The Douro – Portugal’s River of Gold with Viking Cruises: Day 2

Monument to the Discoveries, LisbonOur first full day in Lisbon started with an excellent breakfast in the Terracio Reastaurant before we boarded our coach for a half day guided tour of the highlights of Lisbon.

On boarding the coach there was plenty of complimentary bottled water and we were also issued with our personal VOX ‘bluetooth’ headphone system. We have experienced these before with Viking and they are amazingly good to listen to the guide’s commentary from considerable distances.

We drove to the Belem district of Lisbon and made stops at the iconic ‘Monument to the Discoveries’ and the ‘Tower of Belem’.

We then drove the short distance to the Jeronimos Monastery. Arguably Lisbon’s most beautiful building is itself effectively a monument – celebrating the  wealth of the age of discovery and financed largely by the so-called ‘pepper money’, a tax levied on spices, precious stones and gold.

Day 2 Excursion TeamAnoher example of Viking’s excellent organisation: tickets had been pre-purchased and we were able to skip past the lengthy queues for admittance.

Once inside we found both the nave and the cloisters quite fascinating. The former housing the Tomb of Vasco da Gama.

The last visit of our guided tour was to the Alfalfa district. Originally the old Moorish district is famed for its narrow cobbled streets, Fado bars and restaurants and cellar like tavernas.

My wife and I declined to return to our hotel on the coach, preferring to climb the winding streets to the Castelo de Sao Jorge and admire the views over Lisbon from this massive fortress.

Elevador de Snta JustaDescending once again and heading for a metro station we made a small diversion to see another of Lisbon’s iconic structures, the rather eccentric Neo-Gothic ‘Elevador de Santa Justa’.

We quickly mastered the Lisbon Metro and were soon on our way to the final planned venue – the Estadio Benfica where we did the official stadium tour.

Overall an excellent day all made possible by the excellent services of Viking River Cruises who got the day off to such a good start.

This evening we are planning to dine out, heading back to the Alfalfa district in the hope of experiencing the Fado.

Silver Travel Advisor recommends Viking River and Ocean Cruises

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Richard Okill

Retired naval officer & businessman

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