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J57 - Saturday, December 12: Exit from de Serra da Villa (south of Torres Vedras) – Lisbon: Tower of Belèm

61.54km – 8H36’
Altitude 3m

It was a short day as far as kilometers are concerned but it was dense.  There were bumps and more bumps for Serge, increased attention by the support crew and a reconnaissance full of U turns.  Crossing big cities is not easy, especially with the twists in the roads and highways.   I am repeating myself at the risk of boring you but so you will understand that Lisbon is not the city where we can go into the old quarters that give the charm to this capital.  Not that we are uninterested but the object of our crossing won’t let us:To run after the kilometers, to run after the hours that file by and the time that passes, and to move ahead each day no matter what, without respite, ever.
Serge arrives in beautiful sunshine, the morning’s wind has fallen, and the early afternoon’s veil of clouds has evaporated.
After Queluz, we reach the coast and the Tower of Belem by way of Linha-Vera and Algès.  Access to the sea front is here and for several kilometers obstructed by the railroad that runs along Avenue da Brasilia, on the sea side and Avenue de India on the side of the city.  Serge has to take the foot bridge which leads to the tower.  For 6 km there are 4 foot bridges and 3 vehicle bridges which are not for pedestrians.  We have to calculate everything to get it right and reaching the Tower of Belem on foot can’t be improvised.
At Algès, a runner who participated in the Lisbon Marathon last week gives Serge encouragement.
To reach Lisbon, or Lisboa in Portuguese, by way of an entrance at the mouth of the Tage, couldn’t be better.  Strollers, not hordes of tourists in this season, take advantage of the mild winter weather.
The team took at least 30 minutes for photos and Philippe filmed some; the time to see:
•    The Tower itself was built in the XVI century in the middle of the Tage, to guard the entrance to the city, because by this waterway, caravels and galleons arrived carrying gold and spices.  The position of the tower on the bank seems to be the result of an earthquake.
•    The Monument to Discoveries, which symbolizes the great era of the country’s adventurous navigators who left for the conquest of the New World.
•    The impressive April 25 Bridge, inaugurated in 1966, with a length of 2278 meters and gives concrete form to the breadth of the river.
At 7:00 PM our trio (the “Dupondt” and I) take to the road to find the exit from the city: 20km in 1H so we can only be happy that Serge will be on the road in Lisbon on a Sunday morning.
Another beautiful day.  The whole team is well and says Hello from Lisboa.
Tomorrow we will follow the Tage on the N6, before turning toward the quarter of the Casino and the Aquarium, to the Vasco de Gama Bridge.  Then we will take the N10 toward Villa Franca, to cross the Tage on foot, because the 2 bridges of Lisbon are for vehicles and even trains on the 25 April Bridge and there is no bridge for “pedestrians”. To cross the Tage at this point you have to take a river shuttle.

Town : Lisboa

GPS : N°38.69302° W009.21386°