Back to Lisbon

October 17, 2017 - Lisbon, Portugal

Alex, our guide, had arranged a wake-up call for all of our group but we had both been awake for some time before.

Our bags were already packed from last night and it was just a matter of arranging our day packs and collecting our last few things to be ready to go down for breakfast at 8am.

You would only rate their breakfast as fair compared to many of the places we have stayed but there was still plenty and on the bus tour we usually get a chance to have what we need for lunch.

It was almost 8.30am when we went back to our room to collect our bags and check out but we consoled ourselves with the fact that Alex was still eating breakfast when we left the dining room.

We began our trek north towards Lisbon as today was the final day of our tour. About two hours’ drive took us to the little seaside village of Vila Nova de Milfontes. There we went on to the point and the ocean beach to have coffee and a ‘technical break’ at A Choupana. This was a great little beach shack sort of place and while the coffee was slow in production it was needed and we watched a fisherman cleaning a box full of fish with much attention from a large group of gulls and skuas.

After our little seaside interlude we drove north again for another two hours to reach Setabul where we parked near the statue of the opera singer, Luisa Todi and walked into the town square to find lunch and have a look around.

Margaret and I walked around several streets to gawk at the buildings but didn’t find anywhere enticing to eat. Back in the square we met up with Tony and Jenny and checked out a pastry shop, Botequim du Bocage, on the far side. There were plenty of luscious looking sweet pastries but we also found they would do some ham and cheese baguettes and beers so we took them to sit outside in the sun. We all thought it was the best choice in town and there was no denying the opportunity for more pasteis de nata (Portuguese custard tarts) as well just to have something sweet.

After lunch Margaret and I took a short walk down toward the harbour before boarding the bus for a drive over the ridge on the coast road. There was some spectacular scenery on the way with views from the heights of the coastal cliffs. We pleaded for Alex to stop somewhere to take photos and when the opportunity presented our driver pulled up on the left side of the road.

Unfortunately there were a lot of trees and many of us, including Margaret and me but led by Nerrida, walked back along the edge of the road to a better vantage point. We all got some good photos but were castigated by Alex on our return. ‘Just five minutes, out and back in, just for photos’, she reminded us, ‘but when I turned my back you ware half way back to Setabul’. Suitably admonished but happy to have the photos we clambered back aboard and drove on to Azeitão where we had an appointment for a tour of the José Maria Da Fonseca Wines House Museum.

Our museum guide was Pedro and he told us the history of José Maria Da Fonseca Wines since beginning in 1834 and a little about the production of Muscat wine before taking us to look at some of the huge mahogany barrels holding up to 20,000 litres and the smaller oak barrels of 200 litre capacity. After a peek through the bars at the family’s reserve collection which has wines from almost every year since production began we went down to the tasting rooms to try the ‘Special’ and ‘Reserve’ Perquita. Again I managed to wangle an extra glass, this time of the ‘Reserve’. That probably helped me sleep on the way back to Lisbon.

We returned to Lisbon across the Ponte 25 de Abril (you guessed it didn’t you, 25th April Bridge). As this was the finish of the tour the driver proceeded to work our way round some of the smaller streets dropping people at their different hotels. We were then dropped at the TRYP Lisboa Aeroporto. Tony and Jenny would be the last to be dropped off and they were going to the airport with a 9pm flight to catch. They still had time but I would have been panicking by then.

We settled ourselves into our room. Another trendy room with a bath (separated from the bedroom by a curtain) with a vanity between the bath and shower and toilet. Hardly room to turn around in those once the frosted glass doors were closed but it certainly looked flash. I emailed our boarding passes to the front desk for printing, then we went down to the bar for drinks and snacks. Not quite the Portuguese cuisine. Hamburger and beer for me and a ham and cheese toastie and red wine for Margaret. A second beer for me and a Baileys Coffee for Margaret to round off the night.

Our boarding passes were ready and so were we. Tomorrow we leave the Iberian Peninsula and the ever-present ham and pork and head to Dubai for two nights. No ham or bacon there.


The beach near Vila Nova de Milfontes
View of the beach from the coffee shop
Stork's nests on the electricity pylon
José Maria da Fonseca Winery
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