31 October 18 - Lisbon, Portugal

Today I am in beautiful Lisbon, Portugal. This was the view from my balcony when we arrived in Lisbon last night.

Bathed in pure Atlantic light, crowned by the storybook St. George's Castle and straddling seven hills, Lisbon is one of Europe's most visually striking capitals. The city has a genuine friendliness and blissfully laid-back pace. At once nostalgic and progressive, Lisbon's charm shines through in everyday life -- listening to the mournful fado songs in the Moorish Alfama's alleys, indulging in custard tarts in gilded Art Nouveau patisseries and living it up at a Bairro Alto street party.

Nothing says Lisbon like a ride on century-old tram 28, which trundles past stately plazas, Estrela Basilica's graceful dome and the Romanesque Sé Cathedral. Just steps away, the Moorish Alfama quarter's mazy lanes are full of laundry billowing, neighbors gossiping and melancholic fado songs. Down by the river, Jerónimos Monastery's fantastically ornate Manueline cloisters whisk you back to Portugal's Age of Discovery.

Since I had been to Lisbon before I decided to take a tour to Sintra and visit the Quinta da Regaleira palace. Unfortunately it was a very cold and rainy day so it spoiled the photo taking but I made the best of it.

Before returning to the ship I stopped in a quaint cafe and had this marvelous custard-filled pastry and a decadent Cappuccino.

When ships leave port they always have small tug-boats called pilot boats to steer them out of the harbour. It was fun to see this one from my balcony.

 And my doggy of the day is . . . . . . .


30 October 18 - Day at Sea

Once again I had a great day at sea. Slept in and nursed what's left of my cold. I love sea days because it allows me to relax without a schedule to follow, I can read a book on the balcony staring out at the sea, so peaceful.

Check back tomorrow to see my report on Lisbon!


29 October 18 - Casablanca, Morocco

Today finds me in Casablanca, Morocco. Because of the movie legend I was interested in seeing this city. It's not what I expected since it is less romantic in essence but interesting nonetheless.

Modern-day Casablanca is Morocco's capital in all ways except ceremonial. The teeming city is the country's largest, with a population going on five million, the majority of whom are only first- or second-generation inhabitants. Casa, as the city is popularly called, is a new city, having grown from a small village of less than a few thousand only 150 years ago. Although a Muslim city, the veil is rarely seen here, and the mixing of men and women is the most open of anywhere in Morocco.

The city center is experiencing a mini boom, with new hotels going up, old ones being refurbished, and an ever-expanding restaurant scene. There's no doubt that Casablanca lacks the allure of some other cities and regions, but taken for what it is, this modern city could be considered a true reflection of today's Morocco.


One of the highlights of my morning tour was a visit to the crown jewel of the city of Casablanca, the Hassan II mosque which has the highest minaret in the world and is the third largest mosque in the world. It truly is beautiful.

After the mosque visit we continued to visit the city and seaside as well as another church.


I had booked a night tour of Casablanca and they returned us to the Mosque to see it by night and then we were off to a restaurant for dinner including a belly dancer performance.

And my doggy for the day is . . . . . .