Lisbon, Portugal, September 2015

As part of our September trip with Christy, we toured Lisbon for 3 days.  Lisbon is the capital and largest city of Portugal.  One of the oldest cities in the world and the oldest in Western Europe, Lisbon is situated at the mouth of the Tagus River (see below).

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Praca do Comercio (Commerce Square), was rebuilt after the 1755 earthquake and tsunami, which destroyed the Royal Ribeira Palace.  It faces a huge square with statues seen below.

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The Avenue leading through the backside of the Arch of the Praca do Comercio.

 

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Castelo de Sao Jorge Castle (11th century Moorish Castle) is a national monument, positioned on one of the 7 hills of Lisbon.

Below are buildings and different sites seen in Lisbon.

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Rossio Square above and below, a great meeting place and located near Rossio Train station.

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Rossio Railway Station, built around 1890, connecting Lisbon to Sintra area.

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Street markets in Alfama, the oldest district in Lisbon, a picturesque labyrinth of narrow streets, small squares, vendors, Fado (Portuguese melancholy music) restaurants, and old houses (above and below pics).

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Santa Justa Lift, is an elevator connecting the lower streets of the Baixa with the higher Carmo Square and a major tourist attraction.

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One of the many trolleys on the streets of Lisbon.  More pictures of Lisbon in the future when we return with Orontes II.

 

 

Castle of Guzman, Tarifa, Spain, September 2015

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Castillo de Guzman El Bueno (Castle of Guzman the Good), built in 960 AD, is one of the best preserved in Spain. Tarifa is a bridge between Europe and Africa, and one of the most important ports through the strait of Gibraltar. Around 1292, after the Christian conquest by King Sancho IV the Brave, the castle’s governor, Alonso Perez de Guzman el Bueno, sacrificed his own son, instead of surrendering this stronghold that the king had entrusted to him.

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Preserved stone with coat of arms

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The castle entranceway

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Catapult for the castle

 

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A preserved carrier for royalty

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Inner castle wall.

Below are pictures of interior of Church of Santa Maria, within the walls of the Castle.

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Bronzed Ceiling is above area behind altar below

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Chairs inside church

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Outpost as seen from castle

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Christy on castle wall

 

Tarifa, Spain, September 2015

 

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Tarifa is a small town on the southernmost coast of Spain, across the Straits of Gibraltar facing Morocco.  It is a popular destination for wind sports.

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Lighthouse outside Tarifa, Spain

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Statue at entrance of Tarifa harbour

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Fortress at Tarifa Harbour

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Puerta de Jerez, entrance to the old city center, the only remaining medieval gated wall still standing from the 13th century.  Below is another gateway with Steve and Christy.

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Walkways to central Tarifa and our hotel

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The SHORT hallway to our 3rd story rooms.

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View from the upper terrace in our hotel.

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Iglesia de San Mateo (St Matthew’s Church), the main Gothic church of Tarifa, was supposed to have been built in 1506 on the remains of an old mosque.

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View of town from castle walls

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Above and below are monuments in central park area

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Narrow walkways in Tarifa.

Baelo Claudia, Tarifa, Spain, September 2015

Baelo Claudia, ancient Roman ruins north of Tarifa, Spain, on Costa da Luz (beach).  Its history lies in the trade routes serving Europe and North Africa with its strategic location near the straits of Gibraltar, and its fishing industry which supplied the popular Roman delicacy, garum (fish paste) to the whole Roman empire.  This town was thriving at the time of Emperor Claudius (41-45AD).  By the 2nd century, it was in decline, and almost destroyed by an earthquake and pirating.  It was abandoned in the 6th century.

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Excavations have revealed comprehensive remains of a Roman town with monuments of theatre, market, basilica and temple of Isis. The Visitor Center has lots of info and artifacts.  Above is their rendition of the layout of this town.

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The Roman Basilica (beach and large dune in center- the black dots are people climbing) above and below.

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Steve and pictures of Roman amphitheater (next 4 pics)

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Ruins for market area

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An aqueduct with Atlantic ocean in background

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Part of the temple of Isis (goddess of health, marriage and wisdom)

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Gibraltar, September 2015

Part of our holiday with our daughter, Christy, was a day trip to Gibraltar.  Steve and I went on a marina-finding tour for potential stays.  She stayed on the Spain side.

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Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory at the entrance/exit to the Mediterranean Sea, which is 8 miles wide at this point, therefore making this an important British Royal Navy base to control.  Gibraltar is 6.8 sq km (2.6 sq miles) with about 30,000 inhabitants.  The “ROCK of Gibraltar” is a major landmark of the area both by land and sea.

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THE ROCK!

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The Rock as seen from the runway.  You cross the runway by car, bus or foot to get from Spain to the residential, commercial and marina areas of Gibraltar.

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Midpoint of the Gibraltar airport runway!  YOU do look both ways!!  🙂

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Steve in the Gibraltar runway!

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We toured the marina we may stay at in the future, some chandleries for boat parts and the general area around the marina.

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British phone booth!  Not too many around these days, I would think!

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Looked like an outpost on the Rock.

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Caves or lookout points in Rock of Gibraltar.

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Guimaraes, October 2015

Guimaraes, a 9th century city, recognized as the “cradle of Portugal”, was classified as a World Cultural Heritage site by UNESCO in 2001.  We visited after our trip to Porto, per recommendation of Solange, our friend in Angra.  Guimaraes is 226 miles from Lisbon, easily accessible by trains and buses.

DSC08104 Templo de Nossa Senhora da Consolação (Church of our Lady of Consolation) with beautiful plaza and interior below

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Municipal building

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Arches in City Hall

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Oliveira Square with Padrao do Salado (pavilion)

Below are 5 pictures from Museu de Alberto Sampaio.  Initially built in 10th century as a monastery, changed to church in 12th century, then office and conference hall in 18th century, it is now a museum housing sacred art from the area.

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Inner grotto

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Arches of cloister

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Artwork, 18th century. (Mary, Jesus & Joseph on way to Egypt with cowgirl/cowboy hats from Texas!!)

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Silver-gilt triptych from 16th century representing Nativity story (above and below)

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Retained fortress wall across from Ducal Palace and Castle.  The Duke of Braganza’s Palace was built in the 15th century.  It is now used as an official residence of Portuguese President.

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Statue outside the palace

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Front of the Ducal Palace

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Huge tapestry in palace room

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Short interior arches

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Huge dining hall with ceiling structure below

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Below are pictures of the war rooms and battle equipment

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Part of the Catapult Exhibits

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Ramming pole

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One of 39 chimneys in palace

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Steve entering Chapel in the palace

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The altar in the palace chapel

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One of the bedchambers in the palace (VERY short beds!)

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Art pieces in palace

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Doorway into palace.

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Guimaraes Castle, a Medieval Castle, was classified as a National Monument in 1910.  It is under repair in areas and the interior keep is closed to the public.

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Igreja de Misericordia (Misericordia Church), built 1606.

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Municipal building.

Very interesting site to visit!

Unique experiences in Tangier, Morocco, September 2015

Per our research prior to travel, we read the guidebook for Spain by Rick Steve’s.  The last chapter details items for short trips over to Morocco.  He highly recommended a personal travel guide to diminish zealous requests for foreigners to part with their money for every vendor, panhandler, snake charmer, etc.  We followed his advice and hired Tifo Chebaa’s group (visittangier@gmail.com) and spent our 3 days with Sajid for a wonderful tour around Tangier and outlying areas for 150 euros for 3 adults.  It was worth it!  Some personal pictures follow for a one of a kind experience for us!

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Our personal guide, Sajid, took us on a whirlwind tour for our 3 days in Morocco.  He was kind, spoke good English and did his best to take us to sights which we requested.  He honored us with a tour of his home and stands above holding his daughter in his family’s home.

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The main family living room for the 3 story home.  Each family seems to have their own floor with separate kitchens and living space.

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His mother cooked this quinoa, vegetable, beef mid-afternoon meal for us which we shared in his living room.  We took gifts to thank them for allowing us time with their family and we were greeted with gifts from them as well.  It was a delightful visit.

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Earlier we had eaten lunch here, with Moroccan mint tea (fantastic!), this appetizer (below) called Split Pea Bessara and meat on a skewer (Steve likes to call it camel on a skewer!! LOL!).  Everything was delicious and we ate it all!!

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Above and below are pics of people getting water from a spring near Tangier.  Tasted good and cool!

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Flowers near the spring!

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Sintra, Portugal, September 2015

As part of our Portugal vacation with our daughter, Christy, we took a day trip (about an hour from Lisbon by train) to Sintra, an eclectic area of numerous monuments, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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The town of Sintra

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Art work on the roadway.

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There was really too much to see in 1 day for us, so we spent our day seeing the gardens around Quinta da Regaleira and one of the Sintra palaces, known as “the palace of Monteiro the Millionaire.”  This garden area is considered a magical and mysterious place leading people to a quest for paradise.

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Palace exterior

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Regaleira Catholic Chapel has scenes of Jesus and Mary’s life in the panels. Below chapel interior.

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Regateira Tower:  good views from the top

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Arch over one of the walkways

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Small gazebo

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Archway from underground tunnel looking over lake of the waterfall and rock bridge

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The grotto behind the lake was an extensive tunnel system.  We did not have time to fully explore them all, but it was very impressive.DSC07684Underground tunnel

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Christy in front of Portal of the Guardians, a pavilion hiding one of the entrances to the initiatic well.

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Steve in front of Fountain of Regaleira

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Christy on break!

 

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Fortress walls in Leda’s Grotto

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Above and  below pics of the Initiatic Well, a subterranean tower that sinks 27 meters into earth, accessible by a spiral stairway.  The wells are considered hallow spaces creating a relation between Heaven and Earth, linked to Tarot mysticism.  The bottom of the well connected to tunnels leading to other sections of the area.  One tunnel connected to the unfinished well and another came out behind one of the waterfalls.

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Above and below are the smaller, unfinished well

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We thoroughly enjoyed this area and if we get a chance will go back to see Pena Palace, Sintra National Palace and the Castelo dos Mouros (Moorish Castle).  The scenery is beautiful!

City sights in Tangier, Morocco, September 2015

Some more interesting areas we visited in Tangier.  It was a great experience.

 

Tangiers greatly exceeded our expectations.  We were traveling by plane and staying in a hotel, so we cannot speak to the facilities for yachts.  However, we greatly enjoyed the three days we were there.  We found the people very open and friendly, even though English is not commonly spoken or understood.  French and Arabic are by far the most common languages.

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Fortress on outskirts of the city near the Mediterranean.

 

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A pink mosque tower

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Christy in front of one of central parks

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Popular restaurant in Medina area;  Dar Lidam

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Tiles in front of Sultan’s palace

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Wind turbines outside the city

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Homes in Tangier

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Downtown Tangier outside our hotel

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Taxis near central park area

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Moroccan navy ship

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The oldest banyan tree in Tangier

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Lucky palm symbols

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Rembrandt Hotel, where we stayed.

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View from the rear of our hotel.  We enjoyed cooling off in the pool.

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Mosque archway

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City street with vendors and small stores.