Subject: Questions about Portugal
RE: I'm considering travelling solo through Portugal--riding the rail system and getting rooms as I go. I don't speak the language...

Hi there! My husband and I just got back from 18 days in Portugal last week; I have not had a chance to get anything posted to the list but that will come. We do not speak the language and we used the train, bus and metro systems. We had no room reservations. So, I may be able to help you with info. In general, we had no real problems. In small towns there is little English, but with a phrase book you can function; the people are incredibly polite and willing to help travellers--they will take you by the hand if necessary (and it was at times) and lead you to a correct bus etc. The train and bus systems are wellorganized and efficient. They run ON TIME!!! We had no trouble getting rooms. I will warn you, that Rossio station, one of the main Lisbon train stations is undergoing work and since January 17 it has closed late on Saturday and stayed closed on Sundays for renovations. There is no posted completion date. This can affect your travel plans to &from Lisbon. You must use an alternate station and get there by metro. Not a big problem, but since the tourismo in Lisbon didn't seem to know this and instructed us to go to rossio station on Sunday, this left us in the hands of a local man who very kindly explained to us in piece by piece English, how to get to Sintra on Sunday... We also ran into a one day transit strike on May 9. I'm not convinced that there may not be others now and then...

We went from Lisbon to Porto, then Amarante, Lamego, Coimbra, Bucaco, Obidos and back to Lisbon.

If you can tell me when you are going, some possible destinations and price range I may be able to help with more specific information and/or recommendations for accomodation and food.

Its a beautiful country and we had a great time, so enjoy!

Collette Saunders Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada