19 August 2006: This is the day where we will leave Lisbon. While we charge our things on the motorcycles, the likeable householder greets us with a cordiality that me makes feel as if I am his child! I begin to believe, that it can be accidental the discomfort that we had suffered 2 days ago, in order to meet and know this person, a figure that will be connected with the memories from Portugal!
We begin, therefore, following the coastal way that leads to Estoril, acquaintance to many from the F1 racing and MotoGP. We choose to cover 20-30km before we direct ourselves to the north, since this region that is found so much near in the Portuguese capital presents a lot of interest! Driving on a beautiful route we reach in the known seasonal centre of Estoril. It constitutes one of the most famous destinations of posh people in Portugal that, however, the last years has been putted in the shade by the neighbouring Cascais. Nevertheless, we find an appreciable beach next to which exist many golf fields.
Passing from Estoril, directed to the Cape Roca, we find Cascais town. The beautiful this former fish village, with the passage of years, has been changed in a beautiful tourist resort. The reason constituted the wish of the Portugal’s king to select it as a destination for his aestival interruptions, certain years before. If it happens you find yourselves in this village, try to wander in the paved atmospheric alleys that are found in its centre.
We continue to Cape Roca, abstaining only few kilometres from the westerner point of Europe! Shortly we found ourselves in front of a rocky and steep beach that is named "the mouth of Hell" and indeed is for those that happened to be in the particular point with a ship! In the particular rocks they stop impetuous waves, while have been created caves and openings in which the passage of water, creates an impressive sight.
We leave Cape Roca village and we follow a Northeast course, to Sintra town that is built on the northern slopes of the mountain range Serra de Sintra. As long as we go up hypsometrically the landscape it becomes continuously better, while the vegetation more intense! The road is narrow but of good quality, making the driving enjoyable. The Sintra town impresses us from the first moment. It is not strange that was selected for many years as the place for summer vacations of Portuguese kings. The view is impressive and the vegetation dense!
Driving towards North .Portugal we continue to follow this splendid helical way inside a verdurous landscape, meeting amazing graphic villages like the Colores village, where we manage to resist in the temptation to stop, knowing that time is pressing us to continue. Our next destination is the quiet city Mafra. The enormous bizarre fabrication of Palacio Nacional de Mafra, pulls immediately the attention. Very impressive!
Leaving, outside from the Mafra town, we find a node of cars that accompany a marriage... we press our horns giving our wishes in the pair with our own way! Despite the many turns, we were not tired since the landscape compensates us. We then find Torres Vedras and via a provincial street (N115) the Maxial, Cadavais and Cercal and from there and afterwards we move in the national street N1 to Leira and Coimbra, giving us the possibility of increasing our rhythms and cover enough kilometres.
Later on and after driving for 58km. to the provincial IC2, we reach in the nice Coimbra. It is one of well-known student cities of Portugal, since it haves one of the oldest universities of Europe! In the Coimbra we have arrange a meeting with a Ploumistis colleague, Bruno, who lives permanently there. Following the plates for the centre, we reach in the square Praca 8 de Maio, where we find Bruno. There we found the change, drinking a coffee in the cafeteria that occupies the part of temple Santa Cruz, to discuss for our travel, but also to be informed for some historical and architectural sight. Before he leaves - since it has left from a marriage in order to meet us – he made a small conducted tour in the temple Santa Cruz that is dated from 1131 and in which is found the grave of the Portugal’s 1st king. We thank Him for his time and we promised him that we will return some moment in his beautiful homeland, so that we explore it in more extent.
Before we leave the Coimbra town - and with Bruno’s recommendation - we visit the Campus, that it is also one of the basic sights the city. Built in the top of a hill, it provides unlimited and panoramic view of the city and of the region. The faculties’ buildings are well preserved and clean, while in the space of the Universidade de Coimbra exists a museum with appreciable exhibits. It deserves to be reported that we found ancient Greek statues and Greek signs which decorate the academic buildings.
We leave from the Coimbra with destination Porto, following the national-provincial road IC2 and IC1, meeting a lot of appreciable landscapes next to the route. Late the afternoon we enter in the Porto and we follow the plates for the centre up to that we reach in the central square Praca General Humberto Delgado. Around the particular square some economic lodgings exist. Most of them are entertained in blocks of flats and do not allocate parking. After a small search we lead to the Residencial Paulista (Avenida Dos Aliados, 214-2) – double bedroom price 50euros - exactly on the square. We arrange our things, we front lock the machines in the pavement from the hotel and advance southern, with direction to the region Ribeira.
Ribeira is the riparian region of Porto. It is composed from paved alleys, traditional houses and boats tied up in the jetty that today constitutes an advertising role. Despite the existence of posh restaurants, it still maintains a decadent character. We stopped in a restaurant to try the local kitchen and en constantly we wandered in the full of people alleys, realising that the region constitutes also the centre of the nightly life. The tiredness does not leave us many margins for roaming; therefore we take the road back to the hotel...