Welcome to Portugal! We have made it to mainland Europe!
Let’s start by briefly crying about the lemons. We were really looking forward to seeing Seville, but it wasn’t going to do us any good to sail in circles outside Cadiz if the weather would prevent us from going ashore. Now we will make lemonade and we really enjoyed our visit in Lisbon. So we will put Seville back on our bucket list for some day in the future. However this was so nice that coming back to Lisbon wouldn’t be too bad either. Since this is Monday, quite a few places (especially the museums) are closed today – so we could certainly find different things to see if there ever was a future trip.
We started by getting up early to try to see the Tower of Belem as we sail into Lisbon, but the ship was slightly ahead of schedule and the sun hadn’t risen enough to see it anyway. We did get to see us sailing under the “25th
of April Bridge”. We got started with a good breakfast from the Horizon Bistro. Then we went to the Symphony Dining Room on
1922 Transatlantic Bi-plane
deck-5 and soon got called to board the bus for our tour. It wasn’t crowded so we got to spread out on the bus and David could bounce from side to side trying to take some pictures. There is a lot of construction underway in the area around the port, but it didn’t cause us any problems.
Our first stop happened to be the Tower of Belem. This was originally one of 3 towers intended to defend the city, but this is the only one which remains. Back in those days the river was wider and the towers sat out in the river to defend and to act as tax collectors from incoming ships. We had a 10-min photo-op there. We also saw a bronze statue there of a bi-plane seaplane. This was a representation of the first flight across the Southern Atlantic (from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro) in 1922.
The next stop on our tour was another photo-op at the “Monument to Discoveries”, just up the shore a short distance. This monument represents all those who took part in discovering new lands for Portugal, primarily in search of a course to sail
Monument of Discoveries
to reach India. But it accounted for Portugal laying claim to Brazil, Angola, the Maldives, and other places. Later they sailed on to find a path to Japan. There is a large mosaic map on the ground behind this monument that shows all the countries that Portugal claimed and when each occurred.
Across the way from the monument is the Pink Palace, which is the Portuguese version of our White House. This is where their president lives, but he was not in residence at this time. Also nearby is a large monastery (can’t really remember the historical significance but it was an impressive building). There are also half a dozen museums in this area, but of course they were closed today. The city does not appear to be as old as it really is because there was a major earthquake in 1755 and most of the city was destroyed and rebuilt since then.
Then we drove around the city working our way to the highest viewing location in Lisbon. We were in the middle of their morning rush-hour traffic (from 9:00-10:00) – many of the working class don’t begin until around 10 in the
Mosaic of World Map of Portugal Possessions
morning.. There are 600,000 residents in Lisbon itself but a total of 3 million in the greater Lisbon area. That is a substantial portion of their total 11 million residents in Portugal.
We drove past an old Roman aqueduct, which we could see from a distance but our tour did not go there specifically. Although Lisbon is located on a river, current is very slow and that allows salt water to flow back up the river with the tides and makes the water unusable by the inhabitants. Lisbon itself is over 3000 years old and was originally established by the Phoenicians. That supposedly makes it as old as Rome and older than London. It is also the most westerly located capital city in mainland Europe. The 25 April Bridge looks a lot like the Golden Gate Bridge because it was built by the same company, 25 years later. It is named for a historical event which is attributed to overthrowing tyranny in Portugal. That’s a little of the trivia we learned today.
From our final photo location, David was able to get some scenic overlook pictures of the city. There were also a series
of street-side vendors selling needlework. This was too much for Janet to pass up and we got an embroidered tablecloth with 12 cloth napkins. So now we have a souvenir of Lisbon that we can have on display. Then we drove down through the really high priced shopping district of Lisbon (past the Lamborghini store etc) and headed back to the port. There are several large open plazas with wide sidewalks all through this area, each with fancy mosaic tiles forming different artistic patterns.
The tour finished at the ship and we got back in time to go up and have a little lunch on the Lido Deck. It has been beautifully clear weather all day with not a cloud in the sky. There was a slight breeze but not bad, and the temperature was in the middle 70s. This was great weather compared to what was being predicted further south.
After lunch Janet went back to the cabin to read her mail and get a little nap. Sadly we got an e-mail from Stephanie saying that Ron’s grandmother passed away on Saturday. We are very sorry to hear that. It is good to
View from the Top
hear about Abby’s response (“surprising to hear we had to go to another country just because it was raining”). But our sympathy is with Ron and his family.
Meanwhile David went for a walk around the local area. Our ship is docked in downtown Lisbon and lots of things are nearby. However Lisbon has a many hills along the river and the little narrow streets are filled with quaint old houses, shops, and restaurants on steep streets. They are all quite small and set shoulder to shoulder. The streets and sidewalks are all cobblestone and fairly twisting. With 3 cruise ships in port today, everywhere was very crowded with tourists, many walking the sidewalks, riding the local streetcars or in the open-air taxis. Anyway, David climbed about ¾ of the way up the hills until he found an open terrace overlooking the port where he got some photos of the ships. Then he headed west through the little alleys and walkways until he came to the 12th
century Church of Santa Maria Maior, Lisbon Patriarchal Cathedral. If he had gone a little further up the hill he would have reached the Castle of Sao Jorge, but all
Mosaics in Sidewalks
this climbing after yesterday’s 5K walk was beginning to take a toll.
One of the many interesting things we’ve observed is that many of the building are covered in decorative ceramic tiles, and David took some pictures of many in hopes of getting some good examples. The carvings and the tile work on what are probably “ordinary buildings” is amazing. Anyway, Lisbon is a very interesting and distinctive place to explore and we had both the time and the weather to make a good start doing that.
David got back to the ship about 2:00 and it was time for another Coke, while he rested for a little. Our balcony has a great view of the port and we were able to observe the line of people growing longer and longer as it got closer for everyone to be “all aboard”. Although there were only a few tour options because of the impromptu nature of this port call, it appears that virtually everyone went to town today. That created a long line of people trying to return between 2:30 and 3:30. Janet went down to get a fancy coffee about 3:00 and encountered some
View from our Balcony in Lisbon
crabby people who had to wait a long time in the lines to come aboard again. Fortunately David had made it back at just the right time.
The ship sailed about 4:00 and David went up to deck-17 and got some of the pictures he had missed this morning. As we pulled away from the dock, they played the ship’s horn again with the first part of the Love Boat theme – it was nice. The upper decks were very crowded with people watching as we cruised out of Lisbon.
At dinner Jim and Bonnie had planned to go to one of the specialty restaurants, so it was just us and Jerry & Joyce again. Janet had the Caesar Salad and David had Roasted Pineapple Ring with Coconut, and a bowl of Gazpacho. Janet had the Roast Pork Chop and David had Beef Spare Ribs. For dessert Janet had Apple Strudel and David had White Vanilla Cheesecake. It was another delicious dinner. After dinner David had a glass of Port, since we are in Portugal.
We weren’t too interested in the theater programs tonight, so we stayed in the cabin and
Royal Princess docked in Lisbon
watched TV movies. We saw a movie called Trumbo and a movie called Everest. Lisbon is in the same time zone with Madeira so there was no adjustment needed for our clocks coming here, but there is an hour to be skipped tonight. When we get to Gibraltar tomorrow, we will be on Central European Time and will stay there for quite a while. Good night.
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