August 26th, 2013 / posted by paularath

A view of the vineyards of Bordeaux from our stateroom this morning.

We are cruising along the river past some of the world’s most famous vineyards in Bordeaux. It is a little misty and it looks just the way we pictured it, with lush vineyards and elegant chateaux all along the way. This afternoon we will go on a wine tour with a famous wine writer whose name is escaping me right now. The mind goes when surrounded by so much beauty!

Sorry the last blog abruptly ended. Sometimes the Internet goes down suddenly on the ship with no warning.

Yesterday we fulfilled a lifetime dream for me and visited the Guggenheim Bilbao museum. Ever since it opened in 1997 and I read about it in every magazine known to woman, I have wanted to see it. The Frank Gehry architecture is truly amazing. It is an engrossing, experiential edifice and plays with the senses.  The Richard Serra sculptures, in particular, can make you hear things and see things and experience weird sensations of being in a maze that is sometimes opening up around you and sometimes closing in on you.

The town of Bilbao is also a treat and we took a bus tour to see the many beautiful views of the old city – and the new.

The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao – we can cross it off our bucket list!

Jerry captured one of the weird sensations of being inside the Richard Serra sculptures at the museum!

Lisbon got shorted when the Internet went down. We spent three days there and it is such a rich cultural city. The first day we took a bus tour around the city to get oriented and see what we wanted to see more of. There is so much pride of place in Lisbon. They celebrate their explorers with monuments and squares throughout the city. The sidewalks, and many of the roads, are mosaic. Many buildings have tiles covering all across the front of them. So lovely!

Even the cathedral in Lisbon celebrates exploration with a rope theme – like the ropes of the old sailing ships.

Another monument to the explorers of Portugal.

The second day in Lisbon we courageously took a train to Sintra, a little hilltop medieval village. Unfortunately, thousands of others had the same idea on this August day. It was a traffic jam! The tiny roads, all mosaic and beautiful, and spectacular mountain views must be really gorgeous when you can see them – but it was just too crowded to really see them.

Not the best way to see Sintra!

On our last day in Lisbon we spent the entire day at the Gulbekian Museum, a true treasure of a museum. The Islamic art was amazing, as was the collection of Lalique. Don’t miss it if you’re in Lisbon!

Here’s how Fado music is sold in Lisbon. Not exactly like Amoeba, huh Duncan?

The neighborhood Fado truck in Lisbon.

I’ll be blogging more from Bordeaux, where we will stay two days, and then St. Malo, Guernsey, and Honfleur. We keep going from country to country on this fascinating cruise!

– Paula Rath

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