The view from da Gama's home

Vasco da Gama is the adventurer who opened up the trade routes to India in 1498 and changed the world: for one thing, his success resulted in the terminal decline of Venice, which had been the preeminent maritime power until then.  Like the other heroes of the era (Columbus, Pizarro, Magellan, Cortés, etc.), his willingness to take risks and the ruthlessness with which he undertook his enterprises are hard to fathom today.  Five hundred years later, he is still Portugal's major hero.

We made an unscheduled stop in Sines, south of Lisbon, and went into the little local museum, filled, in the bottom floor, with Roman ruins, like every museum of history in the Iberian peninsula.  It looked like we were about done with the museum but there was an elevator to the top floors, and what do we step in there?  Da Gama's family rooms, the very place where the man grew up.

And so we snapped a picture of Peregrinus anchored out, as little Vasco may have seen it from the top of his home's walls, and perhaps have dreamt that one day he, too, would go out to sea.