Lisbon is a gem placed on the Atlantic coast – all the famous seamen such as Columbus, Vasco de Gama, Ferdinand Magellan and many others started their journeys from here. Now we can at least unofficially be part of this group. Although our journey will take us via land and towards the eastern hemisphere the duration should be roughly similar – around 4 months until we plan to reach Vladivostok which is on the Russian Pacific coast.
We planned 3 days to visit Lisbon. Not enough, but at least we got a taste of it. It was the first time visit for both of us and we immediately fell in love with the spirit of the city, its colors, its food, the friendliness of the Portuguese and their tasty Pasteis de Nata.
The streets of Lisbon are not for the weak by the way. The steep hills and many steps are very demanding and we can feel our calves hurting already after the first day.
On the other hand the benefit of hills are the many miradores spread all around the city. From there you can catch a lovely view on the panorama of Lisbon and enjoy the sunrise or sunset among the locals. After taking part in a walking tour around the city with Sandemans Free Tours (thanks Ilena for the great tips) we are a bit smarter and know the hidden elevators in public buildings, the metro or large supermarkets. We now can take the shortcuts and learn a new word: Elevadores!
If you are an early bird like us (haha) you can see the sunrise at 06:28. It is worth it.
Check out some streetart and get a nice view over Lisbon by crossing the Tejo via a local Ferry. The 20m ride costs only 3,50 and takes you on the opposite side of the bay.
One thing we love the most is good food, but for our readers’ sake we will refrain from posting a lot of food pictures. Just one tip: eat as much as you can in Lisbon. The fresh seafood is super cheap and super tasty. Especially in the traditional restaurants where they do not have tablecloths and the menu is handwritten every day. As desert or just in between meals you can eat the Pasteis de Nata which are sold in every bakery. The best ones are the original ones in the oldest bakery in Bélem, but the other ones are pretty close to perfecting this recipe as well.
We definitely are in love with Lisbon and next time we wish for more time and a bit more sunshine.
On our way to the most western spot in Europe we decide to make a short stop in Sintra a former summer residence of Portuguese kings. It feels like being in a fairy tale with magic castles, beautiful gardens, hidden grottos and waterfalls. Unfortunately the weather is rather rainy so we need to cut our visit short.
So before we officially start our journey towards east we stop by in Cabos da Roca the officially most western point of the European continent. It is full with tourist buses and people but we manage to take the obligatory photo with the landmark. From here you only can see the ocean and for a long time nothing else.
Before we go we would like to have a moment just for ourselves and decide to climb down to Ursa beach which is just nearby. The sign does not say anything about the complexity of this endeavor so we just go for it, but the steep path is demanding and takes about 45 minutes. After finally reaching the shore we are compensated by a beautiful and empty beach with crystal clear water. A good spot to fulfill one of our tasks given by Janas granddad. He wants us to fill up a bottle of water in the Atlantic and then pour it into the Pacific in Vladivostok. Challenge accepted, so Jana faces the ocean waves and fills up a bottle with fresh Atlantic water.
Now we are ready to go and face the challenge of our journey. We are excited, curious, thirsty for adventure and have a great deal of respect for all that will come. We hope for the best and that we and our car will be safe during the trip. Even now we still can’t believe that we are really doing this. Until the very last minute our imagination cannot handle all the things we are about to experience. To change this, we need to go – so dawai, let’s go. Kolya is already scratching his wheels.
Here’s a short video of our start in Cabo da Roca: