30 May 2012, Gail’s trip log

We slept a bit later, then went upstairs for some breakfast. We were not due to arrive in Lisbon until noon, but could see land as soon as we got up, as we were going north along the coast of Portugal. I decided to see if there was a washer free and lucked out and so I managed to get a load of laundry done by about 1100. Lisbon is a beautiful port, several miles up the Tagus River. We watched the approach from our balcony, as we went under a huge suspension bridge, looking much like the Golden Gate (designed by the same engineers) and past the Christ the King on the far bank. It looks like a small version of the one in Rio – and we learned on our tour that that is exactly what it is. We had a little bit of lunch around 1200 – by now already docked and people going ashore. The town is very beautiful and picturesque – we took lots of pictures – starting right when we got off for our tour – which started at 100. All together we took over 550 pictures between us. Another fantastic guide named Christina and she gave us little radios and headsets which made the walking parts of the tour so much easier – you could hear everything she said and did not have to jostle around and crowd together. Our first stop was about ½ hour walk through the Alfama old town quarter – very narrow, windy, steep cobblestone lanes and quaint old buildings and shops with apartments upstairs. The weather was perfect for walking – I was a bit warm in the sun because I wore a sweatshirt – but it was in the 70s – no big deal. Next we drove along a very road avenue much like the famous one in Paris. Beautiful, hilly city and the purple jacarandas were blooming all over. We made several quick stops to view a vista to the ocean, a famous landmark, etc. and got a nice hour or so ride around Lisbon. Then we went to the Belem area, to the Jeronimo [St. Jerome] Church, where there had also been a monastery. Near the water and spend about an hour at the Maritime Museum and the church. We saw the tomb of Vasco da Gama at the church – learned a lot about the various Portuguese navigators to the new world and to China. On the way back to the ship we stopped for two quick photo ops along the waterfront. First, the Belem Tower – a very old fortress on the water and finally the Monument To the Discoveries – a very famous statue erected in the 1960s with huge portrayals of 32 of the most famous Portuguese sailors, explorers, kings, and others of importance. Quite impressive. We really loved Lisbon – visit was too short. We sailed away just at sunset – about an hour late due to some unstated technical problem. It was a very beautiful sail away. Quick dinner in the buffet. Two sea days ahead – the last two.

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