Sunday, April 17, 2016

Our Cruise (the condensed version)

Yesterday we got home from our very relaxing cruise across the Atlantic from Florida to England.

I don't believe I have ever felt so relaxed.

We had some wonderful tablemates that became more like friends.

We learned a fun new card game called Hand and Foot.

We ate way too much good food.

I had a lot of time to crochet.

We also saw Lisbon, Balboa, the the Battle of Normandy Cemetery and the Bayeux Tapestry.

According to legend, Lisbon was founded and named by Ulysses. The truth of this is lost in the mist of time .

However, it is true that it was a Roman city and later, during the Middle Ages, a Muslim city.

Unfortunately, a devastating earthquake in 1755 destroyed 85percent of the city's structures.

The city was rebuilt to modern 18th century standards under the guidance of its then Prime Minister.

In 1974 the mainly bloodless Carnation Revolution did away with the right wing Estado Novo government and established the Portuguese Third Republic.

In 1998 Lisbon hosted Expo 98 commemorating the 500th anniversary of Vasco de Gama's voyage to India. This modern and attractive part of the city is bustling.

However, as a whole, Lisbon is a city undergoing transition and renewal as a result of recent economic challenges. But the spirit of the city remains strong and it would be interesting to go back in a few years to see how it reinvents itself.

Bilbao was a clean, neat and beautiful city with lovely parks, flowers and fountains.

The metro, tram and Bilbaobuses make exploring easy and inexpensive.

The old quarter, mainly a pedestrian only area, was a wonderful place to do a walkabout.

The architecture was wonderful and the little shops fun to explore.

We stopped in one small cafe for tapas and rioja.  It brought back fond memories of when we lived in Spain.

The Battle of Normandy cemetery commemorates the thousands who bravely fought on D-Day, June 6, 1944 and after.

Situated on the bluff overlooking Omaha Beach, it is the final resting place of 9387. This represents less than half of those that died.

The names of 1557 are inscribed on a semi circular wall, paying tribute to those whose bodies were never found.

Touring the cemetery was a profound and emotional experience. We hope to return to experience more and pay further tribute to the thousands who made the ultimate sacrifice on those beaches.

The Bayeux Tapestry is 230 feet long and 20 inches high.

In just shy of 60 scenes it depicts the events leading up to the Normandy Invasion of England and continues through William the Conqueror's victory at the Battle of Hastings.

Done in the late 11th century, the exquisite embroidery is still vibrant and harmonious.

The original colors of the wool were dyed using vegetable dyes and beautiful terracotta, blue green, dull gold, olive green, blue and small amounts of dark blue and sage green were the result.

Later repairs to the tapestry were done using yellow, orange and light greens.

Commissioned as a piece of propaganda, the tapestry has evolved into a beautiful treasure.

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