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World Trip 2011

Lisbon and Ericeira, Portugal

PORTUGAL | Saturday, 3 December 2011 | Views [976]

It was just another sunrise as the train pulled in to Lisbon train station in Portugal. Tired and only a little irritable but we had things to do and friends to see. However, our friends Henrique and Verena were at work so we had an entire day to experience Lisbon before they picked us up. We met Henrique and Verena in Las Flores, El Salvador where we stayed in a super basic palapa right on the beach. We got sick waves down there and spent many good sessions sharing the waves with them a few months prior.  Anyway, we left the station after stashing our backpacks and cruised to Sao Jorge castle that sits on top of the hill overlooking Lisbon city. The castle dates back to the 2nd century and Roman, Suebic, Visigothic, and Moorish settlers lived where the castle now stands but more recently it was used as a military structure. We continued our tourist trail by heading down into the city where midsized apartment blocks stand above cafe owners setting up their shops for the day. It certainly has an old feel as Lisbon has been a trading route through Northern Africa for many years. These trading routes bring up the famous Moroccan hash that is so prevalent through southern Portugal and being young (ish) backpackers we were offered it and other things quite frequently. We jumped on the tram and headed down to the Belem area. Once there we found the Belem Tower and the Jeronimos Monastery which was nice but to be honest, all the churches are starting to look the same by now. Walking along the water front we were impressed by the scene but it was hard to ignore the ugly industrial buildings and ports that contrast the vista. We spent the afternoon laying on the grass in the botanical gardens. We were so tired from the previous night that it was awesome. After that we got some food and a waterfront restaurant, which sounds like it would be expensive but Portugal is so much cheaper than a lot of parts of Europe so we ate and drank without a conscience.

Henrique picked us up from the metro station and drove us out to his house in Ericeira which is about 30 minutes north of Lisbon. Ericeira is a surf town and rightly so as it has some really good point breaks and beach breaks. After a nice sleep in, we went and surfed two point breaks around the Ribamar area.  Both were clean, fun and crowded but the crowd were quite mellow so I got my share of good waves. We also checked out the new skate park that adjoins the Quiksilver surf shop. That night we went to a local seafood restaurant with Henrique, Verena and some friends of theirs. Being a coastal town, Ericeira is renowned for its seafood and we dined on Octopus and fresh fish. The next day we went and surfed Ribamar again and because it was a little smaller Danielle paddled out for a couple. It was a good scene down at the beach with Henrique who was a local celebrity and seemed to know everyone at the beach. The sun setting, waves coming in, kids playing on the beach, beautiful. That night we kept a low profile so that I could get up early and grab a couple of waves in the morning before our flight back to London. The next morning didn’t disappoint as Coxos, which is reportedly one of the best waves in Portugal was big, clean, powerful and had no one out. I was the first one to paddle out and I definitely was a little nervous as I watched from the rocks as booming sets came in. I had never surfed it before and there were strong currents running. I paddled out and managed to get three really good waves before I had to run for the bus that was to take us to the airport. It was a short surf but worth it. So now it’s back to London for a few days before jumping back on the Eurostar to start our chalet jobs in St Martin de Belleville, France. The dream continues...

Tags: belem tower, coxos, lisbon, ribamar, sao jorge castle

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