Cais do Sodré. 8:48. I settle into my window seat as the train pulls out.
There's a family, look like tourists, chatting noisily. A woman with bright red lip stick answers her mobile. A girl smiles as she takes snap shots. Music is on the air…I go with the flow. Alcântara-Mar. Belém. My attention is grabbed by the downwind. Algés. Cruz Quebrada. The river as big as a sea attracts my attention. People merge into the background and the river fills my angle of view. Caxias. Paço de Arcos. Oeiras. Cars, people, trees and building flit past my eyes.
Carcavelos. Parede. São Pedro. São João. Thoughts take flight. I see palaces with princesses. Past and present. A large clock counts every second… "next stop: Cascais!"
“I just need some ID please. Thank you, here you are. You can travel until 16:30.”
I say goodbye to the man at the ticket office. He smiles. The "Bica" (hire bikes in Cascais) timidly starts out along the Cascais waterfront. Bica picks up speed. It is running this trip. I travel with my new companion along part of the cycle path that ends at Guincho. Track suits, trainers and day-glow jerseys pass and overtake Bica. I hear laughter, see smiles, feel the joy of who is visiting for the first time and for those who come here every morning.
The landscape if covered in rocks. The rough sea crashes with all its might. It's the "Boca do Inferno" that makes me stop. A seagull looks at me and then takes off. A woman in red trousers and a white t-shirt asks me to take her photo. I sit down, close my eyes and for a few moments the sea tells me its story, then I'm on my way again.
"It's just as well that you came today. The Santa Marta lighthouse had been closed for restoration works and today is its official reopening. Of course you can go up!" White shirt and black trousers shows me to the lighthouse entrance.
Slowly I climb the stairs. Up at the top everything seems to belong to a different world. I feel like Alice in Wonderland in the home of the White Rabbit. On one side of the lighthouse I feel huge, the land seems so small seen from above, but on the other side I feel tiny as the sea seems so enormous from the top. I go back down again.
Parque Marechal Carmona. I lean the Bica against a wall and wander round the streets and unpaved lanes. Trees, flowers, plants, animals all pass me by. I'm searching for a place. My place… sat on a garden bench I sigh and recharge my batteries. The sun shines. I leave.
I leave the garden and head for Cascais marina. Boats are waiting to go on voyages, people are waiting to go on voyages, boats and people are waiting for people. Bica continues on its way. White jumpers and coloured ones, trousers and shorts come out into the street. Sun glasses and hats fill the esplanades and garden benches. Trainers and shoes walk along the town's streets and alleys. I hand Bica back. I say goodbye to her and continue on foot.
One footstep at a time I wander round the lanes filled with people and lives. I continue my journey beside the sea. It is my new travelling companion. Monte Estoril. Estoril. I walk along the waterfront. Towels are laid out on the sand and balls fly through the air, boards catch waves in the sea. People arrive, people stay and people leave. I arrive, stay and depart. I turn my back on the sea and give myself up to the train.
Next stop: Parede
Some jeans and a checked shirt doze by a fishing rod. The waves take the bait in and out. A surf board comes back to dry land.
Next stop: Carcavelos
Wet feet cover the floor. Wet feet are the only sign that someone touched, entered and felt the sea today. Time goes by… the wet footprints disapear. They dry out. The sea remains. The sun starts sinking into the sea. I leave Carcavelos.
Next stop: Alcântara-Mar
I wander round the docks at Santo Amaro. I try to fly and catch the sunset. With every step I move further away from the spectacle of colours and lights that fill the sky and the sea. People and vehicle go by… I don't see anyone. A camera in my hand and a sketch book under my arm I follow the the route to the "Padrão dos Descobrimentos". The sun sets. I watch the show. I enjoy nibbling a "pastel de Belém" cream tart. The journey reaches its peak. From here I can relive the journey I have made, lived and felt and imagine the next one. From here we are discoverers and navigators from other ages and other eras. This is where you leave from.
20:48. The train arrives. I get on, take my seat…
Next and last stop: Cais do Sodré
I step down onto the Lisbon pavement. The journey is over.