So finally we arrive at Lisboa. It was a shaky start: we checked in at the campsite and then decided to stock up on groceries before actually parking up in our spot. The trip to the local Jumbo hypermarket was a bloody nightmare. Issues with satnav and then when we arrived, discovering *almost* as we drove in that it was a multi-story carpark and was not great for the 3.4 meter tall mothership. But we got there in the end – there was a hairy route to some oversized parking. It took the rest of the day to calm down. We got a good discount at the campsite as we are staying for two whole weeks!
First impressions of the campsite are: ‘Meh’. It’s the only campsite anywhere near town – so much so that it appears on the tourist maps. This means that it’s quite expensive and it has mixed reviews.
We are well out of season, but there is not really an out of season price. The list price is about 30€ per night but our two week booking brings that down to about 20€ – still more than we have paid elsewhere, but we are close to the city.
Facilities are average, but a hot and *long* shower helps us relax. Bangers and mash in the van also helps restore us too! And it’s planning for the next few days or trips around Lisbon.
It’s out first time with electric hookup for simply ages and it’s odd to have on-demand hot water in the mothership. When we are gas powered, the water only goes on when we know we need it for washing up, showering etc. We do also have the option to make hot water from the engine when we are driving but we nearly always forget to turn it on before we set out. Anyway we have electric so it’s time to get some batteries charged and get the water hot.
There is very heavy rain at night and we are quickly reminded about one of the downsides of ‘van life: when it rains on a campervan/motorhome etc – there is a LOT OF NOISE!
On the first full day we walked up to the local train station and grabbed tickets to the metro – we wanted to get refillable metro tickets as a backstop. Then into the town proper and to the main tourist information to buy our ‘Lisbon explorer’ cards – these last three days and cover many tourist activities such as museums and also the trains, metro, trams, busses and ferries – which makes things painless.
The walk to the train station was long and not pleasant so we next explored the bus network. The bus network in Lisbon was actually very painful – We arranged a trip early doors to the Tourist Information and we got the Metro, Train and Tram maps, but Carris – the bus operator – no longer have a paper bus map. They do have an app, which at first seems great, but – and this is the important bit – it won’t work offline, no map, no route no nuffink unless you are online all the time. Not easy for foreigners running low on data! We found 3rd party public transport apps but they all suffered the same problem. The one thing you need offline is the app and none of them had it.
In the end we did manage to work our way around. Basically we took photos of the route specific bus maps at the bus stops and took screenshots of the bus app while we did have wireless connectivity and pieced it together from there.
In the end we stayed two weeks in Lisbon and made many forays into the town and surrounding area. There are just too many things to do and we could have easily stayed another fortnight, but in the end we started to fret over the schedule – we are three months down and not even three countries down yet so we left on the 24th heading East. The Algarve is to be a casualty of the time pressure!
Here are some choice photos with a little info on the wonderful sights of Lisbon. From here, it’s East back into Spain and down towards Gibraltar.