Monday, May 31, 2010

Lisbon

It is 11:05 AM and we are leaving the Tagus River and out into the
Atlantic after a stay in Lisbon since yesterday morning. I assume that
all cruise lines have the cabin stewards make towel animals while making
up the cabin in the evening. This was the one our steward make last
night - a towel animal doing the New York Times crossword puzzle.

Yesterday was a very full day. In the morning after breakfast we boarded
a bus at 8:30 AM and headed for the shrine at Fatima. Fatima is about an
hour and a half drive from Lisbon. Before we reached Fatima though we
stopped at the Basilica of Our Lady of Victory, a huge church in a very
small village. It was built about the 15th century to commemorate a
battle of the Portugese over the French. (Can you imagine St. Monica's
Church on Genesee Street being dedicated to some battle?) Mass was going
on in the basilica when we arrived there and there were probably a
thousand people attending mass as it was the Feast of the Holy Trinity
which apparently is big in Portugal. Along the right side aisle were
almost a hundred decorated carts filled with loaves of bread. Following
the mass was to be a procession through the village with the carts a
part of it. A portion of the basilica is the burial sites of a number
of Portugese kings and members of their families.

Leaving the basilica, we then drove to the Shrine at Fatima. As was the
case with the basilica, mass was also in process when we arrived. This
mass was celebrated outside with the huge altar in front of the basilica
and the crown in the square was probably close to a hundred thousand
people. The photos from there will be posted on Flickr when we get back
home.

Last evening we took a tour of the city and then ate at a Fado
restaurant. Fado is Portugese folk entertainment with music and singing.
We were there until probably 11:00 PM and it was a very enjoyable
evening. The only downside of the evening was the menu was a fixed
menu. The entree was duck and rice. I have had duck before and
absolutely hate it. It is probably the greasiest fowl known to man. I
absolutely did not eat it - stuck with the rice.

Right now (11:55 AM) it is very foggy on the ocean and the ship sounds
its horn ever couple of minutes. I hope that doesn't last. I had hoped
to read on the balcony this afternoon as the sun was out. We will have
to see.

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