Sunday, January 10, 2010


The 10.10 to Cascais bounced westwards out of Cais do Sodre, past Lego-block bridges, dock buildings and red-brick warehouses. The tracks ran down the middle of a main road, never more than a boundary throw of the river until we reached the 25 de Abril Bridge and the stop for Belém. T. Exterior: 14 scrolled above the exit doors; people were jogging the riverbanks in shorts.

I walked first to the Padrão dos Descobrimentos (Monument to the Discoveries), a prow-shaped slab of concrete with three giant waves cresting above the heads of navigators, missionaries, viceroys and kings. Two men were playing The Sound of Silence on panpipes, someone else was selling scarves from the fold of his arm, another offered three pairs of sunglasses pulled from a jacket pocket. A ferry crossed the Rio Tejo, a plane came in low overhead.

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