Tuesday 2 April 2013

The Atlantic Coast of Western Europe

Embarkation day in Lisbon. ... Santa Apolonia Pier on the bank of the Rio Teju is directly opposite the city’s first Railway Station. Opened in 1865 it still bustles with life. A grand arch alongside leads into what is now the Military Museum. Built on the site of a 16th century shipyard this grand building houses what is said to be one of the largest collections of historic weapons in the world. Amongst them the sword of great Portugese explorer Vasco de Gama together with artefacts relating to his discovery of the sea route to India.

Safety drill complete, we set off in evening sun able to see from deck historic city buildings and passing under the huge 2.2 km long suspension bridge that connects the river banks. Constructed in 1966 and originally named Ponte de Salazar after the dictatorial Portugese Prime Minister of 1932 to 1968. The current name of Ponte de 25 Abril commemorates instead the date of the overthrow of his regime.

As the Captain welcomed passengers with a toast at his Cocktail Reception the stance of the personnel gives away that unfortunately the Atlantic welcomed Fram with some larger than friendly waves for a first night on board.