Awake early enough to see the arrival in Lisbon (Lisboa locally) and a long, very pleasant sail in. The arm/shoulder seemed much better than usual, but would the rigours of the day ahead adversely affect it? With such a late arrival (12 noon) although a little cool first thing, it did warm up later to 31 degrees. Moving from the Med to the Atlantic has seen sea temperatures drop from 27 degrees to 22 degrees overnight. A leisurely breakfast of corned beef hash and poached eggs - but I had to ask for baked beans. Strange, I always associate hash with beans, but they never seem to be on the breakfast buffet at the same time! As always, even the buffet staff are obliging. We met Helen and Katie plus Carmen & Neale in the Atrium after the first rush of passengers had escaped at about 12:20 and we walked about 15 minutes into the depths of town, using a combination of a free terminal map, the ship's issue and a Google map I'd printed out in NZ, as we were heading for "GoCar Tours", Rua dos Douradores - we had booked "GoCars" from NZ for 2pm for 2 hours. Cost as booked was something like 24 Euros for the first hour and 22 Euros afterwards
It was a small one way street with an entrance not much larger than the average double door. Leonel was behind the desk and you couldn't wish for a better reception. He had our bookings sorted; explained the costs; showed us the route options; explained the workings of the cars and issued us with hair protectors and helmets. We nominated Carmen and Neale as lead car and Leonel issued them with a Garmin (TomTom) that was pre-programmed with "home" just in case we got lost.
Each car has its own GPS controlled commentary system and route directions. Setting off in a strange vehicle, in a strange capital city on the 'wrong' side of the road, is daunting to say the least, but Leonel led us down the street to the one way main street, (25 metres), stepped in to the road and waved our convoy through. Helen has never even been out of Australia before, let alone driven on the wrong side of the road! Unfortunately, her car seemed a bit down on power but she followed Neale and we tagged on behind. You realise the state of the roads through the seat of your pants and Lisbon needs to smooth out a fair few potholes, as we crashed our way through the streets, trying to avoid the single rear wheel getting hooked into the tramlines and headed back up the harbour again. A lot of fun, but the constant pressure on the twist grip probably didn't do my right arm much good.
Paula held on to the laminated map (thoughtfully chained to the dash) and kept us up to date as to our location. We had a great ride and even though we couldn't really go much above 40kph, the local traffic was extremely patient and not once did we get any hassle or abuse from them. Maybe they were ogling Katie? We only got of our routed once as the road veered right and we should have turned left, but the mistake was easily corrected and we were soon back on track. Reverse on the GoCars is literally, either lift the rear end around, or push them. We parked for a few minutes near the monument and then headed back to base. Before we left, Leonel showed us on the PC, that there was a square in the town and we were to ignore the No Entry signs, then drive across the pavement and we'd be fine. The commentary was also quite precise so we ended up back at base with no problems at all.
We had booked for two hours but the charging after the first hour was in 15 minute segments, so as we were back in just under 1:45, it was cheaper than quoted. Full marks to "GoCars" and Leonel for great customer service and a unique experience. The company is also in one or two other cities (including San Francisco, Barcelona etc) but we booked through www.gocartours.pt Incidentally, the pics show the bright yellow GoCars. The last car I drove that was that colour, was the one pictured, with 500 horsepowers rather than about 20 and with 33% more wheels... Like Helen, concentrating so hard on the road ahead means that looking at the pics taken by others will be our other set of memories and a big thanks to Neale and Carmen for their brave leadership and to Paula for being aware of where we were at all times .
After that, it was food in a nice local street cafe, where most had toasted sandwiches (how Portuguese is that!) and we shared a couple of litres of Sangria and two plates of delicious French Fries. Neale hopped aside for a cigarette for just two minutes and in that time was offered an illicit substance...
Once again, shame about the graffiti, but a great stop and the ship berthing on the edge of town was ideal. Great sail in and sail away made this one of the best stops of the cruise. Shopping? No idea as we didn't do any and back at the terminal building, the queue for Port at €10 a bottle was quite long, so no doubt, several took advantage. For us, an extremely cheap day.
Why the tug picture? This guy was really enjoying himself. He was doing a water version of donuts, spinning around and blowing the horn. Then he'd nip around the other side of the ship to entertain those on that side. A very enthusiastic farewell from an extremely friendly port.
After the 8pm sailaway, it was getting a little cooler on deck, so for a change, we ate in the buffet and had a very pleasant evening there. Maybe not the best buffet food we have had, but a good evening anyway and we made a distinct impression on Paula's bottle of port – well, Garry did anyway.
With just two busy sea days to look forward to, Paula has already made a start on the packing. Arm much better today, but somehow I think it was only a temporary reprieve.
Email from brother Dave as I asked him to look up a chiropractor for me. "Have found someone who is pretty good with a rubber hammer - at KwikFit exhausts..."