Portugal - Part 2

Friday, June 12, 2009

Getting a bit itchy from the absence of washing, we headed north and inland to the historic town of Evora. After finding the campsite, we ventured into the town centre to see the ancient and well preserved roman temple, and a rather bizarre chapel who's interior is constructed of human bones. (Reminiscent of the Catacombs we visited in Paris). We didn't take any photos, because entry cost more if you wanted to.

After Evora, we jumped on the motorway straight to Lisbon, the largest city in Portugal. The stress of driving into a city this side reminded us one of the reasons we haven't visited many of the big centres. Despite being expensive and complicated, the hustle and bustle is a bit of an assault after living simply in such beautiful environments for so long.

Bucaco Forest, Portugal
Dani checking out the best view in Lisbon, from an ancient castle on the hill.

With only one afternoon in Lisbon (at 20euro a night, the camping was too expensive to stay more!) we dispatched a few of the must see sights, and found a cosy little restaurant for dinner. Lisbon is a vibrant, historical city and we barely scratched the surface. I think we might need to come back with more money one day...

Lisbon, Portugal
Some of the beautiful stone walls and doorways in the castle.

We went in search of some climbing near Lisbon on limestone sea-cliffs, but discovered they were rather small and it was pretty windy, so we continued driving north around the coast to Cabo de Roca, Europes Western-most point. After braving the gale, we jumped back in the car and kept driving North, and found a brilliant free camping spot just by chance, with incredible views over the plains to the coast. Dani created an incredible dinner which set new standards for camp cuisine.

Another mint free camping spot, somewhere north of Lisbon in the middle of no-where!

Camp Cuisine...
Camp-cuisine reaches new heights. Pork with orange braised carrots on a bed of crushed garlic potatos... Mmm.

The next day we drove to a tiny town called Redinha, where we hoped to find to find some of Portugal's sport climbing. Upon arriving we discovered a tiny crag that perhaps reached 12meters at its highest, and looked nasty to climb. That combined with Dani's recurring stomach bug, we opted to keep moving, and drove onto the Bucaco Forest, near Coimbra.

The Cold Fountain, Bucaco Forest, Portugal
The Cold Fountain in the Bucaco Forest, near Coimbra. This fountain springs from a fountain near the top of the stairs.

Bucaco Forest, Portugal
A typical scene in the forest. Lush vegetation everywhere - soothing for the camping soul.

The Bucaco Forest was created as a monastery in the 1600's. It's a walled in reserve which has been planted in hundreds or Portuguese species, and foreign introduced species from places as far as Japan and the pacific islands. It also features an incredible palace in the middle, which now serves as a hotel and restaurant. It was a peaceful place to hang out for a couple of days, and we again managed to find a really great free camping spot which helped keep the budget down, and improve our enjoyment.

Busacco Palace, Portugal
The palace that sits bang in the middle of the Forest.

From here, we departed Portugal for the other end of the Iberian Peninsula - Rodellar, Spain.


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