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Blog 196 Lisbon to Benediti

24th April

Whilst it was thrilling to finish the American leg of the ride in New York, having flown to Lisbon, I had an evening away from the bike to ride on the famous Tram 28. It had a stop outside my hostel at St Jordi. Set on a cobblestone street this trendy hostel is a 4-minute walk from city views at the viewpoint of Monte Agudo and 2km from Castelo de S. Jorge and was built in the 11th century. An ex nunnery it now has dormitory accommodation for a few euros. The difference between US culture and here could not have been more marked. On the tram I had to stand for the outward journey but for the return ride I could sit with my head outside the old shuttered windows catching every sound of its wheels clinking on its tracks taking in the smells of a city. It goes on its route through the popular tourist areas of Graca, Alfama, Baixa and Estrela, all beautiful neighbourhoods with steep, narrow streets and sharp curves. 

A Bit of Information

Tram Life in Lisbon

On August 14, 1890, the first cable car went to Lisbon. A track gauge of 900mm was chosen for this. With trams, except for Lisbon, this track gauge only occurs in Linz. The first electric tram line was put into operation on August 31, 1901. The length of the net was 145kms at the peak and there were 419 motor cars and 100 trailers. In the following years, the metro and bus increasingly took over the transport function of the trams and large parts of the tram network were closed.


I rode up the hills picking my way between small roads and bridleways across fields, following the route as shown on my google maps positioned to the cycling icon. My early bicycle travelling necessitated carrying a pannier crammed with maps of all localities but now replaced by the absolute accuracy of my digital route planner. The advent of the smart phone, route applications and the sophistication of geo safety features such as ‘location sharing’ and satellite tracking devices have changed the intrinsic nature of travel. Acts of adventure will always illicit a little awe but exploration has gone to another level allowing anyone to go off piste and follow their own trail and with the positioning of the ‘Google Man’ you already know what awaits them on the other side. 



Coffee time northern outskirts of Lisbon. Phew. I feel I’m home. After the US and the strangeness of life there for me I am beginning to understand my space around me once again. There is noise but it’s calmer. There is time. There is a slowness here that I have missed for so long.


Out of Lisbon by the coast and into villages. My google cycling icon is taking me across fields. There is a locked gate across where I want to go. spring is here in south Portugal and the roadside is slight with yellows and reds, some light blues, lots of green. There are smells of a summer beginning to flare and as I pass I think the land is warming, and quickly. I feel the heat change by the hour. 


Map of the Day


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Invitado
11 may
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Dear Nick. We readers can guess about your thank god coming home feelings. And we are happy with you 🤠👍

Swissralph

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Homeward bound matey

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Contestando a

Well done Tim. Easy one really. Brilliant song!

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🎸I'm sittin' in the railway station, got a ticket for my destination....what's the song Nick? 🎷

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