We sailed by the Rock of Gibraltar as we continued to Cadiz from Valencia.
I have travelled in southern Spain and North Africa over the years and have been to Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Cartagena, Cadiz, Seville, Cordova and the Island of Ibiza. Each city has its own charm and beautiful architecture. I love the narrow streets, small shops and tapas. Since I have seen Cadiz before, I just walked around the old city’s narrow winding alleys that connect the larger plazas and gardens. The Cadiz Cathedral took 116 years to complete and is one of the largest cathedrals in Spain. It is famous for its golden dome tiles. The beaches stretch 6 miles.
LISBON is the capital of Portugal and is spread over seven hills. St George Castle overlooks the city. The castle was built by the Moors in the 5th century and it was the royal palace until the 16th century.
I decided to take the hop-on hop-off 90 minute ride around the city on the first of the two days I was in this port. I like the old city best for walking the narrow streets. The old trolley cars are still running.
The east side of Lisbon was very modern with upscale architecture and high-rise condos and apartments. It seem like there is a Hard Rock Café in every big city in Europe. The young people are very proud of the modernization of their city.
Portugal became a Republic in 1974 from a dictatorship. Up until that time people were only educated through the third grade. From the 1980s and 1990s a new infrastructure was built including highways, schools and hospitals. Now all Portugal citizens have an opportunity for education through college. There are 10 million people in Portugal and most young people do not marry until between 25 and 35 years of age.
I went to Fatima the second day which is 76 miles north of Lisbon and a beautiful drive through the countryside of central Portugal. The fame of the village is the Apparitions of Our Lady of the Rosary to three shepherd children, Lucia and her cousins. The children witnessed monthly apparitions of the Virgin Mary from May to October, 1917. The last one on October 13, 1917 was witnessed by 70,000 “a day the sun danced”. The Chapel of Apparitions was built on the site. Over 300,000 people can gather in the courtyard for ceremonies and pilgrimages. It is estimated that nine million people visited this site in 2017.
A piece of the Berlin Wall was displayed. I had to borrow a pic because mine had too many shadows. The Wall was constructed in August 1961 and its demolition began in November 1989. A piece of the Wall was placed as a grateful memorial of God’s intervention for the fall of Communism as promised at Fatima.
OPORTO is Portugal’s second largest city where you see Port wine for sale throughout the city. I took a tour that includes the 1920s vintage riverfront Tram ride and a walk through the medieval Porto-Ribeira that ended up in a tavern. The red wine was some of the best I have had. Oporto was a beautiful city with very blue water. It is called the city of bridges.