Sardinhada in Lisbon for the European Odyssey fleet

The historic center of Lisbon

The historic center of Lisbon, a short bus or train ride away from the Marina Parque das Naçoes

Saphir was the first boat to arrive at Marina Parque das Naçoes

The Vasco de Gama Shopping Center and the Gare do Oriente (bus/train station) in the Parque das

Lady Anne and Triton arrived together

Filipa Villar of Marina Parque das Naçoes presents welcome gift to Tobias Fischer of sy Fischermen

The marina welcomed the European Odyssey with a sardinhada, with fresh grilled sardines, washed down with local beers and wines

The fleet was eager to meet up in port and share stories

We visited the Belém Tower, a UNESCO World Heritage Site at the mouth of the Tagus River, and the Maritime Museum

Several things stood out for us as Roger Watson and I (Kathy Parsons) helped with the inaugural year of the European Odyssey.

The first is remembering how refreshing it is to be with a group of international sailors. Cruisers are, for the most part, friendly, positive people, who expect to find enjoyment in each harbour they sail to, who are quick to strike up conversations among themselves and with people ashore, who are interested in exploring new ports.

The second thing that has impressed us is the way a good marina can play a big role in helping sailors learn what is available in a new port.

Our port in Lisbon, Marina Parque das Naçoes, is an excellent example of this. The marina is located seven miles up the Tagus River, in the Parque das Naçoes (Park of Nations) area.

It is a unique area for the European Odyssey to be based, as this was the Expo 1998 site. Lisbon was determined to make the most of the facilities developed for the world fair, and Parque das Naçoes is full of attractive waterfront spaces, dramatic buildings, a stunning train/bus/metro station and tourist and cultural attractions.

It is an excellent base for cruising families: a world-class oceanarium, an interactive games-based science museum, an overhead cable car, and several fountains and water features are all in walking distance.

The marina provided us with an information packet describing all these attractions, plus descriptions of the many services available in the area. They have made arrangements with a large supermarket in the nearby Vasco de Gama Shopping Center to deliver groceries to the dock and most of the boats took advantage of this service.

As attractive as the Parque das Naçoes area is, of course, all the sailors wanted to spend time in the historic center of Lisbon. The marina has put together several pages detailing all the transportation options for traveling around Lisbon and nearby areas. The marina provides bus schedules, and write-ups of the most common daytrips cruisers might want to take in the area, such as Sintra and Belém.

The marina has clearly put a lot of work into this information packet for visiting sailors. There are several pages detailing the nearby medical facilities, including maps. And if it is the boat that needs attention, the marina can help boaters find marine services, extending beyond those offered in their onsite boatyard.

The Marina Parque das Naçoes provided a special welcome for the European Odyssey fleet. Filipa Villar and her team organized a Sardinhada (grilled sardine party) on the dock, with tent, music, and sardines grilled over hot coals on site as we all partied. They served several regional dishes, and then printed out all the recipes so we could try the recipes ourselves.

Best though, was that they invited the other boaters in the marina to join us and welcome the European Odyssey to port, and we had a great time chatting with both local and visiting boaters.

From them, we learned about local sailing and anchorages. A number of boaters winter at the marina, and they explained what made the marina so attractive as a winter base.

We ended our stay in Lisbon with a farewell drink aboard Triton.

At this point, we were sailing off in different directions. Several boats were heading to Gibraltar and the Mediterranean, while others would be sailing to Rabat and Lanzarote, and then continuing their odyssey with the Atlantic Odyssey this November.

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