A soft click of the apartment door and we stepped into the dim quiet street and the chill of early morning Lisbon. Place de Comercio was still and the 781 was early. We climbed aboard silently and tapped our cards along with the other foggy brained passengers. The newly minted sun sprayed us with golden light as we were tossed and jostled through the rough streets of the city.
Rua Professor Henrique de Barros 11, was an hour by bus. The 781 said ‘Prior Velho Express’ which was reassuring. We would be early. ‘Express’ must mean something else in Portuguese -this was an ‘all stops’ bus. We pushed the button for our stop-Prior Velho. We needn’t have – turns out it was the last stop. We were in the burbs on the edge of a light industrial area.
Across from the bus stop was a tiny Tabac selling coffee, a few pastries, scratchies, wine and beer. There were half a dozen regulars catching up before or after work I’m not sure. The fellow in the shabby dungarees and his mate in the faded high-vis stepped outside to make room for us. We ordered an espresso and a pastel de Nata and stood at the counter as though we had done this a thousand times before. We weren’t fooling anyone.
We were ‘upgraded’ to a seven seater Seat. It was a bit worse for wear but it was comfortable. The drive to Comporta was about an hour and a half and I was very pleased that it was only a few kilometres from the city to get on to the Vasco da Gama Bridge and out of the chaos. The bridge is amazing. It’s seventeen kilometres long and connects the northern and southern parts of Portugal. It was built for the 1998 Lisbon World Expo.
It was good to be on the road again, independent and cruising at our own pace through cork tree plantations and open space.
John had researched Comporta and wanted to see what it was all about. Surrounded by rice paddies and dunes it was a haven for those wishing to escape. Apparently lots of celebrities have domiciles secreted away in the wilds. John has this theory that if those who have more money than God chose a particular location there is probably a reason and it might be worth exploring. He is often right.
Breakfast of coffee, ham and cheese croissants, and fresh orange juice in the garden of the cafe was a nice start. Storks were everywhere and the more aware we became we noticed hundreds of nests built on the struts of the high electrical towers. We noticed people with baskets coming and going from an unlabelled shop. Our curiosity sparked, we went into a dark labyrinthine grocery store? Yes..a grocery store! Next to Harrods I don’t think we have come across better!
It was time for sun, sea, sand and I was not disappointed. It was hot in the sun but cool in the shade. We had an umbrella, two lounges and a beer. What more is there in life. John went for a dip – before me…a first. He returned to tell me the water was incredibly warm. Like a fool I believed him and headed into the waves. It was definitely fresh! Even so it was clean and the waves were gentle and I enjoyed my dip.
Lunch!! One has to eat!!! And why not at a sublime destination. Well, it was called Sublime… Comporta Beach Club. It was nice. The location was sublime, the service was excellent but the food was more …well…subliminal. On the other hand …the price..more …sub..stantial!!! Oh well…live and learn..that one goes through to the keeper!!!