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18th May, 2013


Saga Sapphire

The seas of Cape St. Vincent were distinctly choppy when we passed through them in the early hours, fortunately all of our folks were still tucked up and very few even made the effort, or so it seemed, to view our arrival at the entrance to the Tagus around 0700 hours.

It was a cool, blustery sort of day, with the odd sharp shower and the temperature hardly rose above 17 degrees. Even so, the city was very busy as there was some sort of open air graduation ceremony taking place in Black Horse Square, where thousands of students, all dressed in smart black and white, with black capes to match, were gathering.

We chose to walk the other way, up towards the National Pantheon, a magnificent domed white building, originally known as Saint Engracia Church. I had heard there was a Saturday market in the nearby streets, the Feira da Ladra, which apparently translates to the market of stolen things. It was an extraordinary spectacle, literally hundreds of vendors trying to sell millions of items, mainly old and well past their use by date all laid out over the ground.

I have never seen such a variety of assorted tat, none of which I would ever want to buy, but perhaps it only goes to indicate the present state of the Portuguese economy where absolutely everything has a value, no matter how small, old, or seemingly useless. I was told later by our departure pilot that the market was the first place someone would go if they had something stolen. If you went very early in the morning there was a very good likelihood that you could find your possessions there, and then you could have them back, for a small price of course. 


We found our way through the Alfama district and down into the city, following the tram tracks and trying to avoid being run down by the famous number 28. They seemed to come in bunches, all packed to the gunnels with locals and tourists holding on for dear life and struggling for air.

We sailed on schedule, back into the brisk chilly wind blowing across the wide river. Two days at sea and then it’s all change. Norway next week and Captain Steve in charge.

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.