Fatima tour, July 5th, 2016

Day 2 in Fatima:  Steve slept in and I went to 7:30AM mass in the Basilica.  Beautiful sunrise, peaceful morning and feeling of reverence!We walked to the Basilica of the Holy Trinity, (below), which is a huge modernistic church on the other side of the plaza from the Basilica of Our Lady of Fatima.  It was consecrated in 2007, due to the need for seating at services for the large number of pilgrims visiting this Blessed site (estimated at 4-5 million per year)!We then hiked to the Via Sacre, where Jacinta, Lucia and Francisco were visited by the “Angel of Peace”  in 1916.  This garden/path is composed of 15 chapels, including the Stations of the Cross.  

This was our first pilgrimage to Our Lady and definitely made an impression!  A very unique experience!

Nazares to Fatima, Portugal, July 4th, 2016

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!!


Touring Evora, Portugal, June 30, 2016

Today we continued our walk around Evora seeing the sights until we took the train back to Lisbon!  Below are pictures of the medieval walls around the city. Then we arrived at Aqueduto da Agua da Prata (Silver Water Aqueduct).  Amazing work! Above and below are Moura’s Gate which was the original entrance to Evora.  The globular 16th-century Renaissance fountain is in the center of the square with Roman towers in the background.

Above and below is Igreja da Graca, an old church and convent, currently in use by the Portuguese Armed Forces.  Construction ended in 1511 and it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Next stop:  Lisbon and back to the boat!!  Enjoyed this unique visit!!

Chapel of Bones and Evora, Portugal, June 29, 2016

Today we rode the train to Evora!  Lots of recommendations for THE place to see a “Chapel of Bones”, so we went and toured the city!  Evora, inhabited since the Neolithic period, has numerous archaeological monuments from ancient peoples, Arabs and then the Romans.  It was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1986. Below are the beautiful panoramic views from the top of the Cathedral!    Then we visited the Roman Temple of Diana in the center of historic Evora.  The initial temple was built around 1st century AD in honor of Augustus. We stopped for a refreshing lunch with lots of sangria!  Of course, it was delicious in the hot weather!  Afterwards we resumed our tour of the city looking for the “Chapel of Bones”  Medieval walls dating from 14th to 17th centuries with a beautiful park following its length. Then another church!    

The Capela dos Ossos, “Chapel of Bones”, was built in the 16th century by a Franciscan monk, for contemplation about life being transitory.  The Chapel is 18 by 11 meters and contains about 5000 skeletons.  Then we visited their artistry and Nativity set museum. At the end of this long day, it was definitely time for a glass of wine!

Lisbon and tour of Christ the King Monument, June 25, 2016

Today we took the train to Lisbon, ferry across the Tagus River and the bus up the hill to Christ the King Monument/Sanctuary, built to resemble the one in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil! Above and below are panoramic views from the top of the monument (the water is the River Tagus).  Across the river is Lisbon, and the monument is in Setubal, Portugal. Above and below (in distance) shows the leaning marina tower at the entrance of the shipyard where Orontes II is located awaiting her new mast!!  From my internet reading, it appears that Portugal usually keeps a contingency of 3 submarines since WWII.  There are presently 2 listed in the Lisbon Naval Base at this time. Apparently this one is now out of service in Setubal! The Dom Fernando II e Gloria is a wooden-hulled, 50 gun frigate.  She was launched in 1843 and active until 1878 after traveling more than 100,000 miles.  She was destroyed by fire in 1963, but restored in 1990 as a museum ship.  We then ferried back over to Lisbon to enjoy a wonderful dinner while watching an Irish soccer match in an Irish pub!  What a beautiful day seeing this iconic landmark in Portugal!

Day 31, Touring Dublin, June 21, 2016

Today we spent the day touring Dublin! Above is the Custom House, a neoclassical 18th century building, and below is the Spire of Dublin, also titled the Monument of Light, a stainless steel, pin-like monument 120 meters (394 feet) high.  It replaced the Nelson’s Pillar after the 1966 bombing by IRA members. Above and below, the General Post Office on O’Connell Street, completed in 1818. Above is the O’Connell Monument, memorial to Daniel O’Connell, the 19th century nationalist leader.  The monument stands at the entrance to the street named after him, which is Dublin’s main thoroughfare at 50-54 yards wide. The River Liffey Trinity College, founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I, is one of the 7 ancient universities of Britain and Ireland, as well as Ireland’s oldest. Above the Campanile, a bell tower, sitting prominently near the middle of Trinity College and one of its most iconic landmarks.  Superstition and college tradition states that any student passing beneath the campanile when the bells toll will fail their exams, causing some to never pass underneath until they graduate! Above is Trinity College Chapel, completed in 1798.     Above and below are pics of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, dating from 1220 AD.  It is the Anglican National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland.

Above is the Memorial Tree for those whom have died and below is the spiral staircase leading to the Cathedral organ.  The city of Dublin can trace its origin back more than 1000 years!  Above and below are part of the walls and gates, some raised by the Ostmen starting in the 9th century. Finally, Steve gets to HIS ultimate destination in Dublin!!  LOL!!  Guinness Brewing was started over 250 years ago!  Thank goodness we made it in time!  Above and below are panoramic views of Dublin from the Gravity Bar at the top of Guinness Storehouse!!  Above is Phoenix Park, the largest park in Europe at 1,760 acres.  It houses the residence of the Irish president and Dublin Zoo. Our last thatched roof in Ireland!!  What a wonderful holiday in the British Isles!  We had a fabulous time and enjoyed our time with friends and new experiences!!

June 22, we flew out of Dublin airport back to Lisbon and Orontes II!  HOME AGAIN!      We enjoyed the Gaelic language on the signs but never tried to learn this language!

Day 30, Belfast and the Titanic, June 20, 2016

Today we took the train to Belfast! We arrived in Belfast and started walking!! We crossed the River Lagan to get to the Titanic Exhibition!  Continuing on our walk to the the Titanic Quarter, East Belfast, the world’s largest Titanic attraction.  It is built on the shipyard site where the RMS Titanic was built.  The angular building itself resembles the ships prows and stands 126 feet high, the same height as the Titanic’s hull.  As the facade is covered in silver anodized aluminum shards, the locals nicknamed the building, “The Iceberg”. We are standing inside the lines of where the Titanic was built!  I am where one of the 4 smoke stacks would have stood on deck. Above is the Albert Memorial Clock tower in Queen’s Square, Belfast, completed in 1869. Below are pics of Belfast City Hall, completed in 1906, built of Portland stone with a copper-dome.  Queen Victoria stands at the front entrance. We ate a late lunch at the Crown Saloon, Great Victoria Street, one of Northern Ireland’s popular pubs, renovated in 1885.

We then headed back to Dublin on the train!

Day 27, Tours and Fastnet Rock, June 17, 2016

Today, Nick drove us to their other home in Baltimore, Ireland (views below from and of his front porch).  Then we walked up to a beacon, enjoying the countryside! Grandma Pat and Cory, couldn’t pass up chia head, without thinking of YOU!!  Love ya!! Then we took Nick’s rib, (BIG dinghy), out for a tour of nearby islands, inlets, lunch (a pint, of course) and tour around Fastnet Rock!! Fastnet Rock, a small islet in the Atlantic Ocean, is 13 kilometers (8 miles) from the mainland and 4 miles SW from Cape Clear Island.  It is the most southerly point of Ireland and 177 feet high.  Many legends have formed around this famous landmark, due to storms, shipwrecks, and the tragic events of the RORC Fastnet Race in 1979.  Nick gave us a unique experience to motor around such a landmark with sunshine and great weather!  We even saw some seals around the rocks!  A memorial monument to honor those lost during the Fastnet Race of 1979 on Cape Clear Above is the 1800’s lighthouse on Cape Clear Island that preceded the Fastnet Rock lighthouse. Then back to Baltimore for the “Pirate’s Party”!!

Our last night in Baltimore was a treat!  Thanks, Nick and Jan!!