June 20, 2023

Photo Credit: Carol Madigan

   If you travel like me (relax, almost no one does) then arriving somewhere simply means you’re ready to go somewhere else. No city seems to capture the essence of “somewhere else” quite like Lisbon, where somewhere else is only a 30 or 40-minute ferry or local train ride away. Barcelona (Figueres), Madrid (Toledo) and Seville (no clue) all require more or less a full day and a planned out train schedule to accomplish. Lisbon’s somewhere elses are even close enough that you could do two of them in a day, provided your day starts before noon, which ours rarely does.

Carol was leery of taking this on after wine

   And so it was that Carol and I found ourselves on Saturday boarding the 13:15 ferry to Cacilhas, a place where the only thing we knew about it was that it was somewhere else from Lisbon. We disembarked into a nettle of tourist traps that we couldn’t get away fast enough from. That path took us along an old wharf area with a narrow walkway that made Carol a little anxious about falling in. That anxiety only grew as we passed a sidewalk café that had tables strewn out to the very edge of the wharf, where a sudden shift of your chair could land you in the middle of the Tagus River. 

A pleasant enough little town

   It was this ribbon pathway that dissuaded Carol from finding a charming little taverna in the center of the small town located at the top of the public elevator that made the town accessible from the wharf. “I don’t want to drink a bottle of wine, and then have to navigate that narrow walk back to the ferry,” she explained.

“We were able to extend our stay without changing apartments, and now had two extra days to break some more dishes before leaving.”

   That was fine with me, as the town’s narrow streets all seemed more vertical than horizontal anyway. When we returned to the more broadened terra firma near the ferry landing, we stumbled onto the very restaurant that Rick Steves himself had recommended.  Farol de Cacilhas was transitioning from its early lunch trade, and we were able to find a table indoors and out of a pesky wind. The fried shrimp weren’t actually fried, but were plump and tasty, and the white wine was fine and cold. We took the 16:05 ferry back to downtown Lisbon, and found a noisy spot on Pink St. for a Happy Hour glass before calling it a day.

 Instead of drinks with little umbrellas,  a street with little umbrellas 

   There were two somewhere elses on our to-do list, the beach town of Cascais and the everybody’s somewhere else of Sintra. But to fit in both would mean extending our stay here past Monday. Since flying standby requires flexibility in international departures and arrivals, we took a look at Monday’s seat availability and decided Wednesday’s looked better. We were able to extend our stay without changing apartments, and now had two extra days to break some more dishes before leaving.

   But it also meant both Cascais and Sintra were back on the schedule. Both of these somewhere elses had elements that were negative for me. Cascais had sand and Sinatra had steep. But, then again, they were both somewhere else and that’s all that mattered to this pair of intrepid travelers.

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