Tag Archives: End of the World

Fun Photo Friday — Lisbon, Sintra, and Cabo da Roca


Today’s Fun Photo Friday presents some of my favorite photos from our Rodrigo Bastos-guided We Hate Tourism tour.  One of the great things about hiring local talent for tours is that you get the inside scoop on all sorts of oddities, such as the Portuguese mistrust of the European Union in general, and in particular the immense dislike for German Chancellor Angela Merkel who is seen below as a puppet master manipulating Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho (left) and former Minister of Foreign Affairs Paulo Portas (currently Deputy Prime Minister).  By the way, Rodrigo tells me that the sailor outfit is a reference to two second-hand German submarines Mr. Portas ordered purchased even after his own armed forces advised that they were unnecessary to Portugal’s overall defense strategy.

Angela Merkel Graffiti

Angela Merkel Graffiti

Those opinions of Chancellor Merkel are not strictly Portuguese, by the way.  Similar resentment is displayed throughout southern European countries hit hard to the Worldwide Great Recession — Greece, Italy, and Spain in particular from what we witnessed on this voyage.

But enough of the politics.  Here’s some more of my favorite shots from this great and exciting tour (Thanks again, Rodrigo, and thank you We Hate Tourism) — click on any image below to bring up today’s slideshow:

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Sintra — Where to go just before the End of the World


Sintra Statuary

Sintra Statuary

Our guide Rodrigo Bastas of We Hate Tourism Tours dropped us off a short walk away from the old town center of Sintra and very near the Câmara Municipal (City Hall), an intriguing structure topped with a magnificent, intricately tiled tower.

Câmara Municipal — City Hall

Câmara Municipal — City Hall

As Rodrigo drove up the hill into the old town we started our trek along the scenic Volta Duche.  We were greeted along the way with many examples of statuary.

Sintra Statuary

Sintra Statuary

There was statuary to admire:

Sintra Statuary

Sintra Statuary

There was statuary to remind you of breakfast:

Starbuck's?

Starbuck’s?

There was even statuary upon which to sit and admire the views:

 

Ursula and a Marble Pillow

Ursula and a Marble Pillow

We also passed what would have appeared to be a Moorish-style bus stop, but Rodrigo had forewarned us that this was actually a Moorish-style fountain.  This structure was built in 1922 by local sculpture Jose de Fonseca.

Fonte Mourisca — Moorish Fountain

Following a short uphill hike of about perhaps twenty minutes we reached the old town portion of Sintra.  There we rejoined Rodrigo who gave us directions so that we could split up and head off in various directions.  Of course no blog about Sintra would be complete without mention of the Sintra National Palace which dates back to 1415 and was in more or less continuous use until as late as 1910.

Sintra National Palace

Sintra National Palace

The two conical kitchen chimneys are depicted in drawings as far back as 1509, as you can see from this Wikipedia image from their article on Sintra National Palace (at this link):

Conical Kitchen Chimneys in 1509

Some of the building in Sintra date back all the way to the 8th and 9th Centuries.  That’s pretty amazing, and makes for little wonder as to why Sintra obtained UNESCO World Heritage Site status back in 1995.  Across from the National Palace was this little tile-covered charmer (date unknown):

Across from the Sintra National Palace

Across from the Sintra National Palace

Of course part of the charm of Sintra is walking the streets and enjoying the architectural details:

A Charming Sintra Street Scene

A Charming Sintra Street Scene

Sintra Balcony

Sintra Balcony

Come back on Fun Photo Friday for a gallery of my favorite Lisbon, Sintra, and Cabo da Roca shots from this particular voyage.

 

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The End of the World is Today


Lisbon Panorama

Lisbon Panorama

Today I’m going to take you to the End of the World.  Oh, and we’re going to Lisbon as well.  Both spots being in Portugal, of course.

The Western-most Extension of Europe — Beyond this Point There Be Dragons!

The Western-most Extension of Europe — Beyond this Point There Be Dragons!

What?  You didn’t know that this cape in western Portugal is the End of the World?  Well, it was before the end of the 15th Century!  Sailors were admonished to stray not far beyond Cabo da Roca, for beyond that point, “. . . there be dragons.”  Cabo da Roca is the westernmost extension of continental Europe, extending further west than even most of the British Isles.  Only the western edge of Ireland extends farther into the Atlantic than Cabo da Roca.

Cabo da Roca Lighthouse

Cabo da Roca Lighthouse

 Ursula and I had been to Lisbon twice previously, thus once again we opted to head out from beyond the MS Ryndam’s latest port of call.  So, planning far in advance of our initial sail date, Ursula put together via online a group of fellow passengers for a tour that would take us quickly through Lisbon and beyond to  Sintra and Cabo da Roca.  We’ll look at Sintra on Wednesday, and enjoy my favorite photos of all three locations on Fun Photo Friday.

Our Tour Group led by Guide Rodrigo Bastos (kneeling at right)

Our Tour Group led by Guide Rodrigo Bastos (kneeling at right)

But first a plug for our very gracious and fun tour guide — Mr. Rodrigo Bastos of We Hate Tourism Tours.  After putting together online our little group, Ursula contacted We Hate Tourism.  They put us with one of the most charming guides we had the pleasure of meeting on our month-long cruise, Rodrigo Bastos whom you see in the picture above.

Lisbon Fortress

Lisbon Fortress

We Hate Tourism is as unconventional as its name:  The guides don’t dress up in coats and ties.  The vehicles are reliable, but they’re certainly not new.  The chatter between the guide and the guided is not only informative, but also informal and filled with lighthearted fun.  Rodrigo gave us a whirlwind tour of Lisbon, then proceeded into the Portuguese countryside, but before leaving Lisbon behind we stopped for some dramatic sights along the way.

Lisbon

Lisbon

Lisbon Fountain

Lisbon Fountain

Then it was off to Sintra first (more on that Wednesday), followed by Cabo da Roca.  If you’ve been following our progress during this voyage then you know that we had exceptional weather throughout.  The only overcast day we had prior to arriving to Lisbon was in on the morning we arrived to Cadiz and the first part of our trip from there into Seville.  Unfortunately our luck was way past its expiration date, and our expedition through Lisbon and beyond was beneath a solid overcast the entire day.  Still, I’m not complaining.  We were way overdue for some weather, and I managed to compensate for the skies by highlighting points of interest that were not dependent upon a cerulean background.

Cabo da Roca

Cabo da Roca

At Cabo da Roca we strolled along the high cliffs overlooking the Atlantic (a photo of which I’m saving for Fun Photo Friday).  Arriving back at the van, Rodrigo surprised us with a charming picnic lunch complete with wine service.

Rodrigo Bastos present lunch and wine at The End of the World

Rodrigo Bastos present lunch and wine at The End of the World

It was a delightful meal that included Portuguese cheeses and meats, bright red fully ripened tomatoes, fresh bread with which to make sandwiches, Portuguese olives, and even potato chips (we were all American, after all).  One trick Rodrigo showed us was to slice the bread, layer in some cheeses and meats, carefully place on top of those layers a small tomato or two, put into place the top slice of bread, and then squeeze the sandwich together to pop the tomato and let its juices act as a condiment.  It was quite a novelty that worked very well.

Lunch is Served!

Lunch is Served!

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