Monday, July 17, 2017

Lisbon - 1

Knowing what a beautiful sail into Lisbon is, we excitedly turned on the bridge cam to understand how close we were to arriving.  You can image our simultaneous gasps as we were face with a blank white screen. The connection was fine - it was fog, and as if on cue we heard the ships horn blow warning those in our path to get out of our way.

Memories of San Francisco came flooding back as we sailed towards the 25th April bridge shrouded in fog.  It was not till later in the day when the visibility improved that you could see the Christo Rei Statue, a smaller version to Rio’s Christ the Redeemer.

Oceania’s Riviera had the best berth and we were docked further out at the Alcantara Dock. Don’t worry about organising a tour here as you are bombarded by Taxi drivers as you exit the port. We had already pre-booked ours.  Expecting Humberto as our guide, we ended up with Luis, for reasons I still not know, as it was lost somewhere in the translation.  We had a driver, we had a van, so we were happy.

A taxi driver was exactly what Luis was, so no big narrations but knowledgeable enough and always happy to answer all our questions. 

As we drove out of Lisbon we did stop at some vantage points for photos but the highlights of the day were the two palaces we visited.

The National Palace of Queluz

Not far out of Lisbon, Queluz was built as a summer palace for the royals, but over time it ended up as their official Residence. Dropping in and out of favour over the years, it eventually became a property of the state.  Also known as the Portuguese Versailles, the palace has been restored and now serves not only as a museum, but is also the setting for many of the government’s official entertaining.

The grounds are beautiful and yet so much of them are closed due to restoration.  The gardens were bordered by a series of canals.  The walls of the canal we saw were decorated with tiled panels of seascapes and related pictures.  The canals are empty now, but in the 18th century fully rigged ships would sail in processions with figures onboard in traditional dress.

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