Day 07: Ola, Portugal. Again.*

Today was a very long day for us, but I’m going to try not to make it a very long day for you. For one thing, I barely took any pictures.

A perk of being the last one to board

A perk of being the last one to board

Alarm bells were ringing at 6:45am, as we needed to get on a 9:25am EasyJet flight back to Lisbon. Because this was now our 3rd time at the Lisbon airport, we felt like it was an old friend. As such, we stopped to have a coffee, and then moved on to a café to have a sandwich before strolling over to the Avis car rental counter to pick up our chariot for the next 15 days. The car we were assigned was a Renault Clio with a GPS, which we quickly named Miss Cleo in a nod to the pioneering infomercial queen.

We told Miss Cleo that we wanted to go to the Sado Estuary Nature Reserve, which was south of Lisbon and along the coast. It was about 2pm at this point. We made it out of Lisbon without any incidents (apparently it is only postage stamp-sized towns where we run into problems), and headed in the right direction.

What happened next is this: we drove all the way to a planned community called Troia (we thought it would be an actual town), located aaalllll the way out at the end of a long peninsula. This is the place VisitPortugal.com had suggested you start when visiting Sado. Tip: don’t. There were a couple hotels, both of which were overpriced, so we pressed on to the coastal town of Sines. Sines is the birth place of none other than Vasco da Gama. Apparently, this fun farm fact is not a tourist draw, as we found kind of a scruffy town with few hotels. Not really the vibe we were searching for.

The Vasco da Gama Bridge, the longest one in Europe! It's over 10 miles (17km) long! Photo taken through windshield..

The Vasco da Gama Bridge, the longest one in Europe! It’s over 10 miles (17km) long! Photo taken through windshield..

We pressed on, stopping in Odemira at a Lidl grocery store because it was now dark out, we were hungry, had to use the bathroom, and were starting to wonder if we’d be sleeping in the car. Going into a grocery store was oddly comforting.  Once fortified, we decided to press on to the very southwestern part of Portugal to a town called Sagres, as we’d called a hotel in our guidebook and they had a room available.

At 9pm we pulled into the hotel, the Meemo Baleeira. We were beat; especially from the past couple hours where we’d been driving through pitch black, twisty, unfamiliar roads. Read: Jim was driving, I was micro-managing.

The hotel was serviceable, as it had a bed where we could sleep horizontally, but it wasn’t the greatest in spite of the fact it is reputedly a bit fancy.  Call me old-fashioned, but I’m never overly-enthusiastic about living with That’s Not My Hair in a hotel room. Whatever, we’d deal with that in the morning, for now, it was lights out.

* Yes, the Azores are technically Portugal, too, but you know what I mean.

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