We were on a mission. John had to have a new bag. It is very difficult to control a ‘spinner’ with three functioning wheels. The decision was made. Off to Via Catarina, the main shopping centre in Rua de Santa Catarina, which has reproductions of traditional architecture -cute! He didn’t have a great deal of choice as he was being very sensible and chose a basic and inexpensive spinner.
There were a few things that we wanted to do before leaving Porto including a closer look at the famous Luis 1 Bridge and a meal at the Ribera so of course we dropped off the new bag and headed for the bridge. It is an impressive double-deck metal arch bridge over the Douro between Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia. It is 172m and has the metro line and pedestrian lanes on top and carries general traffic on the lower level. We took the metro to the Gaia side and walked back over the bridge, past the incredible Porto Cathedral and down to Ribera for lunch. It would have been about four. We seemed to be doing this a lot- ie having a very late lunch and not worrying about a meal at night.
It was time to move on, leave our fabulous apartment and vibrant city street and head south to Lisboa. We were tired and we stuffed up. We went into Sao Bento station and organised the rail trip. We asked for a ticket from Porto to Lisbon. We were told the main Porto station was at Campanha and that we would change there. He proceeded to issue a ticket to Lisboa Oriente. We didn’t check.
The journey was about three and a half hours and when we got there one of us said, ‘This doesn’t look like the main station.’ Then I looked up and saw, Santa Apolonia, and as the train departed little bells were ringing in my head. Too late! I should have checked my notes. The architecture was impressive. We found out later it was part of the development of the area for the Lisbon Word Expo 1998.
After some serious confusion we finally figured out which bus we needed and were very grateful to the couple we had met the night before, Lara and Michael from SA, who had given us a couple of travel cards. We were an hour’s bus ride from the accommodation. Wow that was a journey! It was a wild ride! I tied the bags together to try to steady them. I thought we had scored the most reckless bus driver but later experiences proved me wrong.
We were late. Didn’t matter. Luis organised to leave the key in an unlocked mailbox and gave us the building code. It was all good.
After dropping off our bags and checking our location from the balcony we decided to explore and discover more about where we were. With Tram 28 stop twenty metres away, Baixa Chiado Metro 100m in the other direction, Praca do Comercio just two minutes walk away and being in a ‘flat’ area, we were thrilled with our location. Lisbon was going to be great!