SEA Currents: Corwith Cramer
July 26, 2014
Three Days in Lisbon
38° 42’ 07.20” N x 9° 09’ 45.60” W
Docked at Lisbon, Portugal
West, Force 1
After a night of sailing across the shipping lanes along the Portuguese coast, morning fog at the mouth of the Tagus River kept Lisbon hidden for a few hours. We picked up a friendly pilot who, like nearly everyone else in Lisbon, spoke excellent English. The fog lifted as we made our way upriver, revealing one majestic structure after another. First there were lighthouses marking the approach, then a medieval fortress, the Tower of Belem, the Monastery of the monks of St. Jerome (both UNESCO World Heritage sites), the navigators monument, the 25th of April Bridge, and, on the south bank, the towering monument to Christ the King. As we approached the docas (docks) we stared at beautiful Lisbon spilling down the hillsides. Our berth was in a protected area behind a container port, with several other tall ships and a bevy of yachts.
Friday afternoon began our shore program. After exploring the docas we ascended and discovered a maze of steep streets and discovered old-world neighborhoods with, pink, yellow, and tile-covered buildings that sported iron-latticed balconies. We also found the Iraqi embassy, which looked like it had seen better times, and then we discovered a café with a balcony overlooking the docas. We enjoyed a local beverage as we gazed down on the Cramer, our home for July.
On Saturday the 26th Professor Dan and Captain Elliot led us on a long walking tour of Lisbons old quarters. First there was Estrela, where we saw an exquisite baroque basilica and enjoyed the shade of a botanical garden, then Baixa, built in a grid pattern after the dreadful earthquake/tsunami/fire of 1755 destroyed much of the city center, and then the unforgettable Alfama, a maze of narrow streets winding up to the Castelho Sao Jorge. On the way we stopped at the 12th-century Romanesque cathedral (the Se). By lunchtime our legs and feet were beginning to talk back to us all, and we scattered for lunch at the top of Alfama (overlooking the city).
After lunch we went to the Oceanarium via the excellent metro system. This was in the Park of Nations, an area of urban renewal that faces the huge Vasco da Gama Bridge. The sea otters stole the show, as they usually do. Those of us who were off watch had the evening to explore the culinary wonders of the citysardinhas, smoked sausage, the ubiquitous bacalhau, staple of Portuguese cuisine, and tasty cheeses, salads, and local beverages. A drawbridge for pedestrians that we’d come to rely on turned out to be closed for the weekend, so we had another long walk back to the ship. It was worth every step.
This blog entry a joint effort by students and staff