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Nightmare on Toll Street Portugal.


Published: June 22nd 2017

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We decided to break up the trip from Cadiz to Lisbon with an overnight stop at the seaside town of Lagos. It is a pretty little town where the wind seems to blow a gale most of the time. A really nice intro to Portugal with some great beaches, wonderful old town atmosphere of narrow streets and outdoor restaurants and some coastal geographical features. Oh and a number of almost obligatory Roman fort ruins.

It wasn’t till the following day we found we had gained an hour with not knowing Portugal’s time zone. A quick check on a world globe reveals why this would be although apparently Portugal struggled with this for a while and only settled on the same time zone as the UK in the 1990’s.

Now the drive into Lisbon was fraught with danger and we encountered the lot. Some prior research and we thought we had a good understanding of the toll system and crossing the border and getting into the first tolled leg confirmed this ok. Onward into first stop Lagos no problem.

Next day, we set out on a drive through country roads so as to avoid a 25 Euro toll fee

Streets of Lagos, Portugal 2Streets of Lagos, Portugal 2Streets of Lagos, Portugal 2

Very scenic town with great outdoor restaurants aplenty.

but apparently not fulling understanding the toll system we somehow ended up with a €40 fine. Seems there is more than one toll system and if you thought you had it covered on one pass you are sadly and financially mistaken. Great, then neither of our credit cards would work to pay the fine. Stress levels rising. Then our lovely GPS who we thought we had tamed was directing us to somewhere on the other side of the Tagus River from our destination. Now in a frantically busy city the size of Lisbon this is not trivial and much time was wasted getting back on track. With that sorted we headed to the City to be confronted with a street demonstration of some kind right where the gps wanted us to go and the Police saying we couldn’t. After tricking the GPS we headed around the demonstration and eventually got to the apartment. Something like 2 hours after we were expected. Just saying politely Rob was not in very good mood by this time. What turned this all around and made our day was being shown to this beautiful apartment. We are reasonably centrally located, as long as you are

going downhill. The now highly polished cobbled footpaths are treacherous. You often see people slipping and falling over.

We have eaten (far too many) Portuguese Tarts. It is hard to pick a good one on looks alone but a queue outside a shop is a good indicator. Coconut bread was an interesting choice, not to be eaten everyday as the amount of icing sugar on the top sends alarm bells ringing. After a tour of Sao Jeronimo’s monastery in Belem we headed to the Pasteis de Belem cafe where they pump out great quantities of truly great tarts called Pasteis de Nata or Portugese Tarts. There is seating for 400 in the cafe such is the demand and there is still a queue for tables as well as the take away counter. Locals and tourists alike love these tarts.


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