Saturday, 13 December 2014

Lisbon and Vigo

Yesterday (Friday) we berthed in Portugal’s capital, Lisbon.  The city was shrouded in fog for most of the morning which caused us to inadvertently walk in the wrong direction to start with.  However, this had an advantage as it took us to part of the Alfama district.  This is the oldest and most picturesque part of the city which survived the great earthquake and fire in 1755.


Alfama is full of quaint, narrow streets, some of which are so steep that steps are the only way of moving around.


The streets which are negotiable for traffic are still very steep and the little Tuk tuks, with their lawn mower engines, struggle like hell to carry their burden of tourists.


We love getting off the beaten track and finding local cafes for a beer or coffee (1 Euro 50 for a beer and a coffee!)


Outside the cafe the old wooden trams thunder down the steep hills - just missing the cafe door!


Wandering these lovely alleys and streets we came across a vantage point where we could get a marvellous view across the pantile roofs to “Queen Elizabeth” at her berth on the River Tagus. (the fog was just beginning to clear at this point!) 


There are some gorgeous views to be had if you can find the right places …….


…… and there seems to be something amazing to ponder around nearly every bend.


The Cathedral (now mostly 14th century) was built as the spiritual home of the first bishop (which happened to be Gilbert of Hastings in Sussex!)  Trams, cars and Tuk tuks battle for space outside it’s main entrance (the trams usually win!)


We eventually arrived at the more touristy areas – dramatic and fantastic in it’s own right is the elegant square known as the Praca do Comercio.  The bronze statue is King Jose I, and in the background, is the massive Triumphal Arch. The carvings on both are extraordinary.


Perhaps the most intriguing thing we found was this! ……


……. where, inside, you could choose whichever colour of toilet roll you felt like at the time!


As the fog lifted we could glimpse the lovely Tagus Bridge across the river – built in 1966 it’s the second longest suspension bridge in Europe.

This morning (Saturday) we arrived in Vigo as, due to rough seas last night, we couldn’t get into Oporto as planned.  Before we got off the ship to visit this lovely town we had a quick game of darts in the Golden Lion pub ……


……. with Entertainments Officer Neil …….


…… who drafted in bar steward Miro to make up the numbers.  We lost of course!


“Queen Elizabeth” towered over the little harbour of Vigo.


Again, walking around the back streets, we came across some of the towns quaintest architecture …….


…. with Flea Markets clustering around the church entrance  ……


…… and the Praza da Constitucion looking good in its Christmas decorations.


After a wander along the beautifully decorated main shopping street we returned to the ship for a game of deck quoits.  As we get closer to the UK the temperature is dropping fast and we were perished after the game of quoits!


As we are not leaving port until 8 o’ clock we popped out again to see the town’s Christmas lights.  Looking back, the ship looked equally as special ……

P1080346….. as did the towns lights.



Well, we have two sea days ahead of us before reaching Southampton, Vigo being our last port of call.  The wind is building and it seems likely we might have some rough seas to pass through – we’re keeping our fingers crossed for a calm passage.

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