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26th March, 2015

Lisbon, Portugal

The forecast for Lisbon had not been great, however it wasn’t too bad at all as we headed up the Tagus towards our berth. Sunshine and a moderate northerly breeze, which didn’t particularly help while trying to berth between two other passenger vessels. With just twenty meters or so clearance at either end and a very large cruise vessel on the bow, it took a certain amount of nerve to slide this older lady into the designated slot without over compensating on the handles. I heard a mild ripple of applause from above as we came alongside, a little premature I thought, as we hadn’t managed to get even one mooring line secure.

The berth these days is just half a mile from the Plaza da Commercial, or as we Brits call it, Black Horse Square, just a brisk ten minute walk. Some folks took the complimentary shuttle bus; I needed the exercise, however, and strode ashore to meet Mrs R, who had preceded me along with the credit card. Some of the shops on the main pedestrianised street are still ‘old fashioned Portuguese’ and quite charming, including a chocolate shop with antique polished wooden framed mirrors on the walls. Another shop sold a huge variety of formal and informal hats for men. My wife managed to find something cap like to match her tweed jacket, very country.

We opted to walk back as the traffic was heavy, and passed a number of small bars and restaurants that have opened up in what was a dockside industrial quarter close to the city centre. Many of the old tile faced apartment blocks that face the river are looking a little shabby, but still have great charm. There seems to be a desire to rejuvenate this area, some re-construction work is taking place and, it would seem, in a sympathetic way.

Captain Philip Rentell

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