Day 1 – A head start – Lisbon Cathedral to Sacavem (4 September, 12.5km)

Lisbon Cathedral to Sacavem (4 September, 12.5km)
To help get over jet lag, we got out into the sun and walked… all the way to Sacavem. We accidentally bypassed the train station there and had to ask for help and wander a bit but it wasn’t too bad. In fact, when we got back to the commuter station, there was no open office so we asked around to make sure we were taking the right train. When ours did come, the conductor told us to transfer to the following train at the Orient station. So far, so good. Wait a second.  Why didn’t he take money from us?  We didn’t see him again until he looked out the window at the two of us on the Orient platform. Oops. We took the next train through there to Santa Apolonia and again, no one bothered with us at all. We felt sure that either we had some major explaining to do when we got to Santa Apolonia or we would just be arrested on the spot. Neither happened and we walked out the open exit feeling very cheap.

The trail itself was fairly easy to follow but you really had to keep an eye out for the yellow flechas and blue Fatima arrows. I was “in the zone” though with my eyes keenly searching for the colors close by each other, as they usually are. Sadly though, the car license plates have the exact matching colors as trim so I often caught my eyes wandering.

After returning to Lisbon, we picked up our credencials (pilgrims passports) at the Cathedrail (€2 each) which is open from 10:00am to about 7:30pm.  We also wandered around the Baxia district and had the best octopus dinner ever (Pulpo Portuguese style at the La Petit Cafe just before the Church of Santiago (which bills itself as the real starting point for the Caminho but it wasn’t even open)).

The 12.5km today was not too bad, particularly without our packs. Cobblestone streets and sidewalks were not nearly as bad as what I had expected. They barely bothered us and we would have thought nothing of it if not for the fact that we occasionally were walking on softer and more gentle surfaces such as bitumen.

We’ll start early tomorrow to pack and catch the train to Sacavem to pick up where we left off. I think we’ll try harder to pay our fare this time.

Lisbon’s Se Cathedral, where we bought our credencials and began our walk

And so it begins, at the Lisbon Cathedral steps

In part of Lisbon’s old town, Alfama

Vasco de Gama bridge, near the site of the 1998 Lisbon World Expo

Back in Lisbon’s Baxia district in the evening

Glory days, in Lisbon’s Baxia district