I am writing this on our final day in Portugal, and boy, have we ever packed a lot into 5 days! We came into Lisbon in the early morning, and the trip in featured a beautiful sail under the 25th April bridge, which was designed by the same team as the Golden Gate and looks it.
We had three nights in Lisbon. It was sunny and gorgeous as we came in, but generally Day 1 was a tad rainy and cool, so we had a later start off the ship, walked up to our apartment, and had an excellent lunch along the way. Pretty lazy day, really; explored the neighborhood, had a great dinner and an early turn-in.
Day 2 had a lot packed in. Dan took off to the Sintra area with a friend from the ship. He and Heather mountain-biked some rough terrain, and saw some amazing scenery. But I had the camera, so only a phone photo to represent them
Joe and I climbed to the top of St. Jorge’s Castle. Lisbon is a hill town, with lots of climbing (the city even has some elevators installed in various places). But this added even more in!
The views from the top were breathtaking; it’s always so hard to pick just a few to show. Joe also took one of the rare photos of me that I like, and it also shows the bridge in the distance, so I thought I’d throw that one into the mix.
The other unexpected and fun part of the castle was their resident peacocks. There had to be 20 or so, just wandering around like they own the place.
Day 3 I had a field class with my students. We visited Tourism Portugal, the LX Factory (a sort of artisan collective/hippy mall), and Navigator, a pulp and paper company that is one of the world’s largest, and one of Portugal’s biggest brands. The entire day was instructive, but we weren’t allowed to take photos in the factory, which would have been outstanding. It is largely robotic-run, and the main drying machine is the length of 4 Airbus 380 planes. It was cool, really.
After 3 days in the city, and actually mainly city visits in ports this trip, it was time for a change. We rented a car and drove south through the coastal countryside to Sagres, on the farthest south-western tip of Portugal. Historically, it was the home to a navigational school (Christopher Columbus and Vasgo de Gama studied here). Now, it’s a surfer dude sort of place. The place is gorgeous. Once again, so difficult to choose images. Here is one of the views from our room.
Before we got to the hotel, we visited the fort of St. Vincent. It’s out on the point here at Sagres, and offers beautiful views of the town. That is our hotel in the far back right of this picture of Joe.
While Joe completed one of his online school courses, Dan and I rambled around the area on cliffside paths and onto the town beach. Really a gorgeous place. Lots of unusual birds here too, but I wasn’t quick enough to get good pics. Here are some shots from the walk, including a look back at our beautiful hotel. There were only a handful of guests, and one night we were the only dinner guests in the restaurant. It was sad to see, but also gave the place a funny sort of Fawlty Towers sort of vibe.
One our final full day we took a really short trip to Faros, which was known in the 15th century as the “end of the world” as that is the point, at the end of Europe where Portuguese explorers set sail. There is a still a working lighthouse there, and different soaring, amazing cliffs.
I will leave you with a short video from Faros. There is a small cave in the cliffs that occasionally seems to spit the waves back out as spray; it’s really cool to watch!