Monday, 12 January 2009

Trip to Lisbon Report.

Had to go up to Lisbon yesterday from Lagos, so a short report.

Left Lagos at 13:30 by hire car provided by Luzcar.

Took the Motorway on-ramp at the Total Service Station on the road to Praia do Luz / Sagres.

Joined the A22 and ran 10kms to Bensafrim and joined the EN 120.

Followed this road through Aljezur, Rogil, Maria Vinagre, Odeceixe, into the Alentejo and then onto to Odemira.

From Odemira, continued on the N120 to Cercal. (Very windy road.) From Cercal, took the N262 to Alvalade where I turned left onto the IC 1 (old Lisbon to Algarve arterial road. ). After 5 minutes stopped in Mimosa at the last Restaurant on the left going North.

Restaurante S. Sebastião de Mimosa,Mimosa

Tel: 269 595 202

Transit time to Mimosa by this route was 1hr. 40 mins.

It was a beautiful clear day, although very cold. A bit of Sunday traffic. The Alentejo was beautiful with blue skies, green pastures and lots of happy sheep, pigs and locals.

From Mimosa, headed North up the IC 1, past Grandola until I came to the N10 just past Marateca.

Turned right and after 1km entered the A2 Motorway to Lisbon. Everything was find until I arrived 2km from the 25 de Abril Bridge over the Tagus. However, the A2 between Palmela and Coima is being widened to three lanes. Work will continued through 2010. Until then, the Vasco da Gama bridge may be a better option for accessing Lisbon from the South.

There were the usual Sunday trippers coming back from the South Bank and substantial queues which meant that it took the 20 minutes to grind past the Almada and Costa Caparica off-ramps before getting to the tolls at the Bridge.

After that it was an easy run over the bridge, coming off right at the Marques de Pombal off-ramp and through the new tunnels to Marques de Pombal. (Note strict radar/photo 50 km/hr speed controls in place in the tunnels). Turned right down Avda. de Liberdade and dived into the Restauradores Public Parking at the bottom on the Avenida. Transit time by this route with stops and the delay at the bridge about 4 hours.

Overnighted at the following:

Residêncial Florescente
Rua Portas de Santo Antão, nº99
1150 - 266 Lisboa
Tel: +351 213426609
Fax: +351 213427733

This hotel had been recommended by German friends here in Lagos. It is a 2 1/2* hostelry doing B&B.With 6th Floors is a newly refurbished old Lisbon 5 storey building. The rooms have been repainted and refubished. They are warm and comfortable, with clean bathrooms but not deluxe. The price was good to this time of year.

The hotel is opposite the Teatro Coliseu, 2 blocks from Rossio and Rossio Station.

Two notes of caution: The wifi was not working and the staff are nice but 2 generations behind in their IT skills.

The Hotel website is a disaster and when we called to book, still had to send a fax to confirm.

When we arrived the receptionist, who was very pleasant still took 10 minutes to check us in, owing to problems "with the computer". Being an IT nerd myself methinks that a lack of training was more the reason. Even speaking Portuguese it was hard work.

We were on our way to see a performance at the Teatro Chapito near the Castelo São Jorge. From the Hotel is was easy to walk down and across Praça Figueira and then down to Rua dos Correios 223/225 where one finds the Restaurante Cesteiro. We have eaten here before, Not to touristy as it serves Bank staff during the week and very good Portuguese Food. The Bacalhau was wonderful, as was the Caldo Verde Soup. However, I had to chase them to heat the soup up for me, as it was done "Lisbon style" whereas I like my soup hot.

After dinner it was a 12 minute-walk uphill to the Chapitu on a cold but clear night. Wine on the terrace overlooking the Tagus bridge and then to see "O Tempestade", a visual take of Shakespeare's the Tempest, produced by John Mowat and performed by the "Companhia de Chapitu", with Jorge Cruz, Marta Cequeira, Tiago Viegas. As usual, a brilliant performance by these excellent young Portuguese Actors.

Returned the same way to Lagos today. A couple of notes. Being Monday a lot more heavy traffic on the road, It is obvious that many truckers are being told to avoid using Motorways to save on tolls. The Old Lisbon - Algarve IC 1 was very busy with heavy vehicles as a result and slow down our return transit on this route to 4 hours. However, the countryside is beautiful.

It is also noticeable as a result that the road pavement between Marateca and south of Grandola has been badly deformed. So a bumpy ride on this route. In future, unless this route is improved, I will probably join the A2 motorway at Grandola South and pay the tolls to get to and form Lisbon.