Wheelchair Accessible Tour: Lisbon, Portugal
Michael P. Shaushkin 2002 

Michael P. Shaushkin of El Segundo, California and his wife, Cris, were delighted with their private tour (via accessible van) of many of Portugal's top sites.

Sightseeing in and around Lisbon

While waiting for a cruise to sail out of Lisbon recently, my spouse, Cris, a wheelchair user, and I , along with some friends (another couple), had the most marvelous two full days of sightseeing in and around Lisbon. 

I  had arranged for a private tour conducted by a husband and wife team (Rui & Mary Goudie who live in Lisbon). They typically conduct private tours. However, due to the special "handicap" needs of my spouse, Mary went out of her way to locate a mini-van equipped with a wheelchair ramp (driver provided) to use for our needs. I completely left the two-day  itinerary up to them, and they came through with flying colors. We felt more like family than simply clients, and in the short span of two days, we felt that we have been friends for a long time. 

Mary's enlightening knowledge of the sites and the interactive dialog that results from a smallish private group was an unmatchable combination. We cannot say enough about the wonderful time we all had. During the first day, we met up at our hotel (Tivoli Lisboa) at about 9:30 a.m. and started off to see the local sites, which included the Torre do Belen; the Museu Nacional do Azulejo (a former monastery that is now a tile museum - a must see), and the the Cathedral Jeronimos. 

Following a nice leisurely lunch at a local square, we visited a nice, peaceful fishing village in Sesimbre, the Nossa Sembora Do Cabo Espichal (a church and an adjacent outdoor altar dedicated to an apparition of of the Virgin Mary to a local fisherman). We then proceeded to see an old fort and an adjacent posada / parador. We did not get back to the hotel until about 9:00 p.m. that evening. The following day we got on the road about 10 a.m., and to our pleasant surprise, Mary had decided to take us to Fatima for starters.

We caught the tail end of the outdoor mass at the plaza and were all very moved by the religious emotions that one couldn't help but feel. From there we visited a number of monasteries and churches (amongst them the Monasterios do Batalha and Alcobaca); followed by a Moorish Palace, and finally the unique walled-city of Obidos. Again we did not get dropped off at our hotel until late in the evening. It was expected that many of the interiors of churches and forts would not be accessible for my spouse, yet Cris was able to see a quite a bit despite the obvious constraints. We highly recommend contacting the Goudies for private tours for both abled-bodied and disabled persons who find themselves in beautiful Lisbon. Their email address is anubi@netcabo.pt

Editor's  Note: Rui & Mary Goudie now have two accessible vehicles available for wheelchair users. Visit their new web site at www.your-lisbon-guide.com or write them at: tourportugal@gmail.com

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