Friday, 19 June 2015

West coast of Portugal

Like I wrote yesterday, today we wanted to see the west coast of Portugal, so we decided to go to Cascais and Guincho near to the Cabo la Roca, the most western part of Europe (which we did not visit). In the morning we had some troubles with the train ticket because we bought a single ticket to Cascais from Rossio (where we are staying) but we had to find out that there is no train to Cascais from Rossio to Cascais. So we decided to take the Metro. But for some reason the ticket only included the train so we ended up walking to a station 15 minutes away where there is a train to Cascais.


It allowed us to see something more about Lissabon, for example the actually very steep streets (because Lissabon is another city that is called "city of the seven mountains") and the huge amount of fabric or shoes shops. There is surely at least one in every street. I can only guess that portuguese people like to sew their own clothes.




The coast was really stunning. We saw this cute white villages on the hillsides as well as lots of palm trees and really beautiful villas. Since everything here is reachable from Lisbon within an hour, it really looks like the rich people decided it would be better to live there. But we did not come here for the villas but for the beach and we shortly found out that the beaches that were reachable with the train were completely crowded and did not look comfortable at all. So we went from Cascais, the final station of the train, to Guincho.



The landscape was really different there, sometimes it looked like the desert is slowly consuming the area.
But there we found a beautiful beach we could relax. Unfortunately they did not have any shadow to hide from the sun so we were not able to stay too long because we did not want to turn fully lobster.


First I was wondering why noone was swimming in the sea and I had the theory that it was just too cold. But then we decided to go swimming and I found out that it was not only really cold but also the tide was really strong. We were not even standing in the water and we got wet all over when a strong tide came. This is why normally only surfers come here. But the nature around here was so beautiful so it was totally worth it! Also, the Camino the Santiago is passing here so I am already making plans on doing my own Camino the Santiago on the Coast of Portugal. I already really like this country and I am sure I will come back (which I don't say about every country).


Everywhere they have this tiles. On the wall - inside and outside -, on the floor, and even on the street signs. This is really something special and I like it, even when I normally don't like tiles.

Another interesting aspect was some kind of "social study" we did on our way back to the train station. Directly in front of a hotel there was a roundabout and for some reason there was a car parking at a place which made it impossible for the bus to pass. Therefore the bus got stuck in the roundabout and had to wait until the car driver showed up and parked the car somewhere else (which happened pretty quick - after about 10 minutes). When I think of Austria, I am pretty sure all the cars coming behind the bus would have stayed behind and the drivers would have gotten pretty mad and would have complained a lot. Not so in Portugal. When the first car behind the bus realised that the bus could not move, he just took the other way around the roundabout and drove away. Same happened for nearly all the other cars coming along behind the bus.

But then some car from the driving school approached and of course there was a pupil in there learning how to drive. The driving teacher was really unsure what to do and after some time waiting got out of the car and asked the bus driver what was wrong. The bus driver told her to just go around at the other side of the roundabout, which was something a driving teacher can't tell her pupil. So in the end they changed places so the driving teacher would drive the car to go around. It was really amusing for us to watch the scene. And just in the moment they changed the places, the car that was blocking the bus moved and we could go on. We just caught a glimpse of the driving school car when both of the drivers got out again and the pupil could drive again. Really amusing.

I thing, that is the reason why people in the south are just happier people. Because if there is a problem they think of the easiest solution to solve it without complaining all the time and acting strictly according to the rules. And I also think that life would be a lot easier in Austria, if we wouldn't take our rules so seriously. I know, we are better than the Germans but we still have this state of mind where we just don't think of easy solutions because we just want to complain and make politics to make better rules so we would be satisfied.

Everytime I am in a country like this, I realise our madness about rules and complaining and I always start to question why we have this situation - It is like nobody wants to take responsibility and think on his own but wants to be leaded by the rules or at least make others be leaded by rules. But maybe, just maybe, sometimes it would be better to give back responsibility for everyones actions and make people decide on their own which would be best in this situation and how to save the situation. It actually makes me kind of sad of our country because we don't realise how strange it is to complain without intending to change something on your own. Truth is, the only thing you can really change is yourself.

And that was what the portuguese people were doing. They surely weren't happy about the situation being stuck behind a bus. But they saw that there is another side of the roundabout going back to the same street they were heading so they had a look if there was traffic coming from the other side. When they saw there was no traffic, they just took the other way, the problem was solved and there was no need to complain. Surely, you can tell the driver of the car blocking the roundabout that it was bad and make him pay a fine but it will probably happen again - not because some car drivers want to harm you but maybe they are just desperate because there is no parking space and you can't just dump all the responsibility for bad situations on someone. Maybe it is your own responsibility to do something about it so it won't be a bad situation at all. And that is what is really missing in our culture. And that is why I already feel really comfortable in Portugal.

 
And this is the sight out of our room in the hostel - we are really central. :)