Thursday, July 5, 2012


We have departed the Mediterranean and are now in the Atlantic Ocean the difference is remarkable its grey and choppy out there (and substantially cooler).

The transit from the Med into the Atlantic through the Strait of Gibraltar was an event! We went through at 7pm so it was still light though there was a fair mist. I was surprised by the amount of sea traffic perhaps shouldnt have been given that everything has to funnel through. Brought to mind the scene in the movie Das Boot.

You see The Rock,  Gibraltar - on the starboard side (too far away to see monkeys)

And Tangier on the port side

I am watching Morocco and thinking never been in North Africa (apart from Egypt) must do that some time. Or some such.

Merle, as usual, has connected with the other talented crafters on board. (bit of an odd bunch if you ask me but hey, what do I know?).

One of the ladies, Margaret from New Zealand sews. Im not sure of the details but I think quilts. On board she has been sewing these evening bags. Very detailed. She offered to make one for Merle and here is the finished product.

A cicada beautifully symmetrical, colorful and lined. Amazing

Arrived in Lisbon at noon yesterday we had 7 hours to explore sailed out again at 8pm.

Lisbon is a lovely port to sail into it is located on the North bank of the Tagus river which was very busy with small fishing craft. As you can see they use nets that they run out and recover using winches.

Perhaps they catch the sardines that Portugal is so well known for?

Captain on the bridge with his wife she provides port information talks perhaps shes helping him?

Then a pilot arrives perhaps to help her?

Not like Costa Concordia this lady definitely not a blonde bombshell.

Lisbon has a long history going back perhaps as early as 1200BC but it has had its share of troubles occupation by the Moors between 8th and 12th centuries; the Black Death in 1348; the Inquisition; and an earthquake in 1755 that killed 30000 plus.

The Belem Tower is a 16th century fort built to protect the city which marks the starting point of many of the expeditions; including that of Vasco de Gama around the Cape and on to India.

On the banks of the river as you sail in you are again reminded of Portugals storied history of exploration. First you see the modern Maritime Museum (dedicated to Portugals voyages of discovery) adjacent to the Jeronimos Monastery (which was financed by the wealthy spice trade that resulted)

In front, on the banks of the Tagus, is the Monument to the Discoveries sculpted in the shape of a ships prow. Statues of Henry the Navigator, Vasco de Gama and Ferdinand Magellan among others are carved into the ship.

Then you sail under the 25th of April Bridge spans the Tagus for car and rail traffic. Originally built by the dictator Antonio Salazar in 1966 along the design lines of the Golden Gate Bridge it was renamed in honor of the 1974 revolution that toppled hip from power. The carnation revolution so-called because of the flowers the protestors put into the rifles of the soldiers.

We took a shuttle bus into the city and spent the day exploring the downtown area called Baixa. Considered the hub of modern Lisbon, this area opens up from the river with a triumphal arch in Praca do Comercio. Lovely vista. And me.

Lots of things to see as we wandered around the elevador de Santa Justa a wrought iron lift built in 1902; powered originally by steam then electricity. You can take a ride up for the view.

Narrow streets to explore

Sidewalk restaurants and cafes

Lovely snacky things to buy fruit. Ice Cream. Lovely pastries the creamy custard cup (pasteis de Nata de Belem)

Oddities a cow inside / outside this store that moos when you touch his nose

Lots of street artists this mime artist extravagantly done up as a Motzart statue with pigeons that flapped their wings

Ladies singing folks songs a bit wimpy

Directly across from them this man playing accordion. He was not very proficient (awful actually) but had this little dog with a basket in its mouth. He got all the money.

Two things to share:

First, a special sign in a restaurant to welcome Bolo!! Not sure which one though

Second, for Ladybug Best a plate of ladybugs for you to share

PS. Schools out for Summer!!!!!

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