Friday, 19 September 2014

Days 136 & 137: Around Lisbon - Thurs & Fri 18-19 Sept, 2014

Days 136 & 137: Around Lisbon - Thurs & Fri 18-19 Sept, 2014
Thursday: By morning had made decision to get new batteries and have our storage bay modified to hold them. Joao Paulo took us to breakfast in their canteen - he's an interesting man to talk with, realistic about Portugal's falling economy, says government takes over third of wages in taxes (he gets 2500€ month, wife is PA to CEO of tomato paste company and gets 1000€), then spends it rather than investing for recovery. Mitsubishi has been downsizing for some time and is now going out of sales (going to Mercedes-Daimler) selling service business to Spanish group who are not taking on their real estate. He will have to relocate his family to another country for work (Johanna is in child care and has just turned 3yrs). We took their proffered loan car and went out to see more of Lisbon's sights.  

First was Jeronimos' Monastery and church, constructed of gold-coloured limestone in late Gothic Manueline architecture, and sited to provide assistance to seafarers in transit. Impressive on the outside, but a solemn dark space inside. We joined the procession of tourists filing past unrestored pictures too dark to discern subject, and creepy glass cabinets of saintly bones. We peered into lower choir for the funerary crypt of Vasco da Gama, as well as sober chapels of Important Persons who paid to be buried on show for all eternity. In a burst of light we came across a chapel overwhelming in its gilt extravagance.

Tomb of poet Luis Vaz de Camoes

St Paula Teaching her Nuns


Tomb of Vasco da Gama

Outside again, and leaving car parked, we stood in line for open-top bus, then had to dash for cover in rainstorm - seats wet and floor awash when we boarded, oh well. Followed purple line (modern Lisbon) to Oriente Beach with buildings from Expo- looked flash but very few people appear to be using them.


Hopped off at the Square, lunch in restaurant straight out of 1930's with black and white wait staff, women in starched collars and hairnets. Followed soft cheese and pate starter with strange cod, egg and fries pie. 

Took taxi back to Monastery to pick up car – winning an altercation with the driver who tried to charge us three times price. Garmin showed us the way to Fado Museum. Got out at first carpark to see police wagging fingers and shaking heads "No". Second carpark was for electric cars only. Had just taken ticket in third carpark on wharf, when Joao Paulo called to say vehicle was almost ready - ah, Fado experience will have to wait for another time. Total bill for service, 6 new filters for spares, two new batteries, and modification, reinforcement and rust proofing of storage bay was €845 - would probably have been over $3000 in Oz. Finally out by pm and off to find caravan park for night so we have access to washing machines (which turned out to be managed by on-site supermarket, which closed at 6pm!)

Goodbye Joao Paulo...

Friday: Chores, washing/drying, emails, lunch at cafe, repacked the electronics well, re-planned itinerary to fit in Loire Valley plus time to get to Raab earlier than planned in order to meet Erich before he departs Austria. Early champagne celebration for Ann's birthday as we split up tomorrow for a week - them to friends outside Madrid, us to Madrid for Webasto service and repairs. 

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