Café Crem

Art, Music and Words around The Coffee Table

Psst…wanna buy some drugs? – Portugal 9

montijoMontijo harbour

The next day we left Moita, where, despite having had to endure the juvenile race meet,  we’d managed to get some great photos. I’d also spent an hour wandering suspiciously around the town hall with my laptop, trying to piggy-back on their internet….

We made our way to Montijo, the last big town this side of the water, and within spitting distance of the Vasco de Gama bridge. Montijo raised our spirits. Once more, a beautifully restored seafront, with a reconstructed water powered flour mill, and an esplanade stretching the length of the harbour.

Once more, Portuguese parking never ceased to amaze, and we were positioned on the water with no problems. After a lovely couple of hours here, we decided it was time to cross the 15 kilometer wonder thatis the Vasco de Gama bridge. Named after one of the great names of history, it was built for the World Expo 10 years ago, and it crosses the Rio Tejo imperiously, and spectacularly, a glowingtestament to man´s ingenuity.

As its graceful, arcing slope takes you down onto the shore, you are afforded a wonderful view of Lisbon, its buildings a kaleidascopic culture clash of old and new, offering us a rainbow of expectation. Almost immediately though, it was sensible head on, as I attempted to thread our way through the concrete spaghetti that is Lisbon’s urban motorway system.

I was aiming for a small spot of green on the map, and therein, an even smaller red tent – denoting the camping we thought was there. As we wove ever inward through the sprawling city, it seemed increasingly unlikely that any camping could exist here. But suddenly, I spotted the sign…Campissimo – and sure enough, serving up another of its surprises, Portugal had done it again.

We took a spot in a beautiful forest, which had been converted into a camp site for motorhomes, tents and caravans. Surrounded bythe city, yet bathed in birdsong. It was like parking the Boomobile in Central Park!

We luxuriated in power showers, mains electricty and an abundance of water. (It’s the little things that delight when you’re on the road) The next morning we resloved to explore the city, and feeling quite perky, we opted to walk, an idea that was met with amused disdain from the guy on the gate at the Camp site.

He provided us with some vague directions and we set off in high spirits that lasted for about 5 minutes as it rapidly became clear we had no idea where we were in relation to anything. Miki and I had what is termed these days as “issues” as we disagreed and bickered like normal people. Scary.

Eventually though, we spied a sign for Ajuda, which the guy had mentioned, so, with an aim, tempers cooled, and we slowly, inexorably, made our way to the Ajuda palace, and the heart of the city.

Lisbon waterfront was a delight, and reminded me so much of San Francisco, The suspension bridge dominating the bay like The Golden Gate, the old trams rattling down the steep hills to the water. I almost expected to see Karl Malden and Michael Douglas screeching around in a SFPD sedan.

lisbon-discovery-monument-2

Discovery Monument

The gigantic Monument to the Conquistadors was a must, and we made our way to it, discovering an amazing free parking for motorhomes, right there on the waterfront. Incredible, to be able to park next to yachts probably being charged a fortune to berth there…. I’m sure it will all change, but for now, it’s great!

The monument was impressive, the giant stone statues, a litany of famous figures from Portuguese history, all reaching up the side of the edifice, on both aspects, culminating in Prince Henry the Navigator, son of an Englishwoman from Lancaster, he had paved the way with his vision so that Vasco de Gama could write himself into the history books. As I maneuvered to take a shot of him, high on this impressive monument, holding a miniature of one of the great Portuguese ships, I caught a glimpse of the moon above him in an azure sky. A magical moment, that caused me to marvel at the vision of these men who opened up the world.

A slightly less magical moment, but no less funny for that, was my accidental concussion as I wandered around a darkened corridor in an exhibition inside the monument searching for the source of the sea noises playing through the sound system. I walked into a pitch black wall. As I was in considerable pain, Miki enjoyed the moment for both of us.

 

miki-laughs-at-my-misfortune

Miki laughs at my misfortune

We caught the train from the nearby station at Belen, and the train followed the coast to the main station at Cais da Sodre. From there we walked again through the city, having already covered over 8 kilometers. Miki was beginning to flag, and we were both desparate to locate an internet cafe, which we eventually did before exhaustion claimed us both, and I unashamedly used the moment to steer Miki into Subway for a beefand cheese melt.

Around this time I seemed to attract the interest of the local drug dealers, and a never-ending string of them came up offering me hashish, Cocaine, and probably half of Columbia. They were very friendly for the most part, but I did try to impress upon them that I didn’t get to 50 looking like this by filling my body with various drugs. They weren’t buying any of it, and I wasn’t buying any merchandise, so the conversation became a little flat after that.

Before we passed out, I managed to get my head around the diagrams denoting the local bus routes, and told Miki I thought I could get us on a bus by the main rail station that would get us back to the Campsite without the need to change. She seemed grateful. As luck would have it, I was right, and sometime later we collapsed into the Boomobile and put the kettle on, Miki vowing to never visit Lisbon again, and me vowing to buy her some hasish to shut her the hell up.

Dinner however, seemed a more sensible, and infinitely more legal option, and we both chilled out after that. Having walled a good 10 kilometers this day, neither of us felt guilty for eating copious amounts of chocolate before bed.

lisbon-tram

A Lisbon tram

Kev Moore 

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June 20, 2008 - Posted by | Art, friends, fun, life, travel, writing | , , , , ,

6 Comments »

  1. You two gave the envy to retire to Portugal (they say Portugese is quite close to Romanian…)

    Comment by ivdanu | June 23, 2008

  2. Just wanted to say, sorry about your hitting your head Kev. I’m not laughing.

    Comment by Susan Cornelis | June 26, 2008

  3. hey danu, its a great place, no doubt. portuguese sounds similar to russian to me, so does that help?

    Susan. You’re laughing. I know you are. come on, admit it.

    Comment by kevmoore | July 14, 2008

  4. iwas wondering if there is anyway you could send a friend a few hits of lsd 25 to walter lawson 2614 valleyview dr knoxville tn 37917 USA its been too long 15 years name a price and find a way to make payment

    Comment by walter lawson | October 11, 2011

  5. damn

    Comment by walter lawson | October 11, 2011

  6. Sorry Walter, we’re all out mate. 🙂

    Comment by kevmoore | October 11, 2011


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