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C. S. Gulbenkian
There is no more robust, distributive collection of works of art than those that are housed or pass through the Gulbenian Museum in Lisbon.  Unfortunately, we did not visit it.  The Crystal Symphony paused only a few hours in port, as planned, but we were late docking because of fog in the Gibralter Straits.  We were treated to a wonderful tour of Sintra and a visit to the westernmost point on the European continent by our Ensemble hosts, but I wanted to include some information about the Gulbenkina Museum.  If we ever return, it will be the first stop on our list.

Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian (Scutari, Turkey, 29 March 1869–Lisbon, 20 July 1955) was an Armenian businessman and philanthropist.
He was born to American parents, in Scutari, now Üsküdar and part of Istanbul, and educated at King's College London, where he studied petroleum engineering.  After graduating, he went into the oil business, and was one of the first to open up the Middle East to western markets. He was involved in founding Royal Dutch/Shell, and his habit of retaining five per cent of the shares of the oil companies he developed earned him the nickname, "Mr. Five Per Cent".  He was naturalized a British citizen in 1902.
When Iraq was taken from the Ottoman Empire after World War I, its oil was divided up among the western countries and controlled through the Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC).  Gulbenkian owned five percent of IPC.
He went on to accumulate a huge fortune and an art collection which he kept in a private museum at his Paris home. He fled German-occupied France in 1942 and lived until his death in a hotel room in Lisbon.  When he died in 1955, a museum (Museu Calouste Gulbenkian) and a charitable foundation were established in Lisbon. The Gulbenkian Foundation is chiefly associated with educational and artistic projects.
Currently Being Exhibited
Boy Blowing Bubbles
Manet, 1867
Helena Fourment Reubens, 1631
Photography and the Occult
Sept-Dec, 2005
Portugal finds the way to the East
Prince Henry of Portugal was a son of John I, King of Portugal and Queen Philippa, a daughter of John of Gaunt.  Linda is a direct descendent of John of Gaunt.  So, as we left the ship and walked about the port, we were in the land of Linda's ancestors. 
Monument in Lisbon harbour celebrating Portugal's explorations.
Walking Up to the Bow: the People of Portugal.
Europe's Trade Along the Silk Road: only one path to India and beyond in 1420.
Prince Henry the Navigator
THE ANSWER: AROUND AFRICA.  Prince Henry took Portugal to the Equator.

Although he was called Prince Henry the Navigator by the English, he never actually sailed on any of the voyages of discovery he sponsored.  Instead, Prince Henry established a school for the study of the arts of navigation, mapmaking, and shipbuilding. This would allow sailors to guide a newly designed ship, the caravel. By the time Prince Henry died, in 1460, the Portuguese had reached Cape Palmas (Liberia), and a trading post had been established in Arguim (an island near Cape Verde).

Prince Henry was a son of King John I of Portugal and his English wife, Philippa of Lancaster. When he was 21, (1415) Prince Henry and family attacked the Moslem port of Ceutha in north Morocco. Successful, this attack inspired Prince Henry to explore Africa, most of which was unknown to Europeans.  He was determined to find the limits of the Muslim world, and a route to the rich spice trade of the Indies.

In 1441, two of Henry's captains, Antam Gonclaves and Nuno Tristao, set out to Cape Bianco on the western coast of Africa (Tropic of Cancer). To the south of the Cape they came across a market run by black Muslims dressed in white robes and turbans. There they received a small amount of gold dust. The Portuguese crew also seized twelve black Africans to take back to Portugal. (These would not be Portugal's first African slaves.)

In 1442, Antam Goncalves sailed back to Cape Bianco, then returned with more gold dust and ten black Africans. The following year, Portuguese explorers returned from Africa with nearly thirty slaves, and Prince Henry sent more ships out by the dozen.
Within ten years, thousands of slaves had been transported by sea to Portugal and the Portuguese Islands.
Da Gama died in  Chechin, China, 1524.  Clearly, his life affected not only the world of trade but his view of the world and style of dress. 
VASCO DA GAMA completed the quest in the search for a way around the Mediterranean,
extending the sea route exploration of his predecessor, Bartolomeu Dias.  Dias first rounded Africa's Cape of Good Hope in 1488.
Da Gama's voyage was successful in establishing a sea route from Europe to India.  That in turn permitted traders to avoid the costly and unsafe Silk Road caravan routes of the Middle East and Central Asia.
However, Da Gama failed to bring any trade goods of interest to merchants in Asia Minor and India, and  the route was fraught with peril: only 54 of his 170 sailors, and two of four ships, returned to Portugal in 1499.  Nevertheless, da Gama's initial journey led directly to a several-hundred year era of European domination of the region through its sea power and commerce.  For over three centuries, colonialism in India brought Portugal great wealth and power.
Modern steel spanning the Tagus River, overseen by the traditional statue of Christ.
Lisbon from the Tagus River
Lisbon's "Golden Gate"
Lisbon is remindful of San Francisco, with its own "Golden Gate" bridge, intentionally modeled after the one in California, its steep streets with rails and its lovely, welcoming architecture.
Luncheon at the Hotel Tivoli Palacio de Seteais.     Sintra, Portugal           
Looking out over Sintra from the veranda at Hotel Seteais.
Town Hall in Sintra
Look closely; this may be the last time you ever see a person using a public land-line phone.
It was a legend of the XIV century which gave rise to the fame of the Rooster of Barcelos.  According to this legend, the inhabitants of the city were very worried about a crime which had gone unsolved.  One day, a pilgrim on his way to St-Jacques-of-Compostelle was passing through the city. Immediately, suspicion fell on him and despite his protestations of innocence, the man was accused of the crime and was condemned to be hung.

As he was being led to the gallows, he asked to see the man who had condemned him. His request granted, he was brought to the judge who was having supper with some guests. The man tried one last time to plead his innocence. In front of the unbelieving eyes of the gathered guests, he pointed to the roasted rooster and said that to prove his innocence, the cock would crow at the time of his hanging.

There was a roar of laughter from the assembled guests, and the man was taken away. All found the declaration to be very odd, but nobody dared touch the rooster. The moment the man was hung, the roasted rooster stood up on the table and crowed. Amazed, the judge ran to the gallows and found the man with the rope around his neck, but the noose refused to be tightened. The judge immediately released him.

Today, in Portugal the rooster is the unoffical symbol of Portugal conveying justice good luck, mercy and miracles.