Regular RamblerAndrew Mundy has let us peek into his diary from his recent four-centre holiday in Portugal.
The diesel day
An early start from Porto by fast train to Espinho. We change onto the diesel train to Semada do Vouga. All goes well for a while and then we find that part of the line has been closed for over a year. We pile into taxis and arrive at Semada. But, where is our leader? Karen arrives 20 minutes later in a taxi which has called at all the closed stations to collect the non-existent passengers. We relax now and have our lunch.
Another diesel awaits to take us to Aveiro and our connection to Coimbra. Luckily, our luggage has gone ahead to the hotel and awaits us. A massive three-hour banquet awaits. An interesting day.
The epic walk at Serra do Bucaco
Off we go on a large white bus to our main walk of the holiday. The walk is D grade, but the problem was we had to cross the river nine times, which took a long time! We all managed though, with only a few fallers. The river bed was very slippery! The botanical garden was worth the walk, though. Another massive banquet in the evening almost finished us off.
The quiet lunch at Sao Martinho do Porto
A gentle journey by train and it is the seaside for lunch. Four of us find a restaurant and find a superb young white wine. Life is good.
Sightseeing in Lisbon
Oh dear, it is raining really hard and Karen wants to show us all the sights! The group make the best of it and travel out to the Rio Tejo riverside. The rain is torrential and we shelter and have coffee. The queues (three, I think?) for the monastery are massive and nobody feels like waiting to get in. We bite the bullet and travel back to Lisbon proper. I drink port and buy cheese in a newly opened shop and forget the rain.
A interesting holiday with four centres and an intensive schedule. Luckily, we had Karen who worked hard to make sure the holiday went smoothly. Lisbon would be good to visit in the off season and would make a good weekend break.
PS: This exact holiday no longer runs, but in 2015 we will run a holiday called ‘Cities of Exploration – Porto and Lisbon’.