Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Beautiful Sunrise as We Headed to Lisbon, Portugal

Jim took over the photography of the morning sunrises…and was doing a fine job. He took this picture of the moon about 30 minutes before the sun rose.

And what a sunrise it was…these next photos have a time span of 25 minutes.

The sun was just peeking over the horizon and you could see a ship coming into view on the right.


A great backdrop for the ship.

My favourite photo…

The colours as the sun rose were amazing…



What I call God’s sky with the rays coming down. We’ll have to go a long way to beat that sunrise.

After two days at sea, we sailed into Lisbon at about 5:00 pm. We were going to stay overnight and leave at 5:00 pm the next day. I think the Captain was trying to throw us a bone to appease us after the disappointment of all the missed ports.

Lisbon was looking very interesting. This is the largest fortification that was built to defend against the British and Spanish navies in the 1600s.

We had been following this container ship, but he slowed to a crawl and we sailed past. Cruise ships pay the ports big dollars and are therefore given priority for docking.

On the left is Belem Tower, and on the right is the Monument to the Discoveries.

The Belem Tower is a beautifully sculptured 16th century fort, which marked the starting point for many voyages of discovery, including Vasco da Gama’s journey to India around the tip of Africa. Initially, it was in the middle of the Tagus River, but the river has since changed its course and the tower now sits on the river bank.

The Monument to the Discoveries was built in 1960 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the death of Prince Henry the Navigator, who sponsored many of the Portuguese explorers of the 16th century. The monument has statues of all the great Portuguese explorers, such as Vasco de Gama and Magellan. The monument also has a map that chronicles Portugal's empire building around the world.

This 1-1/2 mile long bridge is reminiscent of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and is called the 25th of April Bridge. It spans the Tagus River and is named for the date in 1974 when a bloodless revolution restored democracy by overthrowing the regime of Antonio Salazar. We were about to go under it…

And we’re through…

From a distance we could see Praca do Comercio (Square of Commerce). It was initially known as the Palace Square before the Palace was destroyed by the great earthquake in 1755.

It reminded me a lot of St. Mark’s Square in Venice. The square is now surrounded by government buildings.

The statue is of King Jose I in front of a triumphal arch. Behind it is a neat grid of streets where traffic is no longer allowed. This is where we were planning to head once the ship docked.

For once we were docking right in the city center which would allow us to get off the ship and walk around...so different from our usual container port.

We joined Lee and Mary for a walk around town. We met them on one of our first nights at Crooners Bar and it turns out they lived in Fredericton in the 1970s. Small world!

We docked near Alfama, which is Lisbon’s medieval Moorish district with a maze of narrow streets.

Safety in numbers. We had been warned many times of the abundance of pickpockets in Lisbon, so we weren’t about to go exploring any dark and narrow streets…no matter how intriguing they looked.

Isn’t this a familiar sight! There are usually one or two people trying to figure out where we are in any given city. In this case, Jim and Lee…

The beautiful tiled and shiny streets of the Baixa district with its many shops and restaurants.

Lee, Mary and Jim…we were checking out all the wonderful restaurants and trying to decide where to eat. Heaven forbid we should miss a meal, but it’s fun to try the city’s local food.

This is Rossio Square with the theatre (Teatro) and the statue of Dom Pedro IV in the background.

The bronze fountain was imported from France...

I loved the beautiful designs on the streets, but I kept wondering how slippery they must be when they’re wet!

What’s this? A third person had now joined the map reading group. I’m not sure what Jim was pointing to, but I’m sure it wasn’t “go in that direction.”

The houses in the Alfama district are known for their tile work and this balcony scene of a lady hanging out the laundry was done completely in tiles.

We found a great place to have dinner where most of us enjoyed a skillet of rice and seafood, and Jim had the cod, for which they are famous. We sauntered back to the ship, enjoying the clean streets of Lisbon.

A perfect way to end a great night…a nightcap at Crooners Bar with one of our favourite bartenders, Don. 


Tomorrow we’ll head out to spend the day exploring Lisbon.

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