Spirit of Discovery blog
A pleasant day was spent at sea running north from the Canaries to Portugal, with plenty of sunshine and although a slightly chilly breeze, this was not enough to put people off attending our open air Spanish & Portuguese food festival on the Lido Deck next to the pool.
For those budding star-gazers on board, our on-board Astronomer offered a selection of sessions on the open deck after twilight that evening, gazing skywards…
We entered the Tagus River the following morning as the sun started to rise, passing under the 25th April Bridge (a slightly smaller, but no less spectacular version, of San Fran’s Golden Gate) just after 08:00 prior to manoeuvring onto our berth not too far from the city centre.
Now, Lisbon is a cracking port of call with far too many aspects to mention here, but for me the highlights have to be the city’s waterfront including Belem Tower, the old centre and tramline, and…custard tarts (‘Pasteis de Belem’). The latter being a local speciality, often requiring several minutes of queueing at a reputable bakery to obtain the best ones.
There’s masses of history here. The city was destroyed and re-shaped by a series of devastating earthquakes in the mid-18th Century, at which time – astonishingly – more than 1/3rd of its occupants were also wiped out.
Wandering around is one of the best ways to see some of the ﬁnest and most signiﬁcant examples of historical architecture, starting with Alfama - a veritable labyrinth of narrow cobbled alleyways, ﬂanked by colourful houses. This area was once located outside of the city walls and ﬁlled with the city’s deprived sailors and dock workers.
Continue to Sé de Lisboa, the cathedral of Lisbon, which was built during the 12th century and remains both an important site of pilgrimage and one of Portugal’s most signiﬁcant monuments. Nearby Rossio, once the liveliest square in the city, you could visit the ‘Elevador de Santa Justa’ – an old 19th century lift.
Unfortunately, due to forecasted inclement weather on our northbound passage back to Southampton, we had to depart Lisbon a little earlier than planned. However, to more than make up for this disappointment, our famously excellent curry chef, Kumar, presented his marvellous ‘Curry Corner’ on the Lido Deck as we sailed away from port…
Captain Kim Tanner
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