Thursday 7 November 2013

Portugal: The Edge of the World

I never did blog about my little trip to Lisbon in May, and now seems as good a time as any. I have a few of these lined up for the next few weeks. It's always fun to look at pictures of sunny holidays when it's dark and dreary, isn't it? And it has felt very dark today.

We spent one day on a train journey and a rickety bus to the coast, to visit Cabo da Roca. It's the most westerly point in Europe. I really could have stood there staring at the sea for hours - the colours kept changing. But Tutty wouldn't let me, and since she'd already sacrificed part of her holiday for my day at the tile museum, I just took lots of pictures of it. Now I think my new blue jumper is going to be named Cabo da Roca.

The rock formations reminded me a lot of the Great Ocean Road in Australia.

That's probably not surpising, since both coasts have been battered by enormous waves. It's clearly not exactly the same type of rock, and in fact, looking over these pictures again, I remember that I meant to ask Tom about it because there are a couple of different types.

I uploaded one like this to Facebook and tagged him. He was most unhappy. "That's not fair. You can't say you're "with me" when you've got that amazing near vertical bedding and sea stacks.... and I can see Swindon train station."

I got a bit caught up in the history of the place - Lisbon is dripping with its explorer heritage - and spent some time imagining how sailors must have felt 600 years ago, staring out across the ocean and wondering when the heck it might end.

It was quite an adventure getting there. Getting the train tickets was not straightforward, although it should have been. We attempted to use the self-service machines and got in a bit of a pickle. I managed to get my ticket but couldn't remember what I'd pressed to get it. Then these two young guys came over to help. They were dressed in low slung scruffy jeans and caps and I saw Tutty visibly tense and try to back away, while I instinctively zipped up my bag; we'd both been reading about the pick pockets around the train station. However, they spoke English, were very polite and were able to help her in spite of her trying to go to the ticket window instead. I guess that says a lot about judging a youth by his clothing.

When I was looking back through my pictures on the DSLR on the train, though, the conductor came along and told me it would be a good idea for me to keep it out of sight, so perhaps being overly-cautious was not a bad idea.

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