Travels With Victoria: From Lisbon to A Coruna, Spain

Lisbon from the Tagus River

Victoria here, recently back from a month in Europe, which started with a two week cruise up the Atlantic coast of Portugal, Spain and France, ending in Dover. We began our Cruise from Lisbon to Dover  by flying to Madrid to enter the EU, then on to Portugal. With an extra day to stroll the pleasant streets of Lisbon, we took a Metro (subway) ride to the waterfront. Once we found the spot where our ship would dock the next day, we toured the nearby National Army Museum.
I was very naughty and snapped a forbidden photo (without my flash, of course) of a Portugese uniform from the Peninsular War. (Why are many museums so eager to forbid pictures?)
In the courtyard of the museum, they were quite amenable to pictures.  Significant scenes from the military history of Portugal were executed in blue and white tiles. Magnificent.
The grounds of the Foundation Gulbenkian offered us a perfect venue for a morning stroll before we departed Lisbon the next day. The two museums, the institute, and the library on the grounds were the gift of the late philanthropist Calouste Gulbenkian, and they house great treasures of the world’s artistic and cultural heritage.

We left Lisbon on a sunny afternoon, cruising out of the Tagus River into the Atlantic.  We passed by three towers, representing entirely different architectural styles.  First is the monument to the discoveries, (e.g. Prince Henry the Navigator and Vasco da Gama) who led the way for European exploration of the globe, erected in the 20th century; next, the 16th century Tower of Belem, a real gem; and finally the contemporary Tower of Navigation, which guides traffic into and out of the Port of Lisbon.

After a day at sea, we arrived at A Coruna, Spain (aka Corunna), a charming city on the Atlantic, with a busy harbor and magnificent beaches.  We walked around the Ciudad Vieja (Old Town) and found San Carlos Gardens,  the beautiful park where  Moore is buried.  It is marked, “In Memory of General Sir John Moore who fell at the Battle of Elvina while covering the embarkation of the British troops, 16 January 1809.”  We also passed a small organization (closed, sadly, at the time) with another kind of memorial  to the British troops in the Peninsular Wars: The Royal Green Jackets.

It was a quiet Sunday in A Coruna with a few tourists in the plaza in front of the Palacio Municipal, a regatta out in the harbor, many families out enjoying the fresh breeze, and riding bikes around the extensive seashore from harbor to beaches to the soccer stadium. A small but picturesque fort guards the harbor (and helped turn away the raids of Sir Francis Drake) and on a western-most peninsula is the famous Tower of Hercules, a lighthouse with origins in the Roman Empire. Beside our ship, the fishing boats were all in port for Sunday, but the neighboring marina was a little busier with leisure boating.

Palacio Municipal
San Anton Castle

fishing boats in port

This beautiful beach wasn’t as empty as it looks in my picture!
Tower of Hercules

 I can well imagine a leisurely holiday here in A Coruna…but that will have to wait for a while.
Next Stop: Santander, Spain

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