25 & 26 March 2018
Cape Town International Airport – ready for the Portuguese Camino!
After a comfortable flight with Iberian Airlines we arrived safely in Madrid. This time our backpacks were carry-on luggage which gave us peace of mind that nothing will stay behind (as it happened with our bigger backpacks last year on our first Camino in Spain).
Note: Learn from previous experiences … make sure your backpack stays with you at all times (and that means on the plane as well!)
Our flight arrived in the early morning hours at Barajas Airport in Madrid – it almost felt as if it was just yesterday that we were here with our first Camino … not knowing that we will be here again in exactly one year’s time! Everything seems so familiar and we spent time drinking coffee while waiting for our connecting flight to Lisbon.
We arrived in Lisbon at around lunchtime. Now, once again, we were in a foreign country … time to embrace this new experience! Within minutes Berto familiarise himself with the Lisbon Metro and we found ourselves quickly on our way to the Rossio Station. From here, it was only a 10 minute walk to our hostel, ‘This is Lisbon’.
Accommodation – Lisbon:
Entrance to our hostel for 2 nights – ‘This is Lisbon’
We decided to stay in comfortable style for the first two nights. Our hostel, This is Lisbon, was exactly that – a beautiful double room with en-suite bathroom. There is a stunning view over Lisbon from the terrace and their staff is friendly and helpful. We can really recommend this hostel if you want to start your Portuguese Camino from Lisbon.
Late evening view from the terrace of our hostel
Lisbon is such a beautiful old city! We walked through the ancient streets and also visited the view points at the Castelo Sao Jorge. The weather was cool, but at least the sun was shining and we thoroughly enjoyed walking around and exploring Lisbon. We were however cautious not to walk around too much, because we will do a lot of walking in the coming weeks!
The view points from Castelo Sao Jorge – a glimpse of what we could expect during the next couple of weeks
We also found an open air market near Station Rossio and had our first taste of Portuguese Sangria, that was really good!
Portuguese Sangria – the taste of Portugal was inspiring for our Camino ahead!
At a ‘supermercado’ we bought bread rolls, cheese, cold meat and a bottle of red wine to celebrate our arrival in Lisbon for our second Camino … not something we foresee a year ago! We felt really blessed to be here!
We met Linda from Montana (Canada) in our hostel. She was on her way back to Canada after she finished her Camino. A few weeks ago, she started the Portuguese Camino from Lisbon, but after her first day, she had such bad torrential rain and strong winds, that she decided to rather take the train to Redondela in Spain from where she walked the last 90km to Santiago. She mentioned that she did not see any other pilgrims on her first day and felt quite alone. She warned us that this might be the same for us. At least we have each other … and sometimes, being alone is just what you need, to find what you are looking for.
Today will be the last day that we will be tourists on our journey (that is until we arrive in Porto) and we decided to take the hop-on-hop-off bus to explore Lisbon further.
The city of Lisbon as seen from the hop-on-hop-off bus
Friends of us, who previously visited Portugal, told us about the delicacy Pastel de Nata (a Portuguese custard tart). Back in South Africa we have almost the same tart, called ‘melktert’ (milk tart) and I love the taste and texture of this tart. I was looking forward tasting the Portuguese version! We found a bakery filled with Pastel de Natas and we bought not one, but four of these sweet treats! I discovered that this is very similar to the South African ‘melktert’ … which made me think that I will eat a couple more of these on our Camino!
Pastel de Nata – a delicious Portuguese custard tart
We re-visited the open air market of yesterday where we had something to eat and drink. At a ‘supermercado’ we bought some snacks for our first day on the Camino tomorrow, as well as ingredients for a pasta that Berto prepared later that evening – carbo loading for our first day on the Camino tomorrow!
While we enjoyed dinner, a big group of French students arrived and 3 guys entered the hostel’s kitchen, asking what smelled so nice. We offered them the left over pasta (which they really enjoyed). It reminded me why I’m so privileged to have my husband with me – he’s not just my hiking companion, but also the chef on this journey!
Berto preparing pasta at our hostel
At 22:00 we went to bed. Our backpacks were packed and we were super excited and ready for our second Camino!
Click here to start reading about Day 1 …