Cascais which is pronounced Cashkesh apparently and if we hang around here too long we might be cashless. It would appear it’s quite an upmarket town with all the usual high street shops with the accompanying high prices. Only 30 minutes from Lisbon is very popular with the locals too. The wealthy arrived at the end of the 19th century so it gives the town a real taste of grandeur.
We took a guided tour in the Guimares Museum, the guide was a very charming Parisienne lady who now lives in Cashless, I mean Cascais and she had some very poor things to say about Pari these days, particularly the Parisiennes and seemingly tourism in Paris is down by as much as 30 perecent due to a combination of terrorism and in her words not mine “very rude locals” and before you ask NO I did not mention any of my previous meetings with those very people. Anyway she took us on a tour and spent a great deal of time asking us about our adventure and life in Oz etc .. She seemed more interested in that than the tour. Eventually she told us the origins of the house. Originally built by a wealthy Irishman Jorge O Neil. He made his fortune in Tobacco ( probably no good at growing spuds and changed crops). He incorporated little touches of Ireland throughout the house like shamrock cloves on the ceiling and on the mantelpiece, doors etc along with some beautiful Portuguese tiles sourced from convents, public buildings and the like dating back several hundred years. Almost all the early tiles are in blue and white or blue white and yellow. Things must have gone well for him as he built another grand home (picture above) across the water just metres away as a wedding gift for his daughter. But times changed along with his fortunes and he couldn’t blame the Potato famine so he sold it to a Portuguese Count who began adding little homely touches like a bloody huge 500 pipe organ in the lounge room amongst other things. The Count and Countess never had children. The house had lots of bedrooms probably because Mr O’Neil didn’t practice birth control due to Mr Pope frowning on that sort of thing. Anyway the count revamped the place and only kept one bedroom for him and the Countess. Apparently he loved entertaining but didn’t encourage sleepovers. Wise man. Nice tour and some great info on the area from Madame our tour guide.
The male in this pic is doing his damnedest to gain the attention of a very disinterested female Peacock but she didn’t even give him a sideways glance, much less her phone number. The next day the pushies came out and we headed back into town on the best bike path along a cracking surf beach and into the centre of the action. We were the only ones visible on our bikes with helmets on during the whole afternoon. Just when you thought it was only for looks , Amanda reached over to me on the ride back and the wind was starting to blow up, seconds later she was lying prostate with bloody knees, bruised arms and shins and a very hurt ego. So no longer a cycling virgin. It had to happen sooner or later. Fortunately she missed a lamp post as she fell, sontge damage could have been a lot worse! Lucky girl and remember Amanda two hands on the bars at all times and keep wearing those helmets no matter how daft we look.
On our return to Pinot that evening, a very nice chap introduced himself as Andy from Lincolnshire and told us he owned several caravan parks in the UK and on arrival if we decided to stay at any ode them to mention his name to the manager and we would have a very cheap stay. After some great banter I mentioned we had watched a show in Australia about Big Fat Gyspy Weddings and he did he have any staying on his sites in the UK he made a very quick mumble about the show being unfair and not a proper reflection of the travelling community. So now he’s just Andy the Gypsy. His very lovely wife introduced herself and she was lovely and her appearance and chat confirmed my suspicions and they are now Mr & Mrs Pikey to us. I hope Amanda hasn’t given them our blog !lol. Next day we agreed not to cycle or walk due to Amanda having rather tender bits, so we jumped on Grigio and rode the25kms into Lisbon all along the coast. This scooter is proving to be priceless. We rode straight into the central action beside the very busy Praca Do Comercio. We spent hours wandering, (Amanda with her tenders bits and all) wandering around the beautiful city. Whilst the old lovely trams are packed with tourists and locals alike they have introduced Tuk Tuk’s, like the ones in Thailand but much fancier. Whilst they are very practical surely they could find a better option. I’m sure pony and cart would lend a more authentic look…so much for progress.
We dragged the bikes out (at Amanda’s request) get back on the bike and all that and decided to pop down to a beachside cafe for our morning coffee which is now being accompanied every day by a Portuguese tart yum. Coffee and tart consumed we started to head back and Amanda suggested we takes little detour. So after a 12k ride up a very steady climb we reached the most Westerly point overlooking the Atlantic and it was chockers with Portuguese tourists on their May Day public holiday jaunt. Well done Amanda she really did get back on the bike with a vengeance haha. Amanda had mentioned she wanted to visit Sintra which is mentioned in most guides so off we went on Grigio. It was about 27k from base and when we approached the town there were cars in queues slowly snaking there way through the town with not a car parking space in sight. Again Grigio was invaluable as we rode straight through to our first destination which had been given to me by (the navigator) Pena Palace according to Amanda was a must see with stunning grounds and wonderful architecture. All I can say is it was an absolute bloody eyesore of a place. Clearly built by someone with way to much money and an awful eye for building. It looked as though it belonged in Disneyland. The pictures are actually complimentary to this pot ugly building. To be fair the setting was beautiful with fantastic vistas everywhere , so it was nicer looking out from within than in from outwards if you catch my drift. It sits awkwardly in the Beautiful but ridiculously touristy resort town in the foothills of Portugal’s Sintra mountains. The Palaces and over the top homes in this area were built by Royalty and wannabes in a beautiful natural area which isUnesco listed and I honestly wouldn’t have missed it……..and Amanda didn’t make me write that bit
Next morning we were up bright and early for a long walk along the surf beach (pre coffee and Portuguese tart exercise) then decided to take Grigio back up to Cabo de Roco and see it without all the crowds but even then there were still quite a few tourists hoping to do the same as us. Amanda stood patiently by the monument for me to take a pic whilst others did the same. When her moment came she ran to the spot (as always she was thinking of others and wanted to be as quick as possible) and in her haste she slipped on the granite and bruised her shin from top to bottom but being the true pro she is just jumped up and the photo below is the result. Onlookers were very concerned but carried on merrily snapping haha.
To be fair there wasn’t much worth seeing so we jumped(sorry I jumped and Amanda gingerly limped) back onto Grigio and went a couple of k’s North to be rewarded by the beautiful scenery below. Cracking cliffs with secluded beaches. We’ve had some great food on this trip and mostly all local but this week we ended up in an Indian Restaurant in Cascais TWICE it was that good!
Another wonderful week of fun, food and falls ooops. Just as I write this, my brother sent me a message that my nephew Rhys had fell off his dirt bike and broken his leg. Let’s hope that’s the 3rd thing
Get well soon Rhys
Love to all Allen and Amanda x