Saturday  Dateicon  13.8.2016  Tigericon  0km

The temperature is still relentless at close to 40°C so I'm pacing myself and seeking shade where I can find  it.
The fact that all of Lisbon is sloping in every direction doesn't help so when I've battled myself all the way up I feel as if I should be greeted by some wreaths but instead of course I'm welcomed by a fairly long cue.
I will not have walked up that hill for nothing so after filling up with some fluids I get in line.
Thankfully the street is surrounded by tall buildings and the castle wall so at least I'm in the shade.

Standing inside on the courtyard it was totally worth it just for the stunning view of the city.
I hit it large and head for a kiosk and get coffee, icecream and a soda.
I learnt early on that Spain is an espresso-country, "normal" coffee which have the somewhat misleading name Americano in most parts of the world even though the yanks have pretty much perfected the art of not drinking it that way.
An Americano in this country is basically an espresso with 8/10 water added.
The "problem" with espresso is that what is has in quality is lacks in quantity, you barely get to moisten your lips with it.
The solution to the problem is called a double espresso, refreshing for both body and soul.

Alas, the waitress have other plans.
I almost surprise myself by my brilliance when I order an espresso, el grande por favor (a large espesso please) which I know is Spanish and not Portugese but at least I'm trying?
She retorts with a crushing no!, it would seem this poison can not be served in such irresponsible quantities.
Well, I'm not one for giving up and last I checked there's no limit to quantity so I hesitantly asks for two of them. Dos?
Si! We have consensus. I have cleverly outsmarted the rationing and may enjoy the bitter-sweet blackness of victory.

The building was absolutely amazing and the view was just stunning so I was in no great hurry when I strolled along but eventually I made my way down to the cathedral.
In this circumstance a fairly young building at just 110 years (built 1907) but no less beautiful.
And I can only thank most of the other tourist who doubled back at the sight at an entrance fee of €1.5 to get to the inner courtyard and the old convent.
I'll never understand it but the lack of other visitors only made the experience better when I walked along the amazing aisles of the inner courtyard practically by myself.

From here I went to Praca do Comercio which I think translates to Square of commerce, littered with tourists and lined by restaurants this is Lisbon's biggest and most decorated square.
That you walk through a striking city gate/Triumphal arch to get to it makes it even better.
It isn't hard to imagine people gathering here to welcome the return of explorers in a bygone age.

I walk passed the Santa Justa elevator in my way to the Sau Roque church.
It would have been fun to ride on one of the famous elevators but the cue is like a bad joke, the experience can not possibly be worth cuing for 2-3 hours so I'm going to settle for admiring them from outside.
The church delivers on the architecture and attention to detail as usual but I wouldn't have been hard pressed to get out of the sun today regardless of the interior.

When I'm up here I might as well visit the Sao Pedro church too, somewhat underwhelming architecturally but with a few nice quirks like murals on tile which still made it worth the uphill walk.
After that I started to make my way back to the hotel but on the way I found myself outside yet another church, not that there wasn't a lot of them so they're not hard to find.
The San Domingo church wasn't the grandest by far but its history is a bit interesting because of its somewhat unlucky history.

They started building it 1241 but it wasn't finished until 1748 so it took the best part of half a millennia to build! To some part certainly owed to an earthquake in 1531.
So what happens after 500 hundred years of building an an earthquake? Just 7 years after it's finished it's completely razed in another earthquake.
Rebuilding it in relatively record time of only fifty years it is finished in 1807.
It survived pretty long after that and stood unscathed until 1959 when the interior was completely burned down in a fire that also took the life of two firemen.
It took another 40 years until it was back in service but some of the damage made by the fire can still clearly be seen.
I'm almost surprised they didn't hand out helmets at the door because statistically speaking something is bound to happen pretty soon.

Local cuisine is all good and well but with a Chinese restaurant adjacent to the hotel I could not resist the "three little treasures".
There still was a local touch to it as I've never seen octopus featured in that dish before.


On my way to the castle. Compared to the Swedish bog standard "falu red" the façades on these buildings seem very exotic.

The view of the city from the courtyard was absolutely stunning.

San Jorge castle.




The cathedral



The old convent

The triumphal arch and Praca do Comercio

Santa Justa elevator

It is a very beautful city but it takes it's toll on your stamina because it always up and down.

But there are short cuts if you don't want to take the stairs.

Sau Roque church.


Sao Pedro church.

On my way back to the hotel.


San Domingo church.

Sunday  Dateicon  14.8.2016  Tigericon  0km

I'm pacing myself and I'm mostly just strolling around enjoying my surrounding so when I find a café in the middle of a park it wasn't hard to decide that it was time for a triple: an espresso, a bear and a fruit salad.
The coffee because I needed it, the beer because why the hell not and the fruit salad just because it's pretty much the only dessert-like thing I can eat.

Straight across from the park I had one of the few touristy things planned for today, the Estrela Basilica or as it is otherwise named: Royal Basilica and Convent of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
That doesn't quite just roll of the tongue now does it?

As it happens I just happened to wander straight into a wedding ceremony.
I swear there was nothing to attest to this going on before I was right in the middle of it so it seemed like the most decent thing to do was to just sit the f**k down and shut the f**k up.
Either the ceremony had just begun or it was quite long but during the half our of catholic admonitions in Portuguese I had all the time in the world to take in the surroundings and admire the interior.
It really is a stunning building.
So thank you Mr and Mrs lisp-sound, it was a very beutiful ceremony that I'm very happy to have been a part of.
I'm not least thankful for the fact that weddings obviously seemed to be exempt from the photography ban so when the rest of the guest where smattering away it would have been rude not to follow suit?

I like walking when I'm in a city, I just don't think I get a real feel for the city I'm in riding in a taxi or on a bus.
You're also very likely to miss out on a few think if you're just whizzing from one destination to the next.
Like what I did next, I just happened to stumble upon some kind of art quarter (LX Factory) which existence I was completely unaware of until I was in it.

It was a nice walk and I also got some lunch in the form of a custom salad where you got to choose the ingredients from a whole page of goodies.
A pretty nice touch I thought but the service was so unbelievable bad it had entertainment value, even with both legs broken I wouldn't have any trouble at all getting out of paying for that meal.

I really had to get going because there was still 5kms to go to Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and I realize that I need some kind of shortcut if I'm to make it before closing.
The public transport is mainly trams though and I know what direction I'm going so how hard can it be?
Not very it seems, but on the other hand the tram was packed so to the brim that getting to where you're supposed to pay for the fare was completely out of the question.
Considering how much I spent in this city I don't feel all that bad about skimping on the €1.75 fare so thank you Lisbon transport.

Apart from the convent there was some kind of archaeological exhibit but I ran through that like a tornado to get to what I had come to see.
They started building the convent in 1501 but it wasn't finished until 100 years later, it took one hundred years to build!
The build quality testifies to it, it's nothing short of an architectural orgasm.

From here I head down to a fortification named Belém tower just a few kms from the convent down by the water.
This was also erected in the 1500:s and is on the Unesco world heritage list... as it should be.
It's not hard to see why the choose this building as a symbol for the city.

On my way back I went along the waterfront and passed something called Padrão dos Descobrimentos which must be some kind of explorers monument but I didn't get so see much of it since it was almost completely covered with scaffolding.
But I did get a really nice view of the 25:e april bride which also is pretty much synonymous with the city.
The resemblance to the Golden gate bride I learned is due to the fact that it's made by the same consortium and by an apprentice to the builder that made the Golden gate.

Now I feel pretty much done with that this part of the city has to offer so I needed to get back to "my" part of town again and with it being about 10kms away with nothing really to see along the way I felt pretty tempted to once again venture onto public transport.
Tram it is. Tram number 15 to be precise. What a mistake that was.
I really hope this was a unique experience or I feel really sorry for the poor sods that live here and have to suffer this daily.
The first two didn't even stop because they where so full and when one eventually did stop he only opened the front door to get everyone to pay the fare which almost caused a revolution because it was so time consuming.
I don't know if it was the fear of a lynching or if he eventually just thought he had gotten enough payment out of it because finally he just decided to open the flood gates and the full scale invasion was a fact.
Luckily I'm not a claustrophobic person because this was not a humane form of transport.
It was pretty much a gangrape where everyone was simultaneously both the victim and the perpetrator.

I also got to experience what seems to go as normal conversation between two Portuguese women:

Dialogue. Sound level: Normal conversational tone.
Retort. Sound level: Someone sounds severely agitated but show no other signs of aggression.
Dialogue. Sound level: Ears start to hurt, it's starting to cause discomfort. The feeling of overwhelming panic is upon you.
Retort. Sound level: Your ears are now bleeding, level of consciousness is not clear at this point. Death is the great liberator that eases all pain.
Laugter. Sound level: Pantomime. All sound have now been replaced by blissful silence since all form of hearing is but a memory of a bygone age, a before tramrides in Lisbon-age.
Without being questioned I would have by now confessed to every sin I have ever committed.


I might make it clear that these women where on the same tram, not two different lines although I have no doubt that they would have heard each other completely regardless.

Before this I really had my mind set on a "must-do" thing in Lisbon, to ride Tram number 18.
After this experience I was more likely to smash up a tram with a sledgehammer, smash all the larger pieces again and then eat them.
If you still feel that something is unclear then I beg of you, if you take nothing from this trip apart from this then heed my call: Do.Not.Go.On.A.Tram.In.Lisbon.

I don't think I've ever felt more needing of a beer than after that ordeal.
I didn't make it further than Praca do comercio but even if I paid for the view it was completely worth it.
Another thing I'm more than happy pay extra for is when restaurant are clear about allergens on the menu and here they even had it on the menycard on the street so deciding where to eat supper was easy.
Considering the surroundings it felt that fish was the obvious choice.

I took a detour by the Avenue da Libertade back to the hotel before uploading tomorrows route into the GPS which will take me to Porto.

 

Estrela park


Estrela basilica
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On my way to the convent...

...I stumbled into LX Factory




Mosteiro dos Jerónimos
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The archaeological exhibit was just something I ran through to get to the good parts.


But at least I confirmed Illuminati on the way

It's not hard to see why this is a part of the world heritage because words can not describe the beauty of this building.







Belém tower
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Along the promenade.


Monday  Dateicon  15.8.2016  Tigericon  384km Total:4585km

I still feel like I missed out on the coastal route to Gibraltar as I originally planned and since I had no grand plans for my stay in Porto I switch out the Mediterranean cost for the Atlantic coast.
So from Lisbon I head due east to Estoril onto the N-247 along the coast.

I was a really nice ride and well worth the extra time but the heat is still relentless so I wasn't without some relief when I went on to the A-7 and throttled up to 130km/h.
At 40°C it probably isn't much of a cooling effect in the wind anyway but at least there's some placebo-chillfactor in it.

It is already evening when I get to Alvares Cabral Guest House in Porto.
The hotel was in a steep hill that was leaning simultaneously in all directions (don't ask me how) except the only one that would have helped to securely park the bike.
That's a lesson I've learned the hard way so I continue a ridiculously long way to find somewhere to park the bike where it will stay upright.
It really isn't any fun at all picking up a quarter of a metric ton of motorcycle once it's down, I'd rather walk.

The hotel was a real nice surprise, I get a small but homely room in the attic.
Some people might like grand rooms large enough to have a football match in but I'm more into a homely atmosphere.
The staff was amazing too.

For some strange reason I managed to ride straight through somewhere I should have paid a toll.
The women in the next booth refused to accept payment for anything other than the last toll I went through.
I've read articles about people getting demand for completely ludicrous amounts of money so I'd rather not have that happen just because I didn't pay a toll of €1.5-3

The manager of the hotel was on the phone for at least a quarter of an hour on my behalf just to try and figure out how I should pay the outstanding fee... most of which he spent nodding and listing intently and repeated a phrase that sounded like topsve.
I don't know what that word means so I can only hope that it isn't Portugese for he's fucked.
I eventually got a URL for a website where I could check for my licence plate among outstanding payment after a couple of weeks¹ so I will either hopefully get a chance to make it right or they won't flag down a foreign plate.

I head out on the town and actually get up in the tower of Clerigos church before closing.
Porto was a really nice town, walking along the promenade down by the sea with the sun setting in the background had an astronomical vacation-feel.

But down by the waterfront there wasn't a single available chair to sit on so I decide to head back to the hotel and eat somewhere along the way.
I hadn't really realized this about myself but it seems that my bouts with food poisoning have made me completely paranoid and I managed to find something wrong with every single restaurant along the way.
It was pathetic, what a fucking adventurer I am...
Finally I just say fuck it, open up google maps, point at the closest restaurant and head that way.

That tactic sure paid off.
When I stick my head in the door and ask if it's possible to get a bite to eat the waiter goes in to strict attention and states that Sir (who can you not love a place where someone calls you Sir when you're dressed in shorts and Triumph t-shirt) can get pretty much whatever he desires.

So Sir sits down, adjusts his monocle so as to read the menu and orders Duck Margrete with bitter orange jam and wild asparagus.
It was sublime meal indeed.

¹I've since checked and to my modest outstanding fee of €2,21 they've added another fee (for what exactly I do not know) of €12.55.
There was another outstanding claim on the bike of €4.42 which I have no idea where I should have paid.
According to the FAQ on pagamentodeportagens.pt they add a fee of €80 on every outstanding claim so if they decide to hand this over to a collection agency I would stand to pay almost €180 for what was originally €6.63 in toll.
Screw that. Even though I think the completely made up fee of €12.55 is a bitter pill €180 and whatever other fees might accumulate along the way isn't a risk I'm prepared to take so I paid up.
Considering the toll roads are run by companies as a business I really think they could offer a bit better service than to refuse payment from tourists who try to make right on an honest mistake but take my advice, if you're ever riding on toll-roads in Portugal, pay attention and pay up.

A quick brake to fill up on fluids.

My quarters at the Alvares Cabral

Porto

Clerigos church and the view from the tower.


San Fransisco church
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The promenade


There was plenty of things to look at as the daylight faded away.