We finally arrived in Gibraltar today, so had to celebrate!! We berthed (called “stern-to”, as Steve backs into the slip and we exit from the stern of our boat to shore) to the left of the former cruise ship below (now a floating casino/hotel). The Rock of Gibraltar is to the right of the ship! In European Union (EU) countries, all non EU visitors have a 90 day visa limiting your stay in the EU countries. Gibraltar was our exit area out of the EU, so we stayed here almost 2 months, getting our EU visa back!The celebratory dinner below lasted us 4 MEALS and yes, we tried to walk off ALL those calories!!Gibraltar’s size is 2.6 square miles with 7.5 miles of shoreline. Their airport runway must be crossed to get to the city of Gibraltar, once you enter the country from Spain (walking or vehicular), or leaving the airport terminal. Flights are occasional, so you walk across the runway when the lights are green, OR wait for the jets to pass when the lights are red and chains are up to keep you out of the way! YES, the jets are loud, but we rarely had a flight after 10 PM. Closest we have ever lived to a runway though!!Some beautiful sunsets overlooking the bay of Gibraltar towards the coast of Morocco! Interesting artwork near the shops in Gibraltar! There is a lot of military history here, even for such a small area, but it had a VERY strategic location, that lots of countries wanted and apparently still do!
More Gibraltar pictures after our trip to Palermo, Sicily, Italy to see Steve’s brother David, wife, Tamra, and their sons, Tanner and Trent!
We really have to say this was one of our most surreal experiences!! After all the years of dreaming, planning, saving, working on the boat, planning and charting courses, working on the boat some more, sailing and more dreaming, WE WERE FINALLY IN THE STRAITS!! It was a phenomenal experience! At this point, we even agreed, we had definitely completed our crossing of the Atlantic!! Above are the Atlas Mountains in northern Morocco, Africa. Yes, there were quite a few ships in the straits, but westbound ships stay on the African side of the straits and eastbound on the European side. Pleasure boats like ours stay closer to shore and definitely out of their way. We still check in and out with the Gibraltar Ship Traffic Controller, so they know we are there! Below is one of the ferries crossing the straits from Spain to Morocco!Above, finally a view of the ROCK of Gibraltar!! Almost there!!
While getting the mast work complete, we did take some time to sightsee around Lisbon again! Loved the murals they applied to the trains that took us around! Above, enjoyed meeting new friends, the Hall family, at St. Mary’s church in Sao Pedro do Estoril, and spending a wonderful evening over dinner and talking about travel and families!
Below, Steve and I celebrating when Portugal won the European Soccer Cup!!!Above, Sculpture at Vasco da Gama Plaza area, a major tourist and shopping area.
Below is the beachfront property the bow of Orontes II overlooked when we were in the boatyard!!! Above are pictures from one of the Botanical Gardens and below, one of the Natural History Museums in Lisbon. More pictures from one of the archaeological museums. Steve replacing the head on one of the broken statues!Lisbon was a wonderful place to visit with lots of history, great people, culture, reasonable prices and memories!
Belem, derived from the Portuguese word for Bethlehem, is located at the mouth of the River Talgus, 3.7 miles west of Lisbon. This area first attracted mariners and commercial activities. Archaeological evidence suggests human occupation since the Paleolithic era (2.6 million years ago).Jeronimos Monastery, founded around 1459. It also includes the Church of Santa Maria.Entrance to main Church and cloister Above and below is Padrao dos Descobrimentos, monument of the Discoveries, on the northern bank of the Tagus River, celebrating the Portuguese Age of Exploration during the 15th and 16th centuries. Belem Lighthouse Above is Belem Tower, UNESCO World Heritage Site, built in 16th century, as a military fortification on the Tagus River. One of our visits was with Christy!! Our second visit was with our good friend from the Azores, Elisa!! And of course, the specialty of Lisbon, one of the bakeries for Pastel de nata (egg tart pastry), which is one of Steve’s favorite num-nums yet!
This year’s Tall Ships Race started in Antwerp, Belgium, on July 7th and will end in Cadiz, Spain on July 31st. We were lucky to join in the festivities on July 23rd while they were docked on Tagus, River, Lisbon and then watched them leave on July 25th for their next sail to Cadiz.
Below are some of our pictures:Above is Norway’s 97 meter Barque, built in 1914.Above is Italy’s 102 meter Ship, built in 1931, as proudly stated below! Above is Mexico’s 89.7 meter Barque, built 1982.Above and below are pictures of Venezuela’s Barque, which we toured.
We had a great day!!
A road trip around the Atlantic coast of Portugal from Lisbon to Fatima!! Today our first stop was Cabo da Rosa, the westernmost point of mainland Portugal and continental Europe! Drizzly and very cool! Below, the lighthouse overlooks the promontory towards the Atlantic. Next on to Nazares, one of the most popular seaside resorts on Atlantic coast of Portugal, and a world breaking surf site for waves, 78-100 feet tall! (Google: “Nazares surf” or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5g6I-FOguQ for great pictures!) “Boa Sorte”, means “good luck” in Portuguese and was the name of our boat on Eagle Mountain Lake, now belonging to Cory and Heather!Portugal is well-known for its mosaic designs in many sidewalks all over the country! And also has narrow alleys, as found throughout Europe. Then on to Fatima! What a surreal experience! One of the most peaceful towns I have ever stayed in! The Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary was begun in 1928 and completed in 1954. The tower is 213 feet high, decorated by a crown of bronze (weighing 15,000 pounds) and topped with an illuminated cross. The carillon consists of 62 bells with 15 altars within the church dedicated to the 15 mysteries of the Rosary. The Sanctuary of Fatima is the grouping of the religious buildings and structures, including the Basilica, the Chapel of Apparitions, a great oak tree where the 3 children were first visited by Mary, a section of the Berlin Wall, and other monuments. The Chapel of the Apparitions is the center of the sanctuary, located at the exact location of the Marian Appariations, marked by a marble pillar and enclosed case with image of the Virgin Mary.We attended the rosary at 8:30 PM followed by the procession. The Procession of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Fatima Square after the reciting of the rosary and blessing of all items brought here.
Tomorrow we tour the rest of Fatima!!