Sesimbra to Lisbon to Madrid:  SUP and Fado

Walking day – Friday

Lots of good walking, after a visit to another interesting Franciscan monastery/convent.




Beautiful views across to some of the 7 completed chapels from a set of 14 planned ones on surrounding hills.


And down to the sea:


That convent is considerably more modern and would be a great place to live in a private cell for a while.

Well, except that I doubt it has internet so, maybe not.

Interesting decorations.


The walk was not particularly hard: flat, up a hill and down a hill. The day was sunny, warm and just beautiful. Could be a very hard walk in the rain as clay soil in parts and walking downhill on stones and then stone paths, long polished by human feet, scary. Footpaths in many places we’ve been are made of small (well polished) stone blocks. Phew! Thank heavens for all the dry weather on this trip.

The lunch toll/score included one tick on a lucky winner. Guess which one?


Some seemed more interested in other things, near or far:

To prove we made it, you can see Sesimbra in the background:



Last dinner in Sesimbra

A disorganised affair in which it was again not clear what food was coming. Worse, the restaurant staff acted as if they didn’t want to serve a group, despite taking our booking. Service was poor, very poor. Issues were not adequately addressed by the company rep or the local guide. Irritating. Sour grapes from me as I was seated at the section of table given very little food. Not happy. Yes, I whined. Dammit I didn’t wine instead, you might say…

Standup paddle boarding (SUP) – Saturday

Wow! Squeezed ourselves back into the wetsuits, picked up our allocated boards, and the four of the eleven of us headed down the boat ramp (Jodie, Susan, Martha and I plus our guides, Annabel and Anne). Some looked professional.

One tried to.


Successfully climbed on our boards and we each hoisted our paddle after a quick summary of how to manage life on a standup paddle board by Annabel.


Most got up off their knees soon after. I was a little slower but not the first to fall off. J fell off first and second. I then fell off four times in toto. (Don’t say it: I fell off more than anyone else. Yes. 😂) J made it 3 times and Anne only twice. Martha didn’t get to standing but neither did she fall off. And this was a week or so after she turned 70. Very impressive. Susan stood up like a pro, didn’t fall off once and managed to swap boards with Jodie. Also very impressive.





Then lunch and our last Portuguese hotel, in the Alfama area of Lisbon, the old suburb. J and I are the sole single room people now, here for Saturday and Sunday nights.

It was ok for night one. Day 2 J was moved out of her room. Not advised the day before. Just told on Sunday and, to a room with a shared bathroom. Not what she paid for and I’m waiting to see if I’m being moved too. Even worse, her door could not be shut from inside! A hotel!!!!

Last night – Fado

Saturday night was Fado night. Fado? Yes, the local music. Two guitars, one Portuguese and one usual, and a singer. First singer was a guy. Ok, nothing more. Not a big vocal range, just his good looks to recommend him. The next singer was a woman and the third the guy who runs the restaurant. These two were very good, as was the fourth, another guy, clearly recognised as someone important in the Fado world. Interesting music and good that the audience was strongly encouraged to sing chorus lines.

Fun. Interesting watching the whole setup. Taken very seriously, you shouldn’t talk (unless a local) and people aren’t allowed in during a song. Yes, the door boy (aged about 60) was busy sorting sheep and goats and keeping out intruders.

Martha made friends with the very impressive player of the Portuguese guitar. Oh, and bought a CD.


A good last evening. Last time with some of the group who were leaving early on Sunday.

Tip

Are you waiting for me to moan about the usual tip collection process so beloved of American companies? Take it as done. It was the usual awkward collection and donation. Yes, the awkwardness is really mine as I can’t reconcile the cost of an expensive trip and guides relying on tips.

Looks like I won’t get this concept sorted but, I also have very mixed feelings after this trip about ever doing another. Well, except for one I’ve got booked later this year with Wild Women.

Some aspects of this trip to Portugal could have been better:  especially some meals and hotels. Also, just being around a large city means you inevitably end up in places with too many other people. The poor quality of advance information and the inept dissemination of basic information. I’m ignoring the daily meetings, best exemplified by the first that was so basic to a group with 10/11 experienced members. Boring and inappropriately pitched. Many other meetings were similarly wasted opportunities. The company I travelled with this time was Adventures in Good Company.

End of trip

Very sad to farewell my 10 fellow walkers, all very impressive and interesting. I’d be very happy to walk with a couple of them again and have said to one to think of me if they need a spare in future for walks she plans.

In order of downloading:

Jodie

Aimee

Doris

Susan

Martha

Emily

Val


Peggy

Amal


Cathie


Jan

And our guides


Annabel, the SUP Wonder Woman


Anne

So, i very much liked meeting, and being with, new people as I’ve realised I get lonely at times as I typically walk alone. I liked going to places I’d probably not otherwise have found but, I didn’t enjoy aspects of group travel as we were too constrained by the lack of confidence of our guides.
Next bit: Jodie and I returned to lovely Madrid. 💕

Madrid

Oh so nice to be back in Madrid, back in such a fascinating city. Yes J and I went to the Retiro, the wonderful central gardens, and to the archeological museum. It’s not true I twisted her arm 🙄. Just looked like it.
We found her favourite lunch place two days running, visited my favourite cafe, Paca, and largely avoided shopping. Not completely though.

Travelling home

Two first world issues on the British Airways leg from Madrid to London: ugh to the so called ‘food’ and; thumbs down to my very handsome neighbour between Madrid and London. He turned on his iPhone or equivalent and played whatever he was listening to. No headset, no airpods, no, he shared the sound.

Unbelievable. I succumbed and asked him to turn it down. I thought of turning on competition. Truly unbelievable, not my childish thoughts of retaliation but his approach. Spoilt brat. Rare to have to call a very handsome man of about 40 a brat.

Rest of trip: uneventful.

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