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8th October, 2012


Decorative balcony, Lisbon

We passed Gibraltar around midday and continued on into the Atlantic, the fine weather staying with us. The next morning, however, the River Tagus was visible, but only just, as fog descended on our approach. We on the bridge therefore concentrated on the electronic aids and it was only as we made the turn off Cascais that the mists parted like the curtains at a theatre, and the millions of lights of Lisbon’s suburbs suddenly appeared, less than half a mile ahead. Within thirty minutes the sun rose in a golden orb over the placid waters ahead, into cloudless skies above.

We berthed at the new terminal just ten minutes walk away from the main shopping street and Praça do Comércio, the grand riverfront square of old Lisbon. To get there however, the walk was through a few streets of old apartment blocks whose facades were decorated in the traditional style of glazed tiles, and where some of the wrought iron balcony rails had the day’s washing hanging over to dry.

One of Lisbon's trams

The old wooden trams were still rumbling around the streets along with the rest of the busy traffic, but in the main street where traffic is not permitted the sun reflected off the small white square cobbles to give a much lighter atmosphere. By mid morning there were plenty of shoppers and the outside cafe waiters were toting for business.

Lisbon has a charming mix of traditional and modern, the latest designer shops are often situated next door to ones that look as though they have been there for a hundred years. Proper men's tailors, old fashioned liquor shops stacked with every kind of port you could imagine and a wooden panelled glass cased hat shop that sold everything to cover the head, from a bowler to an Australian bush hat.

Traditional hat shop, Lisbon

We had lunch in a small local restaurant whose speciality was chicken cooked on a spit over a wood fire, a place where very few tourists manage to find, but is always busy with locals.

For this cruise Lisbon was to be our final port of call, but we shall return in three weeks towards the end of our next ‘Heart of the Mediterranean’ cruise.

Cooler climes beckon for the next few days.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.