Since its conquest from the Moors in 1147, Lisbon is a legendary city with centuries of history, built on seven hills along the shores of the River Tejo. We recommend that you acquaint yourself with Portugal’s capital before you embark in the afternoon. The Captain and his crew will welcome you onboard and provide information about the coming days before the FRAM sails down the Tejo and sets course for Leixoes.
Leixoes (Porto), Portugal
We call at Leixoes, situated at the mouth of the river Douro, close to the city of Porto. Situated across the river Douro, Porto is Portugal’s second largest city. Its name has its origin in the big lodges of port wine. Although its ancient roots have been preserved with pride, a modern and lively commerce makes it a thriving city. Porto’s traditional importance as an industrial centre does not diminish the charm and character of its old quarters or even of the newer and busy avenues, shopping centres and quiet residential blocks.
La Coruña, Spain
La Coruña’s harbour takes a multitude of vessels from small fishing boats to large cruise liners. The harbour facing buildings have galleria style facades; with their combination of glass and white frames these have given the city its nickname “The Crystal City”. La Coruña today combines old and new; here you can find the world’s oldest operational lighthouse “La Torre de Hercules” as well as futuristic new buildings.
The Bay of Biscay
We spend the day in the Bay of Biscay, sailing from the eastern point of Spain towards our next port of call, Bordeaux. These waters were known to be some of the fiercest of the Atlantic Ocean, especially in winter times. Today, improved ships and weather forecasts have made it easy to enjoy the crossing of the bay. Spend the day on day spotting for whales, dolphins and seabirds, or follow our on board lecture programme given by our expedition team.
Bilbao is the main city of the Basque region and is a metropolis where more than a million people live. The great architectural and infrastructure projects of the 90’s have been the driving force of the urban and economic regeneration of the city. The Bilbao Guggenheim Museum, the Euskalduna, the towers by the architects Isozaki and Pelli are all examples of the new Bilbao. The city is situated in the area of Bizkaia and is surrounded by a fertile landscape with forests, mountains, beaches and steep coasts.
Belle Ile, France
Belle Ile-de-Mer is the largest of the Brittney islands, situated just of the French coast. The southwest side holds sharp cliff edges, whilst the north east side offers sandy beaches and sheltered harbours. Around 4000 people live on this peaceful island, where fishery and tourism are the most important trades. Belle Ile-de-Mer has inspired adventure novelists such as Dumas, as well as impressionist painters like Monet and Matisse whom visited the Artist Colony founded by John Peter Russell in the late 1800’s. Landing in Belle Ile will be conducted with our PolarCirkel boats when weather permits.
Sark and Guernsey, UK
Lying close to the north coast of France and bathed by the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, the Channel Islands are the perfect holiday destination. Although Guernsey is geographically much closer to France than the UK, it is loyal to the British crown. This loyalty can be traced back to Norman times when the Channel Islands first became part of the English realm. St Peter Port, the island’s capital, is a bustling harbour town, and a tapestry of architectural styles that tell the story of the region’s changing fortunes. Nearby, the island of Sark offers stunning coastal views and a picturesque rural interior. Going to Sark is like taking a step back in time; still today it is traffic-free and overflowing with natural beauty. Both of today’s landings are carried out by use of PolarCirkel boats.
The small town of Honfleur on the coast of Normany has one of the most picturesque ports of Europe, and is beloved by tourist from all over the world. Despite its popularity, Honfleur retains its timeless character. There are many interesting things to see here. The centre of attraction is usually the Vieux Bassin with its boats, quays and signature buildings: the tall, narrow, slate- fronted waterside houses. Close-by we find the church of St Catherine which was built by local ships' carpenters, entirely from wood.
The capital of the Netherlands is one of Europe’s most charming destinations, renowned for its medieval city centre and numerous canals (called grachten). The 17th century is considered Amsterdam's "Golden Age" when it became one of the wealthiest cities in the world. Ships sailed from here to the Baltic Sea, North America, Africa and Asia and formed the basis of a worldwide trading network. Today the city is noted for many outstanding museums, including the Rijksmuseum, the Rembrandt House and the Van Gogh Museum, which houses the largest collection of Van Gogh's paintings and drawings in the world.
We spend the day sailing towards the last port of call of this voyage, Bergen. Our lecturers will give interesting talks about history and culture. You may also choose to spend the day relaxing in the observation lounge or out on deck.
Bergen is an international city with small-town charm, and is surrounded by seven mountains. Stroll through the picturesque streets of Bergen and enjoy the well-known and famous sites like Håkon’s Hall and Rosenkrantz Tower, St. Mary’s Church, Bergen Harbour and the famous fish market. Bergen was founded in 1070, and here the UNESCO World Heritage famous houses of “Bryggen” (the wharf) are found.