Nearly Nine

Trip Start Aug 23, 1996
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Portugal  ,
Sunday, July 8, 2007

And then we crossed the border. I looked at Lucy and said, we are now in Portugal, in a French car, which is Spanish registered, my passport is British and my driving license is Australian, I'm all confused, what am I. She looked at me and said it's simple. You are a Fuckwit. And you know what, she is right !!!
The Story
Five days short of nine years ago, we set off in the old Chookmobile, which was our camper if you did not know, from Lisboa, destination Evora. We had read in our 1995 Lonely Planet that it was the most preserved walled city in Portugal, and all we saw was part of the walls and an Ossuary that was impressive. But along the way, whilst Lucy slept, I saw loads of walled cities and for all these years, I've threatened to come back, but never have, well at least until now.
From Merida, it is only 80 odd K's to the border, so we knew it was time to let Portugal back in on the Uncle Davros secret. I was also still carrying that old '95 LP. It don't get any better than that. As usual, we flew, dodging the speed cameras, in fact, there were none in Portugal. And as I was driving, it happened again. Nightmares from nine years previously. There they were again, all these walled cities, and the only response from Lucy was, I don't remember seeing any of these, in fact, all I remember of Portugal was getting blind on Canadian Club !!! Oh I remember that one as well, when she suffered the next day. An elephant never forgets. As she had no idea, I gave her a quick lesson in Portugese. Ola, Sim, Nao, Faz Favor, Obrigado, Fala Ingles, Um, Dois. That was more than enough !!! Once off the motorway, we drove in through the walls, and out the otherside. No point in knowing where you are going, because you always find more when you are lost !!! We parked up, and hit the streets. As Portugal sits on the same time line as the UK, we had gained an hour. Straight to a café for brunch espressos and some Folhados. It was half the price of Spain. I was loving it. It was time to hit the streets and find the Ossuary and the Church of San Francisco that houses it. Inside the church was your usual fare, but there were some pretty scary Jesuses and a Mary with daggers in her chest. Weird. Into the Ossuary we went, and Lucy told me, she had never been here before !!! It's not what I remember, in fact Kutna Hora's in the Czech Republic is far more impressive. I do remember the skeleton hanging down, but not the baby one. I  think I am getting old !!! We left and walked the streets until we came to a Cathedral. It was pretty nice inside, but around the back was the Roman Temple of Diana. I preferred this one to Meridas. It was on top of a hill, and the views were great. You could see the old aqueduct out in the distance. We walked around, just taking the laneways in, when we realised that we really did need to haul ass as we were going to lose an hour. But before we left, I went back to another café for more espressos and a Pastel Nata. So cheap, so Jewish, so good. I could live this life quite easily !!! Once over, we jumped back into the car, drove to a couple of gates and then up to the aqueduct before we left, just for the photos. I wanted evidence that Lucy had been to Portugal at least once in her life !!! It had been good to return or come for the first time as Lucy told me because she believes that a black hole swallowed her up when we were last in Portugal !!!

On the way back, I was moving. Now normally, I never tell Lucy how fast I drive, but with this fucking satnav, it actually tells you how fast you're going, plus we had air conditioning on, so she had a fair idea that we were getting close to empty. The tell tale sign was that I dropped from 170 down to 120, the speed limit to conserve !!! She told me that the satnav said there was a servo in Elvas, and as it passed a couple of walled cities, that we should go. As we arrived, we drove through this huge aqueduct. Across was the servo so we went in to fill up. Now maybe, they don't like French or Spanish here in Portugal, but the diesel pump's nozzle  wouldn't fit in the hole. I just sat it there, on the edge, filling the car up as best I could whilst a couple of locals smoked near me. I didn't blow up, just like in Tunisia, so we parked up across the road to take the photos. It had been built in the 1600's and was around 8 K's long. It was also built up to 31 metres in height. It was no Roman aqueduct but still impressive. It was time to move on. I chucked it in reverse and this huge fuck off lamp post jumped out from nowhere. There was a mighty loud noise. We had no insurance. FUCK IT. We jumped out. Now I don't know if these French cars are built like a brick shithouse, or that these Portuguese lightposts are made of rubber, but there was only a scratch. I gave my pants a quick change as I had shat myself during the exchange, and then we moved on.
And Finally
So that was Portugal, brief again like the last. Yes I am fucking slack, but if the cheap airlines ever gave me a good price on a flight, I would go back at a moments notice. I want to see these walled cities. I promise to you all that I will go back. In fact, Lucy and I have discussed it I will not wait nearly nine years before the next Portuguese adventure takes place. I PROMISE, I HONESTLY DO.


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