10 Day Rome to Lisbon cruise


Palma de Mallorca

Lisbon, our last port, requires more than one day to see.  We did give it our best, however.  Getting off the ship in the early morning we decided to go shopping since our tour wasn't until the afternoon.  This simple task isn't that easy.  Yes, they have taxis right outside the ship, but they are for "tour only".  Generally, when we have seen this type of thing in the past, it was due to a bribe being required by someone to let the taxis into the port area and therefore the drivers only wanted an expensive fare to make up for it.  I have no idea if this is true here, but it certainly looks that way.  There is a bridge that swings out so you can cross from the port to the bus/trolley/train station.  It was never in place.  You had to take a free bus (at least free to us) around the long way.  Here there were no taxis, for some odd reason.  We took the bus to the shopping area.  The Portuguese people are as bad as Americans and French about not being multilingual.  They are friendly enough, but have less English than we have Portuguese.

This plaza is the place to be let off the bus to go shopping.   It's called Commerce Square. To shop, go through the big arch.  The Royal Palace used to be in this square, but the king moved after an earthquake in 1755 destroyed two thirds of the city.  The guy on the horse is King D. José I the Impotent, hitting the road after the frightening earthquake.  Deciding he'd had enough of stone and lime buildings he moved into a wooden one known as the Royal Hut.  When the Royal Hut burned to the ground in 1794 (José died in 1777) his daughter, Maria I who married her uncle (Dom Pedro III the Incestuous), decided she wanted a bigger house.  Then the nasty French invaded and turned her newly confiscated home (Queluz Palace) into their headquarters.  Deciding the climate would be better in Brazil, she took the entire Royal family and most their possessions to South America.  Maybe that's why their national symbol is a chicken!

It doesn't take very much shopping before you realize that their symbol is a colorful rooster.  It is in all the shops.  They have the same problem with coffee as the Italians; it's about an ounce in a tiny cup.

In the afternoon we took a tour of Sintra and Cascais.  Sintra is a mountain village that was kind of like a resort home for the royalty.  They have two in Sintra: the Royal Palace and Pena Castle.  The Moors also had a castle on the highest hill which was mostly destroyed.


Pena Castle was closed so we went to the Royal Palace which is right in the village of Sintra.  We were so rushed due to all the tour groups in front of us we didn't have time to shop in the village.


The Royal Palace is known for two events, neither of which I could remember clearly after the tour.  Guess I should have taken notes!  One event was dealing with one of their Kings whose younger brother imprisoned him in a bedroom in the palace for 12 years.  Not sure what happened after that.  Maybe it was one of those iron mask kind of things.  


The second event was the Queen finding the King (KingJoăo I the Horny) having sex with with a willing "lady" on a table in this fairly large meeting room.  His response was the standard answer for Portuguese kings; It is for the good of the people.  I guess she wasn't buying it too well and rumors of his liaison with his wife's lady in waiting spread throughout the court.  I assume to emphasize his motivation for this seeming lack of judgment, he had 136 magpies (one for each lady in waiting) painted on the ceiling of this room.  Each bird has "Por Bem" (for good) painted on it's beak.  I have no idea if he was bragging or goal setting.