Since it was closed (Monday) the last time we were in Lisbon, and we have had it strongly recommended from several 'reliable sources' we thought it well worthwhile to make the train trip to Lisbon omce again.
The people who recommended it was right. No doubt about it. Reputedly the largest maritime museum in the world it was very interesting. First, all the Portuguese discoverers and seafarers of their history. Vasco da Gama, Magelhan, Labrador and Albuerquerque just to mention those I know best. Their history was at display with a huge map of their voyages. Extremely well crafted models of the different tall ships used by them and the Portuguese Navy and lots of artefacts of all kinds.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the Museum was the annex where they had some 25-30 (!) vessels at display. everything from smaller fishing boats to yachts (including a swedish built 'Tumlaren') and the 'Royal Galley'. The latter was the most spectacular of them all as you can see from some picctures I uploaded to the Gallery. 19 pairs of oars, thsi long and sleek river boat was literally covered in gold, velvet cushions and carvings, some of them in ebony. This vessel was used as lately as in the 1950's before permanently laid up here.
Strong recommendation for any one who might read this and later visit Lisbon.
that's true. And then came rain again. And after that weak variable winds mostly from the south.... so we'll spend anotther day or two reading below decks I reckon. Maybe the forecast will be more encouraging after the weekend!?
Today's picture was taken in January in Falsterbo, Sweden. facing north toward the bridge between Sweden and Denmark.
Just as a perspective...
A cold front consisting of a looooong tail off a low pressure system currently over the British Isles provided us with 25 liters of fresh water in our dinghy during 3 hours of rain early this morning. Some 20 knots of wind from W came with it and made the anchorage a bit rolly for a couple of hours.
Just before lunchtime the sun came back. Reluctantly I crawled out from the v-berth where I'd been reading 'The Deperate Voyage' by John Caldwell all morning. Why? To bail out the dinghy and use the fresh water for laundry!
Another little front is forecasted to pass tomorow with associated winds of 30 knots at least during a few hours from SW. Will have a second look inte that tonight. If it looks bad, we'll probably move inte the marina tomorrow morning.
Apart from this, nothing much has happened. Oh, sorry, that's not true.
A couple of days ago I spent almost a full day (!) to install 2 spotlights in the cabin for reading. The nights are dark this time of year. A full day? yes, since the wiring called for emptying one locker at a time before drilling a couple of holes for the wires, and then the same but in reverse order. Repeat the process 6- 8 times with breaks for lunch and a 'mis-en-place' period in the morning to search for the right tools and other material needed.... Conclusion: It's a h**l lot easier to work on a boat when it's empty. Living on it, multiply every task you are undertaking with 4x the anticipated time and you are getting close to the truth.
Teh best comes last! Our neighbours, Steve and Colin on 'Zephyr' invited us over for dinner the other day. Superb food - like Mom's Cooking- by Colin and some local wine and lots of laughter and banter. Great Evening!
Colin's girlfriend is flying in on Thursday, so I'll guess we'll wait a few days before inviting them over to us again ;-)
It starts to feel like time to heave anchor again too, so hopefully the next dinner party can take place on the Algarve coast. That said, Isabelle and I want to spend a night at anchor in the supposedly desolated Sagres Bay just East of 'Cabo do Vincente' - Portugals SW corner. Thats 100 miles or thereabout from here, so we'll monitor the weather forecast after the frontal passage.
Yesterday, we made the 20 km bustrrip north to visit Sintra. Into the 19th century, Sintra was teh residence o the Portuguese King. The town was founded in the 8th century by the Moors. First of all we climbed uphill to the 'Castle of the Moors' (Castelo do Mouros) a veritable Eagle's Nest that actually reminds more of a fort than a castle. Amazingly enough it's wall si almost untouched since then, and as a couple of our pictures shows, the technique used in raising the stone walls shows the Arabian style.
The walls and towers of the fort (sorry, Castle) blends in a magical way with the surrounding nature and it can be seen from a long distance. On the hilltop one has good view all the way out on the Ocean so it's easily understood how strategically this choosen location was in those days.
After this combined trekking and historical/cultural affort we went downhill to the Historical Centre of Sintra (this is a UNESCO world heritage). Here the impressive mansions of the 72 Noble families of Portugal anno 1400-1550 is hiding behind high stone walls and as the apple in the pie the former Royal Palace, now known as National Palace. This is a well kept museum and when you see the pictures of the Kitchens (two of them!) in the Castle, you must bear in mind that those two enormous conical chimneys that make the silhouette so specail, is nothing but the chimneys from the kitchen stoves!
Note the 'rotisseurs' - Barbeque is not a new concept! ;-D
Yesterday we didn't even leave the boat. Admitted! What we did, beside just relaxing during this VERY hot and wind-less day, was Isabelle cleaned the whole interior of the boat, to get the salt out and I made a better version (Beta 1.01 for computergeeks) of the brackets and straps that s supposed to FIRMLY hold the life raft in place just aft of the main mast.
Regarding the salt it is reallly discouraging how quick it enters the boat. First i form of a fine mist/spray wjile at sea. In fact it's mostly so fine that ine cannnot take notice of it. Secondly it moves into the cabin with us eveery time we go down below decks. ON our feet, foul weather clothes and not to forget our hands. We have a non-negotiablle rule onboard to ALWAYS wash our hands in fresh water beofore touching anything sensitive. (read computer and other electronical gear). The issue with salt penetrating everything onboard was also a main reason for rebuilding the chart table thus providing better protection for the navigation computer and better functionality.
Enough ranting about that. Today, we really took a day off, and took the train to Lisbon, a thirty minute trip. We intended to start with the Maritime Museum in Belém, which is said to be the largest in the world. Just to find out that they are closed all Mondays. We should have thought of that. Many museum are closed on Mondays so no sensation.
Well, we had no problems spending a day walking from Belém to the old town and 'Castelo Sao Joao' on the highest hill. Here, Vasco da Gama went to see the King after his return from the Far East. The castle was here already 600 BC though and the Phenicians reportedly had it built. Later on, during the long period when the Moors held most of the Iberican Peninsula and Lisboa was an important stronghold and Port for them.
We ate Portugals national dish #1 for lunch - Bacalhao frita with french fries.
Bacalhao is cod, or at least in the 'cod family' and is sold in every supermarket in large quantities. It is dried and salted and comes in big 'flakes'..
It was well prepared and very good - but extremely salt according to our preconceptions. That could largely be cured with generous intake of the local beer.
We also managed to find a couple of hard ware stores and chandleries to visit. As usual.
Pictures uploaded in the Gallery from this charming and unpredictible city that feels very laid-back.