We had a half day tour of Lisbon before boarding the Corinthian. After yesterday’s bike ride in narrow twisting lanes, it felt like we were in a different city when touring by motor coach. We spent most of the time in the flattest part of Lisbon along the Tagus River. It’s a bit sad that Portugal’s time to shine was 500 years ago, but that’s what they have to be proud of so we saw a lot concerning their glory days. If their sailors hadn’t gutted themselves past the thought that the world was flat, we might all still be living in the countries our ancestors came from. Belem Tower and the monument to Prince Henry the Navigator who paid for all the circumnavigations of the world but hardly went anywhere himself, were reminders of Portugal’s finest hour. A huge monastery devoted to St. Jerome was what visitors saw when they first sailed into the city. It served as a loud and clear announcement to anyone who sailed in to the harbor that this was a country to be reckoned with. It was built on the shore of the river, but today reclaimed land has gardens and a highway in front of it. We toured the cathedral there and were glad not to stand in the enormous queue where tourists where waiting to go into the cloister of the monastery.
After a magnificent lunch in the Museum of Beer which did not include beer unless you wanted it to, we boarded the Corinthian. It was a painless process with the usual security formalities; by the time we got to the cabin our bags were already there and it was time to sail. We had great views of all the buildings we had seen on the tour as we went west under the bridge over the Tagus River, which reminded us of the Golden Gate Bridge. It should; it was designed by the same engineer.
Once we hit the open sea, the ship began to rock and roll and some of our fellow passengers suddenly adjourned to their cabins. Ken never gets seasick and I am delighted to say that I maintained my equilibrium as well. People who love to cruise on small ships always look down their noses at the big ones, but a big one would have handled the swells far better. Some of our fellow passengers don't look all that steady on their feet on firm ground and must struggle to remain vertical. Friendly crew poured wine incessantly throughout the afternoon and at dinner. We drank more tonight than we usually drink in a month. Between the rocking and rolling the the wine, it is a challenge to write anything at all tonight. Here’s hoping that it makes a modicum of sense.