Lisbon, Portugal

Trip Start Apr 02, 2011
1
14
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Trip End May 15, 2011


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Tahitian Princess

Flag of Portugal  , Lisbon,
Sunday, April 26, 2009

In the early morning hours, the Tahitian Princess sailed into the mouth of the Tagus River; under the 25th of April Bridge and there just past the bridge to our dock in the City of Lisbon. Across the harbor from the dock upon a hill overlooking the ships entering and leaving this busy sea port stands the Monument of Christ the Redeemer. It was placed there by the people of the city to protect the many sailors both military and civilian that use the harbor for everything from fishing to cruising. The Bridge is named after the day of the Carnation Revolution that occurred in 1974, when the then current dictator was overthrown in a bloodless revolution where members of the army placed carnations in their weapons as signs of peaceful support for the revolution. To recognize their day of independence, the mile and half long bridge that was built in 1966, was renamed in honor of that day. Today we visited the lovely old city of Lisbon and explored some of her interesting sights.

Lisbon is an old city that is  believed to have been first settled in 1200 B.C. Legend says that Ulysses founded the city; but it is more likely that it was founded by the Phoenicians, the seafaring merchants of the ancient world. Lisbon was part of the Roman Empire during Rome's time as the dominant civilization on the stage of mankind. Between the 8th and 12th century, the Moors from Africa controlled this Atlantic seaport. In 1147, Afonso Henriques, the first king of Portugal conquered the town and the castle that was built on the hill overlooking the city.
 
Today we will be in Lisbon until 6:00PM. We will have time to select but a few of the many attractions available to us in the city. Today we have selected to tour on our own. We will walk thru the waterfront into the Lower Town and then up to Castelo de Sao Jorge (Saint George's Castle). The day is cool in the low 70s, but it appears cooler as the wind is and will continue thru out the day to blow at a fast gusty pace. The wind would be strong enough at times to make us walk into the wind with a slight lean of the body. Later at the castle it would make the walk on the pulpits more adventurous than they would normally.
 
As with most ports we left the ship early and proceeded out onto the dock fully prepared for our day's adventure. I was wearing a long sleeve shirt with my travel vest. Harriet selected a sweater and a long neck scarf. It would serve as a head scarf while walking thru the harbor into the town. We were never cold, but the wind did cause the unprotected to have their hair blown in all directions.


As we left the dock we crossed a small walking swing bridge that allowed small sailboats to enter a little marina inside of the harbor. After crossing the bridge, we would also need to walk across a railroad crossing before finally reaching the road that ran along the edge of the harbor and into the city of Lisbon. It was a wide 4 lane road that ran at the base of the hills that make up the city of Lisbon. The sidewalks were uneven small cobblestones that were arranged in patterns that were pleasing to the eye but uneven to the foot. We would walk about two miles along the shoreline into the heart of the town. We have come to enjoy walking more and more and the walk into the city was a welcome hike for us. The city of Lisbon is a fairly clean city but the harbor area is not as clean as the city. There is plenty of evidence of the graffiti that so troubles most modern cities. The walk also has a light smell of sewage though none could be seen. As seasoned seafarers we believed the smell to be the smell of land that sailors sense sometimes before sighting land.  The downtown area is cleaner but still shows the sign of the age of the city. We walked for about three quarters of an hour from the ship into the area called the Baixa or Lower Town. At the edge of the entrance to the Lower Town was a large square in which the current Lisbon City Hall now sits. It was built in 1863 over the remains of the previous city hall that was destroyed by fire. It is a large grand building that sits on a large open city square. It is a beautiful building that fully shows the opulence of late 19th century architecture. Just beyond the City Hall is the square called the "Black Horse" Praca do Cinercio. At the edge of this square opposite the harbor is the Arco Triunful de rua Augusta. This is an enormous ornate archway that leads into the Lower Town area. We linger for a few moments at the Archway to study the Arc and take a few of the compulsorily tourist photographs.
 
We walked thru the Archway onto the Rua Augusta that runs from the Archway for about 5 blocks to Rossio Square. The area of Rua Augusta from the Arco de rua Augusta to the start of Rossio Square is a large wide pedestrian walkway that passes many stores and shops of clothing, tourist items and foodstuffs. Small cafes with street- side seating also populated the edges of the walkway. We are in port on Sunday so that almost half of the shops are not opened and the crowds are therefore only a fraction of what they normally would be. The street is protected on 3 sides by buildings so the wind is now only a small breeze that is not a bother to pedestrians. We walked slightly uphill on the street toward the large open Rossiao Square and its normal traffic of cars, streetcars and buses that could take you to all parts of the city. It was a nice walk up Rua Rossio as we walked past the many shops that included a shop of specialty hams that the residents buy and leave in the stores until a suitable holiday feast. Also we passed a small pastry shop that was selling the small custard pies of which Lisbon is famous. But it is still early in the day and we are on a walking tour. In the Rossio Square, we looked up onto the tallest of the hills on which Lisbon sits, and saw the Castelo de Sao Jorge. It is an impressive sight, sitting there since time was, on the crest of the hill overlooking the entire city of Lisbon. Once the home of the Royal Family of the King of Portugal, it is now a restored historical site. But we must first walk up the hill from the bottom to the very top of the hill. We walked up streets and climbed numerous sets of stairs that lead us every upward to the crest of the hill and Saint George's Castle. We were thankful for our ship board regiment of exercise that allowed us to climb the hill to the castle without any significant signs of effort. But we could feel the effects of the climb in our legs as we proceeded up the steep hill. As we crested the hill, we arrived at the entrance of the castle. The castle is a charged attraction that is only six euros for admittance. But we were pleasantly surprised as they have a senior rate and that rate is free.
 
The castle area consists of a courtyard area that surrounds half of the actual castle which is located on the edge of the hill top. The courtyard is expansive and is a beautiful garden area that is full of old trees that reach high above the ground into the sky above the hill. Walkways, statues, an open plaza area and small buildings that now contain a museum and a café, comprise the courtyard. The museum contains many of the relics that were found at the site during the many constructions and restorations that have kept the area in excellent condition. The area has been the home of Greeks, Romans, Moors, and Portuguese people that have left historical souvenirs as evidence of their presence on the hill. The castle is remarkable in that it is exactly as we imagine a medieval castle would be constructed. It has a moat around the part of the castle that is not on the steep hillside. The walls are steep and made of stone that is there for protection not for visual effect. The walls around the castle are topped by a walkway with areas for soldiers to stand and fight an enemy that might lay siege to the castle. As this is a fighting castle, one built for functionality and not for fashion, the walkways are narrow and on top of the high walls of the castle. Here on the pulpits of the castle, the wind is blowing over the top of the hill and give even the best of the pulpits a feeling of adventure. The sudden gusts of wind ensure that all walkers on these walkways walk carefully and with steady steps.  


 We spent more time at the castle than we had originally planned as we just walked and enjoyed this mighty castle from the Medieval Ages of Europe. Before we left we took some time out at the edge of the large entrance courtyard to look down on and around the city of Lisbon. We can see far out into the city and beyond to the harbor and even to the berth where the White Lady was waiting for our return.
 
Remembering that we are on the easiest part of our walk, which is to say that the way back is all downhill, we began our descent into the city of Lisbon.  So we walk down past Gothic Cathedrals, thru small winding streets and further on down steeps steps, we walked down from the castle to the Lower Town section of Lisbon. We walked back down the Rua Augusta, thru the Arco Triumf de rua Augusta and out onto the street that will take us back around the harbor to our waiting White Lady. It is surprising that the walk seems shorter as we walk back to the ship. We have experienced only a part of the city of Lisbon, but we feel it gave us a good understanding of the city.
 
Shortly after we rejoined the ship and we would move away from the dock out thru the Tagus River into the Atlantic Ocean. For the next few days we will traverse the Bay of Biscayne in rougher seas than we have yet experienced so far on our adventure around the world. The weather is expected to contribute to the heavy seas that we will need to cross as we travel to Cobh, Ireland.

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Where is Harriet? Hunt 

Today Harriet is on the Rua Augusta just beyond the Arco de Triumf de rua Augusta. She is there waiting to be found.

Shelby on April 27, 2009

This is a hard one. Is she standing directly in the middle between a man in a striped shirt and brown blazer and a woman with what looks like a black leather coat on?

It looks like she's wearing a light color jacket (cream yellowish) 
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