Sailing the Tagus in Lisbon

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Amber Christian
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The afternoon is hot and sunny. It's definitely August in Lisbon. After a much needed post lunch siesta, we headed down to the river for a sunset cruise. The Tagus river is the longest river on the Iberian peninsula. It starts in the middle Eastern part of Spain, and flows through Spain and Portugal, emptying in the ocean near Lisbon.

As we get more familiar with Lisbon, we can see how their relationship to the water has influenced Lisbon and its culture. It's really easy to get down to the river, and out on to a boat for a sail. We arrive at our designated meeting point with our host. With Covid protocols, I feel like an odd burglar sneaking up to the boat. I mean seriously look at me, don't I look like I am about to burgle something? I'm covered from heads to ankles so I don't get a terrible burn, and I have my mask on. You do what you gotta do, right? It's a goofy experience, but we roll with it.

As we are sitting on the boat waiting to leave, I'm struck by all the palm trees we see. I didn't really realize there were so many palm trees in Lisbon. It reminds me that indeed we are somewhere new. We start off on our river cruise. Our journey starts off by the April 25th bridge, a red suspension bridge often compared to the Golden Gate bridge. But why is it called the April 25th bridge? It isn't a clever name, or is it?

The bridge was commissioned to be built by Salazar, and was inaugurated in 1966. It was originally named the Salazar Bridge. When Salazar's dictatorship was overthrown, the bridge was promptly renamed. It was named for the day the dictatorship was overthrown. Talk about a quick and easy name for a bridge, eh?

Out on open water, it is safe to remove our masks and enjoy the breeze. As we sail out on the river, we slowly watched the sun dip lower and lower behind the buildings. With the breezes from the river and a glass of wine, the pandemic has started melting away. Sometimes I just close my eyes and enjoy the breeze. The water has such a calming and grounding effect. As we sail along, we go past many of the famous sites along the riverfront- the Monument of the Discoveries, Belem tower, etc.

As we get closer and closer to sunset, we notice there is a distinct temperature difference out here on the water. It's almost chilly at times. We enjoy the last of the sinking sun over the horizon and sip our wine.

This wrapped up our first day in Lisbon- what a way to celebrate Matt's birthday! After this stellar plan, what am I going to do next year?

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