About the Port
All ports of call on the cruise have been places with historical and classical connections. The last call is to a major city which also has a thriving night life and Moldavia was able to moor on the River Tagus alongside the city.
The city area has been inhabited since Neolithic times and the castle site first fortified around the 2nd Century BC. The inhabitants are known to have traded with the Phoenicians and later the area was integrated with the Roman province of Lusitania. Between 409 and 429 AD the city was occupied in turn by Sarmatians, Alans, Vandals and Visigoths. In 711 Lisbon was taken by Muslim forces - mostly Berbers and Arabs from North Africa and the Middle East. In 1147 it was the turn of Crusader Knights and the area returned to Christian rule.
As if that isn't enough, there was a 16th Century 'golden era' followed by loss of independence to Spain under the Spanish Habsburgs and a number of major earthquakes leading to much of the city being rebuilt after the quake of 1755.
Despite all the invasions and catastrophes, Lisbon was an attractive city to visit in 1936 and is to this day with much for those on the cruise to see.
Moldavia arrived in Lisbon today Tuesday 18 August at 19:00 and will leave here tomorrow Wednesday 19 August at 13:00 to start the return journey to London.
The next leg of our journey is our last and takes us home - about 1,030 nautical miles. We expect to arrive at Tilbury Docks at about 12:00 Saturday 22 August.
P&O provided a leaflet about Lisbon as an introduction for visitors which is reproduced below.
There were two daytime excursions available from Lisbon. The owners of the album went on excursion C. It also seems odd that there is a statement at the bottom of the notice saying that you could not use cigarette lighters in Portugal without an Excise Licence.
The city of Sintra lies about 15 miles North-West of Lisbon. It has long been a popular tourist destination and nowadays coachloads of tourists arrive to take the 'Three Palace' tourist trail to the Pena, National and Moors palaces.
The album photo below shows an open area in front of the clock tower in the centre of Sintra called the Largo Rainha Dona Amélia. It was originally built and used as a ceremonial courtyard and is located by the entrance to the Palácio Nacional de Sintra which is located to the right of the photo behind the row of cars - which I presume are mainly taxis and have luggage carriers on the back.
There is a tram near the centre left of the photo behind the wall. The Sintra Tram (Electrico de Sintra) connects Sintra with the resort town of Praia das Maçãs which is about 10 miles to the West. The Sintra tram line was constructed in 1904 but the demand was not great and it was nearly closed down in the 1950s. Since the 1990s it has become more popular and still uses the trams constructed in 1930 by J. G. Brill Company of Philadelphia running on narrow gauge rails as in Lisbon. It closed for some time due to the theft of 1km of overhead lines but was repaired in 2011 and remains operational.
The photo below shows the area as it is in 2019. Other images online show that the little stone seats by the wall on the 1936 photo have gone. The tram line now terminates a little to the North of Terreiro da Rainha Dona Amélia.
The modern photo below from Wikipedia shows one of the Sintra trams in operation.
The Pena Palace (Portuguese: Palácio da Pena) is a Romanticist castle in São Pedro de Penaferrim, in the municipality of Sintra. It stands on the top of a hill in the Sintra Mountains above the town of Sintra. A monastery to house 18 monks was built on the site in the 15th Century but it was severely damaged by lightning then reduced to ruins by the earthquake of 1755 that also caused severe damage in Lisbon. Only a chapel escaped damage. The estate was purchase by Prince Ferdinand in 1838 and converted into a summer residence for the Royal Family.
The Pena Palace has a profusion of styles much in accordance with the exotic taste of Romanticism. The intentional mixture of eclectic styles includes the Neo-Gothic, Neo-Manueline, Neo-Islamic and Neo-Renaissance. References to other prominent Portuguese buildings, such as the Belém Tower, are also present.
The album photo below shows the entrance to Pena Palace. The monochrome photos in the album don't really do justice to the brightly-coloured palace which has something of a Disneyland feel to it and is not to everybody's taste.
The album photo below shows a turret on Pena Palace.
The modern photo below shows the gateway as it appears in 2019
I guess after the visit to Sintra in the morning there wasn't a lot of time for sightseeing in Lisbon itself and there are no photos. There are however several leaflets for nightclubs so presumably our album compilers went to one of them.
The leaflet below for Maxim's was included in a number of leaflets in the album.
Maxim's motto at the time was - according to the leaflet - GAY time - in a - GAY CITY - which of course had a completely different meaning back then.
The price list includes a bottle of Moet & Chandon champagne at £1-18s-0d which is equivalent to about £97 in 2019. I presume that this would be a fairly standard type of bubbly and, for comparison purposes, you could get this nowadays for about £35-£40.
Maxim's was not content with just a leaflet showing what was available but provided a second one describing the history of the place and the rooms inside.
History of Maxim's
The building this establishment occupied has a long and interesting history and still exists. I can only provide a brief summary but there is a vast collection of information and photos available on the weblog of José Augusto Leite HERE.
The building was completed in 1858 as the Palácio Castelo Melhor (Best Castle Palace) by the 6th Marquise de Castelo Melhor - although work on the site had originally started around 1777.
It was sold to the 1st Marquis de Foz in 1889 and became known as Palácio Foz. The new owner spent a fortune on rebuilding and redecoration and installed a wonderful art collection including tapestries, furniture and furnishings. It became a centre of entertainment for the cream (or scum depending on your viewpoint) of Lisbon society with regular banquets and opera recitals. After 12 years of high life, the Marquis de Foz became bankrupt and the entire contents were auctioned in 1901.
Thereafter parts of the building were leased for various uses including restaurants and a cinema. In 1908, a large part of the building was leased by José Nunes Ereira who established Maxim's - Restauradores Club. It was the first club in Lisbon and had dancing, game rooms including roulette, and an all-night bar and restaurant.
The photo below appears to be from around the 1920s.
Casinos were banned in Lisbon at the time and the gambling activities were carried out in back rooms. An employee was sited where he could see the front door and rang an alarm bell when the police appeared - which seems to have been a common occurrence. Usually by the time the police got to the gaming area, all traces of what had been going on had been hidden away. However the police got lucky on one occasion and Maxim's was closed for a while. It re-opened (without the gambling) and finally closed its doors to the public New Year's Eve 1939 though it was used for select private receptions for a short period.
One of the attractions put on at Maxim's was staged 'tableaux' involving semi-naked ladies. As in the case of the Windmill Theatre in London, they could get away with this as long as the ladies remained in a fixed pose.
In 1940 the building was purchased by the State; part is now a Tourist Information Office and you can take a guided tour of parts of the building.
The photo below shows the Palácio Foz as it was in 2012.
The Arcadia Cabaret
A leaflet for this club was also included in the album.
The club was located at 108 Rua Eugenio dos Santos according to the leaflet. This area appears to have been rebuilt and the road is now very short so the building is presumed to have been demolished.
The British Embroidery Co.
Those not up to the excitement of the Lisbon cabaret scene could visit the Maison de Blanc showrooms and buy some embroidery. I am not sure that I could take the excitement myself.