junho 06, 2014

Testemunho de Manuel Joaquim d’Almeida (inglês)

Manuel Joaquim d’Almeida, who was Civil Governor and deputy for the constituency of the Algarve, was a frequent traveller to Lisbon and he described his experiences thus:

On one of these occasions, because my mother was going, they took me so that I could experience the delights of travelling in those days. It must have been in about 1888: you had to go by carriage to Vila Real de Santo António, and spend the night there in a rather uncomfortable inn, and the next day we boarded an old paddle steamer belonging to Sr. Alonso Gomes, which went up the Guadiana as far as Mértola, where we rested in another somewhat uninviting inn. The bumpy journey continued by carriage over ten leagues of ascending roads along the deserted, old road to Beja, with a break at the so-called ‘House of Change’, because that was where the horses were changed. That was where I first saw horses eating bread soaked in wine which they gave them because they looked so tired. The people there were bizarre and rather uninspiring. Strange looking figures were to be seen, wrapped in blankets, even lying on the ground. A dark night, fumes from the olive-oil lamps, we didn’t dare to sleep. Grandfather did not let go of his leather bag suspended on a strap across his shoulder. In the end we set off again, to get the train from Beja to Barreiro and Lisbon as is still the case today. You had to put up with great discomfort and danger, and it all had to be repeated on the return journey to Faro