Golega – National Horse Festival

/ posted in: travel

From 11/11 (St. Martin’s Day):

We did it! We managed to get to Golega and back. That’s GOAL-GA not GO-LEG-A like I thought. Since I tried for months to research this online and only found people asking the same question as I was, I’m now going to post the explanation I wish I had.

How do I get to Golega for the National Horse Fair from Lisbon on public transportation?

Take the metro to either Santa Apolonia (end of the blue line) or Oriente (end of the red line). There are train stations for the long distance trains at both of these. Find the timetable for the Lisbon to Tomar train. Buy a ticket from Lisbon to Riachos and back. Pick a time that you think you will return. You can change this later (just get on any train heading to Lisbon) but the ticket window at Riachos closes at 1:00 PM so it is best to have a return ticket in hand before you get there. It cost us 13.30 Euros per person round trip.

It takes about 1.5 hours to get to Riachos. We left Santa Apolonia at 9:48 and got there at 11:17. There was a taxi outside the station. It cost about 4.45 euros to get to Golega. You get dropped outside town because the whole town is closed for the street fair.

To leave – walk past the center square where the people are riding. Go until the road ends and then turn right. Walk until you get to a square with a church. There is a taxi stand near the church.

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It took a while to find the horses when we got there. We followed the crowd through streets full of food and cheap stuff to buy like knockoff purses and watches. There were lots of stuffed horses and battery operated horses that walked. These the vendors had tied to a stick to demonstrate so they were going in circles. They were longing. Maybe only horse people would find that funny but it was cracking me up.

There were also kids playing music. They had their Chihuahuas holding plastic buckets in their mouths for donations. Freckles wouldn’t hold anything in her mouth that wasn’t food. Nice to see dogs earning their keep. LOL

Finally we got to the main square. Imagine an arena in the center with a riding track on the outside of it. Anyone who has a horse there can ride around the track. It was mostly Lusitanos but there was an Appy pulling a cart, minis, a draft pony, and anything else.

I couldn’t swear to you that these little guys can walk. This man stayed in the corner and talked to everyone while they dozed. Even when their carriage got hit by another horse they didn’t flinch.

minis

I had to get the sidesaddle rider.

sidesaddle

You can ride up to the bars.

At the bar

This pretty boy was in the center ring.

dressage

Around the square are temporary stalls with displays of Lusitano farms. It is a lot like barn displays at big shows with fancy seating areas for the owners but these are all temporary.

making friends

If your horse isn’t in the big money section you are stabling in someone’s garage. All around there are makeshift stores in buildings. I wonder what is there when the fair is over?

temp stables

It started to get a bit wild around mid afternoon so we left. We would have stayed longer if there was some organized competition to see. I’ve seen a schedule that said dressage was scheduled for today but if it was happening we never found it. We wandered all over town.

We took an earlier train out than expected so that’s how I know it was ok. I think that this is a sign of the general lawbreaking we’ve been doing all over. It starts out by taking illegal pictures at museums and next thing you know you are jumping on trains you don’t have a reservation for.
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When we got back to Lisbon we wandered around some malls. Several of the subway stops are at large malls. They do some serious shopping around here. It is all high end stuff too. Way too rich for our blood especially with a weak dollar.

El Corte Inglais is where we saw a movie last night. We thought it was a mall with a cinema and a supermarket. It isn’t. It is all one store. It is 12 levels with everything from the market, to clothes (with a bar in men’s wear), to a travel agency. According to the SO there are also directions of how to buy sex from either men or women explained explicitly on the men’s room walls. Truly a full service place. I went to Haagen Daz because they are advertising a crepe cone. It is like a waffle cone but made out of crepes instead. “God bless Europe!” I thought. It was a horrible disappointment. The crepe was tasteless. So sad.

7.61 miles walked today