There is a famous old song written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David called Trains and Boats and Planes. It was perhaps most popularised by the American soul singer, Dionne Warwick. Well, on a visit to Portugal earlier this month, I did buses and boats and planes. As Meat Loaf had it, Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad. Though to be honest, I could have done with a bit less bus. (A Lisbon airport one is shown on the home page.)

Taking the ferry across to Troia meant that Setubal gradually receded into the distance

My flight to Lisbon was uneventful enough – well, if you don’t count the fact that I had to set my alarm for 4.15. The flight was early – that is, it took off on time, which meant it landed 40 minutes ahead of schedule given that all airlines build in a good deal of delay time into their timetables. Flying into Heathrow, that would ordinarily have meant nothing: the plane would most probably just have circled in a holding pattern for at least half-an-hour. At Lisbon, however, we were straight in! At times it seemed the bus journey from the plane to the terminal might be going to take as long as the flight, but eventually we got there. Through security, I met up with my friend who had hired a car, and at his suggestion we agreed it would be more enjoyable to reduce some of the motorway journey by driving to Setubal and taking a ferry towards our ultimate destination, which was Comporta, some 100 miles to the south. The ferry worked fine (we boarded it three minutes after arriving at the port) and the whole trip went well, not least as regards the weather, which was outstanding, as you can probably tell from the photos!

A view of Lisbon’s spectacular Vasco da Gama Bridge spanning the River Tagus…it’s the second longest in Europe after that one in Crimea

My flight home from Lisbon the following evening was bang on time, although again we had a bus tour of the airport before reaching our destination, in this case the aeroplane. And later, back at Heathrow, there was nothing for it but a bus again. The plane taxied to a halt somewhere in the boondocks, far from any arm which would enable us to walk across the air bridge to the terminal. That made it three buses in about 36 hours. Oh, and to go back to that song with which we came in, there was a train involved as well. I took the Elizabeth line from Terminal 5 with the intention of getting off at Farringdon and making my way home from there. Unfortunately, the train had other ideas. The onboard information system declared the entire service was operating on a reduced schedule and this train was going no further than Paddington. I got off there and found a black cab for home.