below the bridge and are astonished by the noise of the traffic and train.
I see a very tall monument on the other side of the river, ‘oh!!! So that is where it is!, I say … memories flooding back of my Contiki trip in 1978, I remembered the monument but didn’t link it to Lisbon. It’s the Santuary of Christ the King monument and shrine and stands 110m.
The promenade was busy with walkers, cyclists and scooters. It’s the weekend a couple of bike bars we pass along the way, full of very happy lads trying to sing haha.
Our far away hotel needed a small hill climb but nothing serious, there is a lovely park nearby with sporting grounds and parks, it is home to the national sporting centre.
Google maps lead us up more hills as we walked for dinner. A lovely local restaurant serving a Brazilian dish, piranha steak, simply delicious.