SETUBAL AND SERRA DA ARRABIDA -- PORTUGAL 2018
On 3rd July 2018 Riccardo (Dr Riccardo Salvatore) and I had a visit to Setubal and Serra da Arrrbida. We started at about 10.00 o’clock in the morning and picked up Anna, a well known lawyer in Portugal, on the way.
We went over the Tagus River which runs through Lisbon city by the Vasco da Gama Bridge, or Ponte Vasco da Gama in Portuguese, on the east side of the city. With a length of 12.3 km, it is the second longest bridge in Europe.
Setubal, about 50 km from Lisbon, is a small beautiful city with a fishing harbor and the biggest fish market in Portugal. Riccardo told me that the most famous fish in Setubal was sardines. I have been to Setubal a few times, but it is always lovely to visit this beautiful small city again.
As we entered the small city from the highway, we could see many boats at the harbor on our left. Many years ago I took a boat from Setubal to cross a large stretch of water to Troia Peninsula. There were some impressive hotels at the jetty, but beyond that was a long stretch of road with the Atlantic Ocean on the right side and what I thought was an inland sea on the left side, much like La Manga in southern Spain.
In this trip, there was not enough time to visit Troia Peninsula, or to wander in the historic centre of narrow alleys behind the main road. Some years ago Riccardo took me to Setubal and we went through some narrow alleys.
We went along the main road with a beautiful park in the middle separating both sides of the road. We went to a lovely restaurant to have lunch overlooking what I taught was the Atlantic Ocean across Troia Peninsula. But Riccardo told me that it was actually the mouth of Sado River. I was much puzzled, for right in front of me looked very much like a sea, the Atlantic Ocean.
“Where actually is the Sado River?” I asked.
“It flows behind the Troia Peninsula and meet the ocean at Setubal,” Riccardo answered.
“I’m quite sure if you taste the water, it’s salty,” I added.
We then drove to the beaches of Setubal. I could recognize that the beach with a lot of attap shelters was the one that Riccardo, Anna and I went to about 20 years ago. We then went to another beach, but the road along the beach was blocked, so we had to turn back. But we stopped for a while to admire the crowd enjoying themselves at the beach.
We then went up the mountain of Serra Arrabida. It was splendid driving up the mountain with the ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, on our left and a forest on our right. Riccardo stopped his car at some clearings to let me have a good view of the ocean and to take some video.
Soon we came to the highest point of the mountain along the road on a ridge where we could see the coast on one side and Lisbon on the other side, both far below. We went down the winding road and found a settlement, probably Sesimbra, which is a tourist attraction in Portugal where Riccardo took me to visit some years ago, and then a majestic convent amidst some vegetation. There were also some little round shelters where I believed monks or nuns in the past used to meditate.
We then came down the mountain to level ground. We turned to a little village where Anna has her holiday resort, but she did not have the key at that time. We took a peep at the resort amidst some canopied trees.
Then we turned back to Lisbon. We started our journey over the Vasco da Gama Bridge but returned to the city via the 25th April Bridge. The 25th April Bridge nearer the Atlantic Ocean is much shorter than the Vasco da Gama Bridge at the Tagus estuary. I returned to my hotel at about 5.00 o’clock in the afternoon, to be ready for the “Merging with the Cosmos” course.
Wong Kiew Kit
5th July 2018
Anna and Grandmaster Wong at a Setubal beach
Travels in Portugal