The dining scene is an upmarket first-floor restaurant in downtown Lisbon with tablecloths linen napkins unpretentious and really pleasant. My first visit was 2 nights ago when it was totally packed and they squeezed me in on a bar stool.
Tonight it was just a few of us I sat down in a central location facing the bar but quickly rotated around to view the other diners.
On my left, in the window bay, where a couple, clearly both English he an educated ageing hippie with long hair which must be a nightmare to look after she a young attractive lady. He clearly was wanting to show his catch as whenever their hands met he turned around. Initially, I thought he was an academic but later I thought perhaps an author with her as his publicist or maybe researcher, she was clearly in awe of him and went beetroot red when he mentioned the word bed to the waitress who are all really pleasant .
Just in front to my left where two youngish women from their demeanour I would say Portuguese very quiet and rather sad. A lovers tiff maybe?
The second bay window was occupied by two young guys who I also thought were in a relationship maybe this is a bit of a gay restaurant? Also very quiet and reserved.
To my right a middle aged German couple. on arrival with him on his handy chatting away obviously regarding someone coming to join them. As they sat down the waitress cleared away the fourth place setting. Eventually another German guy joined them clearly long lost friends with lots of the irritating German laughter the poor lady was left in silence.
The final couple arrived later quite young and sat alongside each other! How strange, maybe a first date? He awkwardly tried talking to her but after a while realised it’s much easier if you sit opposite each other!!
A fascinating evening with excellent food including my first port in Portugal. Many thanks to the fine staff, Ana, Morilia, Ricardo, Miguel, Mohammed, J. Niguez and Maziak for the excellent food & service that kept me coming back night after night and also thanks for my little present
For my regular readers, all the previous posts are updated with Flickr links
Its been a reasonable 1,000-mile bike ride at an average of 56 miles (90km) a biking day (it’s the first question everyone asks me).
Things I’ve maybe learnt:
a) It’s hopelessly impractical to do long distance train journeys in Europe with a touring bike may be just about on your own but for two well I wish you both best of luck 🙁 Even two Brompton’s would be a challenge. Stick to planes or the various ferries maybe even coaches.
b) Southern Spain Andalucia is excellent for winter biking and with Mallorca getting overcrowded with bikes it’s certainly worth a go, Quiet, excellent roads, good weather and relatively inexpensive. Portugal isn’t really suitable for road biking, off-roading it’s probably OK.
c) Audaxing in Spain in winter is certainly a lot more pleasant than the UK and straightforward.
Here is my fun spreadsheet of the trip with links to all my blog posts etc: Note: This sheet will get updated automatically
Following a previous comment on this blog from my friend and former wealth creator Pete. I decided to visit Coimbra the site of Portugals oldest university founded in 1290, Not Europes which is Bologna in Italy founded in 1088, btw Cambridge is 1209.
I decided, thankfully, to leave the bike in the hotel and take the train and walk around Coimbra. My Old man’s fare was €22 return. The train was an InterCity and interestingly had space to hang two conventional bikes at the end of each carriage we smoothly went along at 200kph so the trip only took just over 2 hours.
The university sits atop the hill so a fair climb up cobbled streets initially I wandered about the geological part of the museum looking at what I guess is their first geological map some 90 years younger than Smiths UK one.
I eventually found a formal tour around the science bits of the museum. It’s like a museum of a museum, everything is as it was labelled probably 100 odd years ago! Interesting in itself but no life in the exhibits at all. I just hope when the New New Cavendish gets built we will get a decent Physics Museum in Cambridge. Wouldn’t it be incredible to convert the original Cavendish back as it was with working replicas of the original stuff, pity they demolished the original DNA lab to make hideous bike racks.
The science then moved into Zoology with there collection of stuffed animals seemingly a focus on animals with two heads!
Later I did a little tour of the ornate Baroque Library I wonder when the last time a book left its shelves.
The town itself is a retail museum with shops out of the 1950’s full of counters with drawers and boxes with I thought way to much formal garb but incredible fruitcake in the cafe.
An interesting day out especially meeting Vasco on the train home who let me share his taxi from the station in the rainstorm back to the hotel.
I liked Lost Lisbon Hotel & Casa de Pasto restaurant in Portugal so much, even with the walk to the toilet, that I decided to stay here all week and return home on Friday for Sally’s Cambridge Half Marathon this upcoming weekend.
Monday had rain forecast in the afternoon so I planned a little route along the riverfront then up to Sintra and back before the rain started at midday.
What a nightmare! the river cycling route is a total mish-mash of paths with right-angled bends & cobbled surfaces which if you miss the bend you are in the drink or cycling on the humungous wide road with the railway in the centre, all a total nightmare, it started raining early and at Cruz Quebrada I just gave up, Portuguese road biking is not pleasant and so I made my way back more or less the way I came. Not a great ending to the bike trip but made me pleased that I didn’t hang about in Spain too long as the wind & rain would have been deeply unpleasant when touring.