17-18 August 2006: With difficulty we open our eyes at 11am and this because in our brain hangs around the change of oils. It is something that it we should arrange quickly without fail and perhaps something that we should have already done. A friend from Athens has sent to me certain addresses for shops of Yamaha in the Lisbon. Initially, I thought we change our machine oils anywhere we find, but afterwards I considered that it would be better to be an authorized Yamaha shop, since we have made enough kilometres and have heckle enough the motorcycles. Perhaps, therefore, it is time for a service check...
We begin selecting the addresses that are found more near by the point where we are. At the first choice we were unlucky, because the shop changed address while the second is not a garage anymore. The positive thing there is that the householder of the place tells us, that his employee goes to the garage with which he collaborates also, therefore show willingness to take us up to there. After 10 minutes and little search, we found ourselves in the door of garage. For our good chance, a young employee speaks English - the mechanic not a word - and we communicate for what we want and we arrange an appointment for the next day at 9am.
We leave from the garage; enough eased and direct in the harbour in the region of Alfama. In the street we meet small restaurants that remind respectively the ones in Omonoia in Athems and of Metaxurgio. It is the most graphic and humble neighbourhood with tightened old houses in the balconies of which fits only one person! The alleys between the houses are very narrow and the motorcycles cannot even pass! We stop in a restaurant in order to eat something and drink coffee.
After we finish we return in the guesthouse in order to leave the machines and go to the centre. For our first contact - rather second - with the centre we prefer to wander on foot than to have the stress for where to park. Moreover, the distance is relatively close for the square Praca de Figueira and the Square Dom Pedro IV that make up the centre of Rossio and the point that you can begin the wandering for the Baixa, Chiado and Bairro Alto. These Regions we saw them the previous evening in our effort to find a hotel. The region is not so good, nevertheless does not give you the sense that you are in danger. Anyway we reach in the central square that rests the statue of king Dom Pedro IV.
The weather is not so good and the first drops begin to fall, that compel us to seat in one from the coffee shops found on the street. Finally, however, we do not stay since the waiter delays to takes an order. We move to the elevator Elevador de Santa Justa, in which many people are waiting patiently in order to go up so that they enjoy the view. I do not have the courage to wait in such an hour...
Following the narrow alleys to Chiado, we pass from commercial pedestrian streets full of people and we reach in a street with many posh coffee shops one of which was the favourite place of a famous poet of Portugal. Because it is full, we seat in one little further. The coffee and the croissant with chocolate are very good, as, also, as very good is the service of the polite Portuguese employees. I do not know, but the people have made terrible impression to me with their politeness and their grin!
The hour has passed 7pm. when we leave with a view to find a restaurant or a bar in the Bairro Alto in order to listen to Fado music. What is this music: It is a type of sorrowful music that, as we read, in the most shops that it is played; they have shaped an atmospheric environment. Personally I do not believe that I have heard Fado music before. I consider that it is a good change to listen to it now we are to its birth palce. With guide the tourist book that we have we move ourselves in the alleys seeking an economic bar. In some moment we were found in front from a restaurant bar that the barker - a well dressed old man- says to us to look inside since the prices here are cheap. Anyway we finally entered and since I have not eaten, we decided to eat here and listen to Fado music.
The shop is small and also the tables. Attached one to the other you found your selve seat attached with unknown people, however, we near to the dance floor! We order and in a little time are food was there, while the program started. First, I cannot say that the environment is so atmospheric, since you can hear discussions from the customers but mostly the frying pans, the dishes and the forks from the cooker that is found, almost, in the same space. In any case the food is enough good!
Regarding the musicians: There is a guitar player and another stringed instrument that resembles with Cretan lyre which is hold as a guitar. The singer is one old man - somehow - with characteristic myopia glasses wearing a suit. Observing him better, you can realise that the person has terrible squint in point not to understand where it looks at. Nevertheless, he is good and makes also his jokes. He sings 3-4 songs and his place take a blond woman, prolific lady dressed in blacks, giving a more characteristic style for this type of music. The strange thing is that this lady, works in the restaurant as a waitress.
Her voice is really impressive, since certain times she sings so natural without microphones and instruments. Hardly it finishes her place takes a younger girl who- to tell you the truth- in the beginning I believed that she is waiter! Now I realise that she is a waiter - singer! For her I can say that she is very good and perhaps better than those that we heard up to now... The last lady that she sang was the cleaner of the place who sang 2 songs! Wearing her uniform seats next to orchestra and sings.
In regards to music fado I can say that it is not a rhythm that I do not have listened before. It reminds me a lot certain old Greek songs that you can hear in old black-white Greek films, but also from certain classic artists of newer musical Greek scene. I cannot understand the verse, but from the few words I understand I can imagine that it speaks for deaths of persons and lost loves. The rhythm to me did not appear more sorrowful, from correspondingly certain Greek songs. What I realise is that for the locals these songs are sorrowful in point of teardrops... since a girl, that seats in the opposite table, cries a lot! Personally, I cannot say that this music made me feel unhappy. After the first part, they made a break and they came back for the second program, were more local people remained creating a different, in advance, climate. Of course the program is better and more atmospheric!!!
The hour has passed and we are suppose we wake up early in order that in 9pm to be outside the garage. We return on foot, wandering for a while in the alleys which are full in all sorts of bars, and also many people walks in pedestrian streets. I wonder how we accomplished to drive in them the previous evening! Nevertheless, it is very beautiful, but the tiredness does not allow us to remain, there for a drink.
I open my eyes at 8am. Because of our appointment in the garage, it is a good occasion to wake up early and to have the rest of the day in front us in order to wander in the city. At 9pm we are in front in the closed garage door. After a while the engineer comes and, in one hour they are ready, doing also a small electronic check to our motorcycles. After a while the young employee comes, and we had the change to say some things for our travel and they asked us information about Greece. The oils cost 28 Euros + VAT and the work 5 euros + VAT, while the electronic control and the fertilization of chain was free. We thank them and we leave for the region Alfama in order to drink a coffee.
Further down from the War Museum, exists a small square with small and frugally cafe. We seat in one of them while we find the change to decide for what we will visit today. Fortunately the weather is very good. We select, therefore, to visit the region Belem that is found stretched out at the length of Tagus river bank, which at the past constituted the point of where the travels for new Discoveries used to start. Following the coastal road we pass under the impressive bridge "Vasco da Gama" - which we crossed when we entered in Lisbon -, while little below we meet the Monument of Discoveries, which represents all the Portuguese explorers and sea travellers! We end up to the tower Torre de Belem.
The Torre de Belem is, perhaps, the most photographed sight in Lisbon, that its manufacture was intended for the protection of the city’s harbour. It is about an octagonal fabrication - in a mix of gothic, Byzantine and Manuelino rhythm – and recalls the tower piece from the chess game! Paying the compensation of 5 Euros in the entry and having enough patience you can go up the floors via one very narrow ladder, with abruptly small steps, so as to enjoy the magnificent panoramic view! We go up to the last floor and were rewarded for our patience... When the time comes to go down, they have begun to enter in my brain "madness" ideas to jump from the walls of the tower since many people want to use this narrow ladder and go up!!!
Our Next destination is the temple Saint Geronimo. We select to make a stop in a small cafeteria that is found next, while with surprise I realise that the employee of the cafeteria knows enough Greek... remnants of "Greek landing of" Euro2005!!! Moving with ease in the Portuguese urban streets, we reach in the Temple of Ieronimiton, which is only 1000m away. At this monastery are found buried many of the members of royal family. By entering the temple, we see the graves of 2 important persons of the country: Vasco da Gama and Luis de Camoes - the Homer of Portugal.
We leave the region Belem and we move to the Castelo de Sao Jorge (Castle of Ag. George) that is located to the highest point of Alfama region. We follow an abrupt but short ascent route from the Largo of das Door Sol, via the Travessa de Santa Luzia and reach in the stone gate of castle. Once more, we find in a big queue at the ticket office... therefore, we take some thieves glances of the panoramic view of city, while we begin a walk on foot round the castle discovering a lot of interesting houses, alleys but also some points that offer an amazing view!We end up eating in a likeable restaurant opposite from the Cathedral de Se. The Portuguese kitchen has a lot of common elements with Greek, while the prices are of course lower.
Having, henceforth, getting dark we return in the hotel. There we have the change to discuss for little while with the householder, which bids us with a big cordiality. We take a commemorative photograph and we promised him to send it when we return in Greece. Once more it was confirmed our ascertainment for the kindness and friendship that characterizes the Portuguese people...