Edit Blog Post
Published: October 3rd 2018
Hello from Lisbon Portugal.
Wait! We are getting ahead of ourselves. Last night we left you with the adventure on the high seas as our ship swooped in and rescued another ship in distress in the Straits of Gibraltar. It turned out there were about 50 people on that small boat and apparently they were refugees trying to make it to Europe. Unfortunately for them, it appeared to be the Moroccan rescue service which came to help them, so they probably went back where they started. Anyway, our captain announced that we would probably be 2 hours late arriving in Lisbon and they would have to try to keep as many tours as possible, but to wait for morning. In any case they would not sail until midnight instead of the planned departure of 10:00 PM.
In the morning we learned that in the past 10 years Princess Cruise ships has made 30 rescues at sea. The captain announced a great deal of the time had been made up during the night and that we would arrive at 10:45 instead of the original 10:00, but we would still remain until midnight. Since our tour was not supposed to meet until 11:00 AM we continued our tour as planned. But first we got the extra hour of sleep during the night and then went up to the buffet about 9:30. It was fairly crowded today but Janet found a nearby table and David brought 2 plates of food. We were all set.
After eating, David went up out on the upper deck and took some pictures as we sailed into Lisbon. There will be no way to take pictures tonight, so this was his chance to photograph the Belem Tower, the Monument to the Discoveries, the 25th
of April Bridge, and the Cristo Rel statue. Janet went down to the cabin to rest until it was time to start our trip. We got back together in the cabin at 10:30 and went to our tour right on schedule.
They asked if Janet had trouble with stairs and let us stay in the Wheelhouse Bar instead of climbing up and down all the stairs in Princess Theater. Then when our tour was announced, we got a little head start and we rode the elevator down 3 decks instead of walking the stairs. Anyway, we were the first of our group on the bus and we got a good seat near the front of the bus. The bus got underway at 11:45 and we were headed for a nice tour of Lisbon.
We had great weather today with bright blue skies and high temperatures about 86. We had a very good guide who spoke English fluently without any accent issues. We drove all around Lisbon. We had done something similar during our Athens cruise in 2016, but this seemed better. We stopped at the top of the Edward VII Park and saw the commanding view of Lisbon below. This time we were able to avoid the tablecloth sales from wagon on the side of the road. The next stop was at the Jeronimos Monastery with St Jerome’s Church. Janet stayed on the bus instead of having the lengthy walk but David took a lot of pictures for her. We drove past the monuments that David had photographed from the ship, but we didn’t stop at any of them. All along the ride our guide pointed out lots of interesting points.
85%!o(MISSING)f Lisbon was virtually destroyed by a massive earthquake (8.5-9.0) in 1655. That was followed by an associated Tsunami and then subsequent fires. Major areas of the city were rebuilt in the following year. The Marquis of Pombal quickly established a grid pattern to organize parts of the city, but in the very hilly areas it was rebuilt with the same narrow, winding steep streets and walkways up and down the hillside. Our bus could not enter this “old town” so they transferred us to smaller trams. Our guide said these had been the prototype that San Francisco used to make their cable-cars. In any case it was very interesting and there is no way Janet could have climbed these cobblestone streets. During the ride they served us each a small glass of port wine and a very tasty pastry – something which is Portugal’s signature dessert.
Throughout the excursion we were impressed with Lisbon as a nice clean city. There were places where there was painting on the sides of buildings, but they were more artwork than looking like vandalism. Many of the houses and some building are covered with glazed tiles in decorative patterns. Our guide explained that not only does this last a long time, but it is practically self-cleaning when they have rain. There were also mosaic tiles in many of the sidewalks – black basalt and white limestone – forming interesting patterns.
At the end of the tram ride our bus picked us up and took us back to the ship terminal. We went through the security processes and walked back to the ship. We entered through the gangway on deck-5 Midship, and found ourselves right in the International Café. Since it was nearly 4:00 and we hadn’t had a real lunch, we grabbed a table and had a sandwich and plate of melons. Janet was also able to get one of her Salted Caramel Coffees which David got a piece of pecan pie. Then we went back to the cabin to rest.
We had originally booked an excursion to Fatima. After the exhausting experience in Vigo we decided not to try another tour that is mostly a walking tour. Janet is very disappointed by not getting there but we did enjoy the tour we had today. Two years ago our ship was docked right next to downtown and would have made it easy for David to go back and do some shopping in the local area if we were there today. Unfortunately there are 6 cruise ships in port today and we are docked several miles down the river in the commercial dock area. Our guide said their max capacity for cruise ships is 12, but with 6 it was very crowded everywhere the bus/tram went. It probably would have been just as crowded waiting in lines at Fatima. Maybe someday we will be able to go there, but not this year.
We went down to dinner at 5:45 and found lots of people were still in Lisbon. We were the only ones at our table. We both had shrimp cocktails for appetizer and David also had the twice-baked goat cheese soufflé. Then we both got the strawberry sorbet intermezzo as a palate cleanser. Janet had scallops for her dinner and David had pork tenderloin. For dessert Janet had another strawberry sorbet and David had the chocolate lovers delight.
We went back to the cabin and Janet settled down for the evening. She had rested briefly after the excursion today but no real nap today. David went to the theater to watch a local group doing flamenco dancing. Frankly he had been expecting something with more twirling in colorful outfits, with plenty of heel stomping with castanets. There was a little but not much, so maybe he didn’t understand what to expect. Perhaps if he spoke Portuguese and understood the singing then it might have been more meaningful, but he doesn’t. Anyway, that wraps up the news for today.
Tomorrow will be a restful day at sea so Janet can rest and rejuvenate tonight and tomorrow. But she did well today so we hope her illness is behind her.
Tot: 2.521s; Tpl: 0.046s; cc: 10; qc: 45; dbt: 0.0405s; 2; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb