Two days before we left home on 20 October, a lady from Cunard rang and asked if we wanted to take up the offer of a 5 hour tour for the 3 of us in an adapted vehicle on the 2nd day in Lisbon. It was to start at 8.30am. I told her I knew nothing about it, that it had never been mentioned before, but that we might be interested if it started an hour later. The price seemed reasonable for a 5 hour tour with an English speaking guide.
Agreement was reached on the deal and this Wednesday we were ashore by 9.30am and there, awaiting us, was a large smart wheelchair adapted vehicle with a side lift. We were introduced to Sonia who was to be the driver and Pedro the guide.
The tour that had been planned was first a drive up the coast to Cascais, then across to the Queluz Palace, a tour of the Palace and its grounds and then back to the ship.
Pedro was fantastic. He was fanatical about accessibility and his knowledge of the history of the region, of Portugal and of the World was amazing. And he was able to explain it to us beautifully.
But before I tell you more of the day, let me reminisce. Back in 1967, my father arranged for me to go on a 2 week Cunard cruise on RMS Carmania after graduation. If there were unsold cabins then dependant children were allowed to travel for £2 a day. I was still a dependant child. I see that I talked about this in the blog on 27 January 2022. But I didn’t tell you about Cascais, the place that we were to visit on this tour with Sonia and Pedro.
Back in 1967 after the ship had berthed in Lisbon, a crowd of us decided to catch a train to the beach resort of Cascais. We had a great time on the beach and in the sea on what was a very hot day.
It’s amazing how a place can change in 50+ years. From being a charming small beach resort there is now a massive town and a very small beach. Sadly it was raining this time, but Pedro took me to look at the beach.
There were just two boys braving the rain and a group playing volleyball. Perhaps I won’t be hurrying back there. We had a coffee and then we were off to the Palace.
I will report on the Palace visit shortly.