What a great Lisboa day this was! The prior night was a late one, Bairro Alto and then Lux. I got home at around 7AM and slept until about 3PM. When I woke up, the sun was shining and I decided to go to the beach. But which beach? The thing about Portugal is that there are so many amazing beaches that sometimes its hard to choose which one to go to. It’s what I like to call a “high quality problem”.
Since I’d never been to Costa da Caparica I decided that today I’d check it out. Getting there from Lisbon using public transport is a bit of an adventure in and of itself. I first took the Metro from my place to Cais do Sodre. From there I exited the Metro and walked across the way to the Terminal Fluvial (depicted above), where ships and ferries depart into the Rio Tejo.
Once at the Terminal Fluvial in Cais do Sodre, I bought a ferry ticket to the South side of the Rio Tejo to a small dock-town called Cacilhas. The main attractions for Cacilhas is the ferry terminal to Cais do Sodre, the Cervejarias, and amazing grilled sardines (pictures to come). From Cacilhas you can then take buses to many places South of the Tejo, including Costa da Caparica, my destination.
Through the window we could see the passengers from Cacilhas debarking. At the same time this huge red sliding door started to open silently allowing us to walk to the ferry.
Seeing Lisbon from the sea is quite beautiful. The Rio Tejo estuary is one of the largest natural harbors in the world. One that Fernando Pessoa says “has ample anchorage for the mightiest of fleets”.
I would have to agree.
I can imagine sailors of old sailing into this harbor coming home from a long voyage, seeing the Praça do Comércio and its giant white marble square, welcoming them home.
On the South SYEEED! The ferry trip took about ten minutes and runs every 15-20 minutes. By this time I was getting quite hungry and I needed to have a nice leisurely meal after such a harrowing voyage.
The sign said “Sardinhas assadas – 5€” I’m in!
Very simple but very delicious meal. Sardines seasoned with coarse sea salt and then grilled over coals. French fries still dripping with oil, mayonnaise, and some beer to wash it all down. I was very happy after this meal!
After eating, I walked over to the bus terminal and hopped on a bus to Costa da Caparica. I intended to take the Costa da Caparica via Rapida bus (express) number 135, but instead got onto the 124. The 124 also goes to Costa da Caparica but it does so via Almada. Basically the bus stopped every 20 feet. Oh well. It’s not like I’m going to the beach or anything. When I finally got there I took a walk around the boardwalk first.
There is a small circus for children, the usual souvenir shops, a bus stop, and some restaurants. But I didn’t come here for that. What’s the beach like?
So what about this beach? As you can plainly see it is quite crowded. There are breakwaters every 300 yards or so, and there are a lot of surfers here too. Personally, I like the beach in Carcavelos a lot better. Costa da Caparica is really hard to get to if you don’t have a car. And if you do, you might get lost, and you will also have to pay 4 Euros in tolls. My opinion, if you live in Lisbon and want to take public transport to the beach, go to Carcavelos. All you do to get to that beach is get to Cais do Sodre from the Metro, walk upstairs, and take the train to Cascais every 20 minutes and get off at Carcavelos. After that its a short walk to the beach (follow the people/signs). To get to Costa da Caparica, I had to get to Cais do Sodre, take a ferry to Cacilhas, and take a bus to Costa da Caparica. All in all the trip took almost 2 hours each way. Anyway, after the beach I took the bus back to Cacilhas and took the ferry back to Lisbon.
At this point I was a bit tired and I went home to take a shower and a nap. I knew that later on tonight there was a festival going on in the Praça do Comércio with fireworks, so I didn’t want to be dead for that.
More evidence to support that Lisbon is the most beautiful city in the world! The light, the spirit, the history of the place…
The Fireworks! Tonight was the last night of the Festival dos Oceanos. The grand finale was this fireworks show. There were thousands of people packed into the Praça do Comércio to see the show.
After the fireworks, I got a serious hankering for the best gelato in the world, sold at Santini in the Chiado. For 2,50 Euros you get one large scoop with 2 flavors of gelato. Insider tip: Order your flavors in English, “Hey um, can I get uh, melon and fig?” If you do, the baristas think you are a tourist and try to impress you by giving you an extra large scoop. The times I’ve ordered in Portuguese have resulted in the normal sized scoops. There is almost always a line out the door on Friday and Saturday nights. This place is a Lisbon landmark and deserves its own metro station. The flavors above are Fig and Summer. After the delicious gelato, I headed to Bairro Alto. What Lisboa night doesn’t end in Bairro Alto?
Yeah so this guy was breathing fire really close to me. I almost got splashed with the oil. Some of it almost got into my beer. Beverage, dude! Beverage!!!
She must have gotten her jean shorts in the “ass-less” section of El Corte Inglês. After the firebreather and Ms. Brasileira Bunda I walked over the miradouro at the top of Bairro Alto. The night was cool and clear, with the full moon overhead. All in all, a great Lisboa day.