Tag Archives: Portugal

11 June 2018:
Oporto, Portugal:
Sweet Forgiveness

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Porto is not the most famous place in Portugal, unless you have a particular affinity for a particular form of liquefied grape.

Porto is, literally, the Second City of Portugal, its second-most-populous place with 1.8 million people in the metropolitan area.

Porto (also known as Oporto) has always been a mercantile city, and this is evident in the style of the buildings lining the Avenida dos Aliados, the core of the downtown area.

The center of town, unlike other major Portuguese cities, which tend towards the baroque, is granite and monumental.

Lisbon is the grand city of palaces and monasteries and monuments and a metropolitan population of about 2.8 million.

All photos by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

Porto is instead a place of broad shoulders and hard work, in some ways the economic heart of the country.

But it is the home of a form of liquid gold. The reaches of the valley of the Douro River have a microclimate that is optimal for cultivation of olives, almonds, and especially grapes.

Douro may come from ancient Celtic tribes, for whom the word meant water. In Roman times, the river was personified as the god Durius.

Or, and this definition is much preferred by modern Portuguese (especially in the tourist bureau), the name may mean “River of Gold”, as in Rio do ouro.

The most famous of the wines is Vinho do Porto, a fortified wine, typically a sweet red wine although there are also dry, semi-dry, and white varieties.

Port wine is fortified by the addition of a neutral grape spirit known as aguardente in order to stop the fermentation, leaving residual sugar in the wine, and to boost the alcohol content, usually to about 19 to 23 percent.

The wine is then stored and aged, often in barrels stored in a cave (pronounced “cahv”) before being taken from that storage cellar to be bottled.

The Douro valley was defined as a protected region for winemaking, an appellation, in 1756, making it by some measures the oldest defined and protected wine region in the world.

Over a hundred varieties of grapes are sanctioned for port production, although only five are widely cultivated and used.

We’ll raise a toast with a few after dinner tonight.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

10 June 2018:
Lisbon, Portugal:
The All-Glories Tour Commences

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We’re back in Lisbon after a short break.

Welcome aboard for the start of a cruise that begins in the warmth of Portugal, Spain, and France and concludes with a glorious procession up the River Thames and through the London Tower Bridge.

We are embarking on Silver Wind, the smallest and most intimate ship of the Silversea cruise fleet. We have no rock-climbing wall, no water slide, no indoor ice capade arena, no seven-deck atrium with neon lava lamps. Just fine food, a small amount of fine company, a great crew, and luxury. If that’s what you’re looking for, this is a fine example.

Here’s our plan. I hope you’ll join me here in these pages.

We came to Lisbon ahead of the ship and worked off a bit of jetlag with a visit to the spectacular Calouste Gulbenkian Museum.

Calouste Gulbenkian was born in Turkey of Armenian heritage, and amassed a huge fortune at the end of the 19th and into the early 20th century as one of the first oil traders. He spent a great deal of his fortune on a collection of art from around the world and across many cultures. The museum is worth a visit all by itself.

Here are a few photos from our visit to the Gulbenkian Museum.

We are sailing out of Lisbon in the late afternoon, which is even more glorious than sailing into Lisbon in the early, early morning.

I’ll be here with more photos and commentary every day.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

21-22 May 2018:
Lisbon, Portugal:
What Fates Impose

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Silver Spirit made a triumphal procession up the River Tagus to the dock at Santa Apolonia this afternoon.

Along the way we passed abeam of many of the great sights of Lisbon including the Tower of Belem, the Jeronimos Monastery, and the Monument to the Discoveries.

We will overnight here in Lisbon and debark in the morning.

I am headed home to change socks, returning in just about two weeks to our smaller, still lovely little sister Silver Wind for a series of cruises that start here in Lisbon, visit parts of Spain and France and moves on to a grand procession up the River Thames and through the London Tower Bridge.

A LISBON ALBUM

When we return to Silver Wind  we’ll go to the top of Scotland, across to Iceland for an aqueous circle of the island nation, back to the Faeroe Islands and the Shetland Islands, into London again and then up the west coast of Norway all the way to the top.

I may need more than one pair of socks.

All photos and text Copyright 2018 by Corey Sandler, all rights reserved.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

26 May 2017:
Oporto, Portugal:
Let Us Raise a Toast

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Porto, which may not the most famous of places in Portugal, unless you have a particular affinity for a particular form of liquefied grape.

Porto is, literally, the Second City of Portugal, its second-most-populous place with 1.8 million people in the metropolitan area.

Porto has always been a mercantile city, and this is evident in the style of the buildings lining the Avenida dos Aliados, the core of the downtown area.

Today we went for a walk through the old city of Porto (also called Oporto). Among the places we sought out: the old  Igreja do Carmo, the Carmelite Church of 1756 and the spectacular Estação Ferroviária de Porto – São Bento, the 1896 train station which is decorated floor to ceiling with fabulous tiles telling the story of Portugal.

And we also stopped by the famous Livraria Lello Porto bookstore where J.K. Rowling, an impoverished teacher at the time, hand-wrote the first three chapters of the first book of the Harry Potter series.

PORTO MAY 26, 2017

Igreja do Carmo

Estação Ferroviária de Porto – São Bento

Livraria Lello Porto

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Porto, well, it’s a place of broad shoulders and hard work, in some ways the economic heart of the country.

They say:

“Porto works, Braga Prays, Coimbra, studies, and Lisbon gets the money.”

A TOAST TO PORTO

We’ll celebrate tonight with a glass of fine Port after dinner.

Port Wine is named for Porto, and in particular the caves of Vila Nova de Gaia.

The reaches of the valley of the Douro River have a microclimate that is optimal for cultivation of olives, almonds, and especially grapes.

Vinho do Porto is a fortified wine, typically a sweet red wine although there are also dry, semi-dry, and white varieties.

The wine is fortified by the addition of a neutral grape spirit known as aguardente in order to stop the fermentation, leaving residual sugar in the wine, and to boost the alcohol content, usually to about 19 to 23 percent.

The Douro valley where port wine is produced was defined and established as a protected region, or appellation in 1756, making it by some measures the oldest defined and protected wine region in the world.

Text and images copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

25 May 2017:
Lisbon, Portugal:
A Place to Explore

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Lisbon is one of the most interesting and intriguing of European cities. It’s a little bit Spanish, a little bit Arab, and a whole lot of only-in-Portugal.

Lisbon, the capital and largest city of Portugal, sits on the coast at the place where the river Tagus flows into the Atlantic Ocean, the westernmost capital of mainland Europe.

With its central location and port, Lisbon became the capital city of Portugal in 1255.

During the last centuries of the Middle Ages, the city expanded substantially and became an important trading post with northern Europe and Mediterranean cities.

And then, in the Age of Discovery from the 15th to 17th centuries, Lisbon was the port of departure for many of the great Portuguese expeditions, most notably Vasco da Gama’s trip to India in 1497.

On this visit, we went a bit out of town to the National Palace of Queluz, which was modestly modeled after the Palace of Versailles. It was constructed in 1747 for the Portuguese Royal Family. Today it is a glimpse into a time long gone, but not forgot

PALACE OF QUELUZ, May 25, 2017

ALL PHOTOS BY COREY SANDLER, All rights reserved

You can help support this site by making purchases from
AMAZON.COM by clicking on the banner below.

Lisbon is a rich stew of architectural designs: Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline, Baroque, modern and post-modern along with a few Moorish styles.

The Museu Calouste Gulbenkian is one of the lesser-known jewels of Europe, a rich collection of ancient and classical art along with some modern pieces.

It was assembled in the early 20th century by Calouste Gulbenkian, a tremendously rich British businessman of Armenian extraction.

Santa Maria de Belém is about 4 miles west of the city. Its name comes from the Portuguese for Bethlehem.

Belém is the place from which many of the great Portuguese explorers set off on their voyages of discovery.

Perhaps Belém’s most famous feature is its tower, Torre de Belém.

The tower was built as a fortified lighthouse late in the reign of Dom Manuel (1515–1520) to guard the entrance to the port at Belém.

A more modern monument in Belém is the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, the Monument to the Discoveries.

The 171 foot (52 meter) concrete monument was erected in 1960 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator.

Shaped like a ship’s prow, it includes statues of Henry and important explorers.

Also in Belém is the fabulous Mosteiro dos Jerónimo, one of the reasons why the Torre de Belém was built.

The Jerónimos Monastery was begun in 1502 on instructions from Manuel I and took fifty years to complete.

Its role was as a monument to Vasco da Gama’s successful voyage to India; the great explorer’s tomb is inside.

Lisbon Geronimos2

Lisbon Jeronimos1

Lisbon Discoveries1

Lisbon Belem3

Lisbon Belem2

Lisbon Belem1

 

Text and images copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams cover

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

24 May 2017:
Portimão, Portugal:
Blue Tiles, White Storks

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

I went for a visit back in time to the hillside town of Silves, a relatively untouched piece of Moorish culture in Portugal’s stunning Algarve region.

We were greeted first by storks,  who serve as the modern lookouts, perched atop chimneys and parapets and anywhere else they can plant a nest.

SILVES, May 24, 2017

BLOG Silves 7Sept2016 Corey Sandler-0020

And then we went up the hill to see first the small Catholic cathedral, from about the year 1050,  and then behind it the Almohad Citadel, erected by the Moors in the 8th century.

The cathedral mixes  a bit of Roman columns with Moorish arches.

BLOG Silves 7Sept2016 Corey Sandler-0034

BLOG Silves 7Sept2016 Corey Sandler-0027

BLOG Silves 7Sept2016 Corey Sandler-0040

BLOG Silves 7Sept2016 Corey Sandler-0042

You can help support this site by making purchases from
AMAZON.COM by clicking on the banner below.

MILES OF TILES

The local art scene includes some fine paintings, carvings, and architecture.

But the specialties of this part of the world have to include azulejos, blue-and-white painted tiles, dishes, and other ceramics. They’re not all blue, either.

Many older examples illustrate scenes from the bibles or the stories of saints. There are also landscapes, geometric patterns, and floral designs.

You’ll find them almost anywhere you go. In Portugal, you can find azulejos inside and outside of churches, palaces, ordinary houses and even train stations.

The technique came from Spain, which learned it from the Persians in the early 15th century. The word azulejos comes from the Arabic al zulayj, meaning “polished stone”.

Portimão is a small city, about 45,000 inhabitants, located on the estuary of the Arade River.

Since pre-Roman times, Portimão has made its living from fishing.

Today it is a major center for the sardine-canning industry, and also luring its shares of tourists.

VISIONS OF PORTIMÃO

SANDLER BLOG Portimao DSC_1040134

Azulejo tiles in Portimão

SANDLER BLOG Portimao Piedade DSC_2250

SANDLER BLOG Portimao Piedade DSC_2258

Ponta da Piedade, near Portimão

SANDLER BLOG Portimao Lagos DSC_2271

Lagos, Portugal

SANDLER BLOG Portimao DSC_2149

Text and images copyright 2017 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

 

7 Sep 2016
Portimão, Portugal:
Miles of Tiles

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Today, I went for a visit back in time to the hillside town of Silves, a relatively untouched piece of Moorish culture in Portugal’s stunning Algarve region.

We were greeted first by storks,  who serve as the modern lookouts, perched atop chimneys and parapets and anywhere else they can plant a nest.

BLOG Silves 7Sept2016 Corey Sandler-0020

BLOG Silves 7Sept2016 Corey Sandler-0032

And then we went up the hill,  in the unusually hot September that has been visited upon Portugal to see first the small Catholic cathedral, from about the year 1050,  and then behind it the Almohad Citadel, erected by the Moors in the 8th century.

The cathedral mixes  a bit of Roman columns with Moorish arches.

BLOG Silves 7Sept2016 Corey Sandler-0034

BLOG Silves 7Sept2016 Corey Sandler-0027

BLOG Silves 7Sept2016 Corey Sandler-0040

BLOG Silves 7Sept2016 Corey Sandler-0042

MILES OF TILES

The local art scene includes some fine paintings, carvings, and architecture.

But the specialties of this part of the world have to include azulejos, blue-and-white painted tiles, dishes, and other ceramics. They’re not all blue, either.

Many older examples illustrate scenes from the bibles or the stories of saints. There are also landscapes, geometric patterns, and floral designs.

You’ll find them almost anywhere you go. In Portugal, you can find azulejos inside and outside of churches, palaces, ordinary houses and even train stations.

The technique came from Spain, which learned it from the Persians in the early 15th century. The word azulejos comes from the Arabic al zulayj, meaning “polished stone”.

Portimão is a small city, about 45,000 inhabitants, located on the estuary of the Arade River.

Since pre-Roman times, Portimão has made its living from fishing.

Today it is a major center for the sardine-canning industry, and also luring its shares of tourists.

VISIONS OF PORTIMÃO

SANDLER BLOG Portimao DSC_1040134

Azulejo tiles in Portimão

SANDLER BLOG Portimao Piedade DSC_2250

SANDLER BLOG Portimao Piedade DSC_2258

Ponta da Piedade, near Portimão

SANDLER BLOG Portimao Lagos DSC_2271

Lagos, Portugal

SANDLER BLOG Portimao DSC_2149

Text and images copyright 2016 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

6 Sep 2016
Lisbon, Portugal:
Heading Down and Around the Corner

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Welcome aboard.

Silver Cloud is resuming her championship cruising after crossing over from Rio de Janeiro where she visited the 2016 Olympics and served as home to the gold-medal-winning American men’s and women’s basketball teams.

We’re off on a trip down and around the corner, from Lisbon on the Atlantic coast of Portugal through the Pillars of Hercules between Gibraltar and north Africa and into the middle sea, the Mediterranean.

Continuing east in the Mediterranean Sea, we are due to call at the glorious Spanish ports of Malaga, Cartagena, Valencia, and the grand city of Barcelona.

Then we are scheduled to head south to Palma de Mallorca in the Balearic Islands, and the next day call at Porto de Mahon on the nearby island of Menorca.

And then Silver Cloud will head back to the mainland of Europe for calls at the glitzy ports of Cannes in France, and Monte Carlo in the Principality of Monaco.

Here’s our plan:

MAP v1628

I  hope you’ll join me here. I’ll be posting photos and commentary all through the trip.

A LISBON ALBUM

Lisbon Belem1

Lisbon Belem2

Lisbon Discoveries1

Lisbon Geronimos2

Lisbon Jeronimos1

Text and images copyright 2016 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

You can help support this site by making purchases from
AMAZON.COM by clicking on the banner below.

 

11 September 2015
Lisbon, Portugal: What Fates Impose…

 By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Lisbon is one of the most interesting and intriguing of European cities. It’s a little bit Spanish, a little bit Arab, and a whole lot of only-in-Portugal.

Lisbon, the capital and largest city of Portugal, sits on the coast at the place where the river Tagus flows into the Atlantic Ocean, the westernmost capital of mainland Europe.

With its central location and port, Lisbon became the capital city of Portugal in 1255.

During the last centuries of the Middle Ages, the city expanded substantially and became an important trading post with northern Europe and Mediterranean cities.

And then, in the Age of Discovery from the 15th to 17th centuries, Lisbon was the port of departure for many of the great Portuguese expeditions, most notably Vasco da Gama’s trip to India in 1497.

Lisbon is a rich stew of architectural designs: Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline, Baroque, modern and post-modern along with a few Moorish styles.

The Museu Calouste Gulbenkian is one of the lesser-known jewels of Europe, a rich collection of ancient and classical art along with some modern pieces.

It was assembled in the early 20th century by Calouste Gulbenkian, a tremendously rich British businessman of Armenian extraction.

Santa Maria de Belém is about 4 miles west of the city. Its name comes from the Portuguese for Bethlehem.

Belém is the place from which many of the great Portuguese explorers set off on their voyages of discovery.

Perhaps Belém’s most famous feature is its tower, Torre de Belém.

The tower was built as a fortified lighthouse late in the reign of Dom Manuel (1515–1520) to guard the entrance to the port at Belém.

A more modern monument in Belém is the Padrão dos Descobrimentos, the Monument to the Discoveries.

The 171 foot (52 meter) concrete monument was erected in 1960 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator.

Shaped like a ship’s prow, it includes statues of Henry and important explorers.

Also in Belém is the fabulous Mosteiro dos Jerónimo, one of the reasons why the Torre de Belém was built.

The Jerónimos Monastery was begun in 1502 on instructions from Manuel I and took fifty years to complete.

Its role was as a monument to Vasco da Gama’s successful voyage to India; the great explorer’s tomb is inside.

Lisbon Geronimos2

Lisbon Jeronimos1

Lisbon Discoveries1

Lisbon Belem3

Lisbon Belem2

Lisbon Belem1

This is the end of this cruise, and I wish safe travels to friends old and new.

We’re debarking as well, heading to the airport for a quick flight to Rome to meet up with sister ship Silver Wind.

I would have much prefered to sail down and around; airplanes are so déclassé.

But this is what fates have imposed.

Text and images copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

————-

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy, please see the tab on this page, “HOW TO ORDER A PHOTO OR AUTOGRAPHED BOOK”

Here’s where to order an electronic copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams cover

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer (Kindle Edition)

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS,  PLEASE CONTACT ME.

SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS

10 September 2015
Porto (Leixões), Portugal: Tripe, Wizards, and Port

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

Our penultimate port of call on this cruise is Porto, not the most famous of places in Portugal.

It is, literally, the Second City of Portugal, its second-most-populous place with 1.8 million people in the metropolitan area.

Porto has always been a mercantile city, and this is evident in the style of the buildings lining the Avenida dos Aliados, the core of the downtown area. The center of town, unlike other major Portuguese cities, which tend towards the baroque, is granite and monumental.

Lisbon is the grand city of palaces and monasteries and monuments and a metropolitan population of about 2.8 million, and it lies ahead of us.

Porto, well, it’s a place of broad shoulders and hard work, in some ways the economic heart of the country.

The city is located along the Douro river estuary.

Its settlement dates back many centuries, when it was an outpost of the Roman Empire. Its combined Celtic-Latin name, Portus Cale, is said by some historians to be the source of the name “Portugal.”

We’ll celebrate tonight with a glass of fine Port after dinner.

Port Wine is named for Porto, and in particular the caves of Vila Nova de Gaia.

The reaches of the valley of the Douro River have a microclimate that is optimal for cultivation of olives, almonds, and especially grapes.

Vinho do Porto is a fortified wine, typically a sweet red wine although there are also dry, semi-dry, and white varieties.

The wine is fortified by the addition of a neutral grape spirit known as aguardente in order to stop the fermentation, leaving residual sugar in the wine, and to boost the alcohol content, usually to about 19 to 23 percent.

The Douro valley where port wine is produced was defined and established as a protected region, or appellation in 1756, making it by some measures the oldest defined and protected wine region in the world.

Text and images copyright 2015 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.

 

 

21-22 November 2014
 Funchal, Madeira: Now on Vacation

By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises

We have arrived at the green and lush island of Madeira, about 1,000 kilometers or 625 miles west of the coast of Portugal. It’s a great place to visit, but for many guests it’s time to hitch a ride home.

Here are some photos from recent visits I have made to Madeira.

A MADEIRA ALBUM

FUNCHAL MADEIRA 26-27Mar2014 _DSC9888 FUNCHAL MADEIRA 26-27Mar2014 _DSC9896 FUNCHAL MADEIRA 26-27Mar2014 _DSC9879 FUNCHAL MADEIRA 26-27Mar2014 _DSC9869 FUNCHAL MADEIRA 26-27Mar2014 _DSC9847 FUNCHAL MADEIRA 26-27Mar2014 _DSC9843

All photos by Corey Sandler.

We’ve been onboard the lovely Silver Cloud cruise ship for two months and it’s time for vacation. I’ll be back onboard with Silversea in January, headed from the Caribbean to Devil’s Island and then up the Amazon River to Manaus and back; you can keep track of my schedule at

http://www.silversea.com/life-onboard/enrichment/destination-consultants/?staff=6417

Until we meet again, safe travels.

BLOG Cartagena Spain 18Nov2014-9358

All photos copyright Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me. 

 

 

 

 

26-27 March 2014: Funchal, Madeira

By Corey Sandler, Silversea Cruise Consultant

The Portuguese island of Madeira has beautiful beaches, spectacular mountains, abundant sun, a moderate climate, a toboggan ride with no need of ice or snow, and an airport that makes many pilots reconsider their occupation.

Madeira is part of an archipelago in the north Atlantic Ocean about 522 kilometers or 326 miles north of the Canary Islands.[whohit]-26MAR2014 FUNCHAL MADEIRA-[/whohit]

The archipelago comprises the major part of one of the two Autonomous regions of Portugal; the other is the Azores to the northwest.

FUNCHAL MADEIRA 26-27Mar2014 _DSC9847 FUNCHAL MADEIRA 26-27Mar2014 _DSC9845

Downtown Funchal, as flowers burst into color for the oncoming Spring. Photos by Corey Sandler

Today, Madeira is a popular year-round resort, drawing about one million tourists per year.

Madeira is currently ranked the second wealthiest region in Portugal, after Lisbon, with a GDP per capita of 104 percent of the European average.

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The Cathedral of Funchal, and the main shopping and dining street. Photos by Corey Sandler

Even before the great expeditions began to use Madeira as a stopping-off point on their way to the New World, it was used in commerce to and from Europe.

Among the sailors who used it as a base was Christopher Columbus who lived for a while with his first wife and child on the lesser island of Porto Santo in Madeira.

As Portugal, and by extension, Madeira began to grow in wealth the island attracted attacks by pirates and privateers. And we’re not just talking about small freelancers.

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Terraced farms high in the hills. Some of the farms grow grapes for sweet Madeira wine. Photo by Corey Sandler

In September of 1566 French corsairs under the command of Bertrand de Montluc departed from Bordeaux with a force of 1200 men, on three main ships and eight support craft. The corsairs landed on Madeira and marched toward Funchal and laid siege to the city, which eventually fell.

The following year, the Portuguese decided to install a better defense, including fortresses and other installations. Better protected, Funchal became an important stop-over for caravels travelling between the Indies and the New World.

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Up in the hills above Funchal, a dramatic landscape with roads not for the faint-of-heart. Photos by Corey Sandler

Just as an aside, in February of 1815, one of the great naval battles of the War of 1812 took place just off the coast of Madeira. The War of 1812 was essentially a re-ignition of the Revolutionary War fought between the American colonies and Great Britain.

The USS Constitution, one of the first ships of the U.S. Navy and now better known by her nickname of Old Ironsides engaged two smaller British ships, the HMS Cyane and HMS Levant. The American vessel carried 52 guns and 451 men and crippled both British vessels.

None of the three captains had any way of knowing that the War of 1812 had ended three days earlier.

After his wartime service as Prime Minister and before returning to office in 1951, Winston Churchill discovered Madeira for himself. He favored a small fishing village called Câmara de Lobos—Wolf’s Den—about 5 kilometers or 3 miles from Funchal, as a place to paint.

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Camara de Lobos, a favorite setting for painting by Britain’s Winston Churchill. Photo by Corey Sandler

The town has a lovely bay surrounded by banana plantations, vineyards, and other vegetation on the hills. And Churchill generally chose to stay at a hotel called Reid’s Palace. The atmosphere at Reid’s has changed little since the hotel opened in 1891, even though it is now part of the Orient-Express Hotels chain.

If you arrive by boat, as Churchill did for his visit in 1950, a lift carries you up from the hotel’s private bathing pier. In the hotel lobby you can see old photos of British and European elite who came to visit.

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Sea cliffs east of Funchal on Madeira. Photo by Corey Sandler

Now, as I said, Madeira is a generally temperate place. You’re not going to find snow and ice on a groomed toboggan run.

In fact, you’re not even going to find a real toboggan run. Just some twisty-turny streets. With cars and trucks and potholes.

For more than a century, people have used toboggans for the quick way down the hill to Funchal. The Carro do Monte toboggans are made of wicker, with wooden runners.

They are guided—not really driven—by a pair of carreiros, dressed in white with straw hats. They’ve done this before, but you’ve got to marvel at their success rate.

All photos copyright by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. To purchase a copy, please contact the author.

Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession: The Tragic Legacy of the New World’s Least Understood Explorer  (Kindle Edition)

Now available, the revised Second Edition of “Henry Hudson Dreams and Obsession” by Corey Sandler, for the Amazon Kindle. You can read the book on a Kindle device, or in a Kindle App on your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

Here’s where to order a copy for immediate delivery:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IA9QTBM

Henry Hudson Dreams cover