Portugal - Part 1

After Baiona we left Spain and headed off to Portugal. The Portuguese courtesy flag was hoisted and we weaved our way between the endless lobster pots randomly deposited to keep us alert.  The fishermen who put bright orange flags on top of their pots were obviously the helpful, considerate type. The idiots who mark their pots with blue or black flags are just that, idiots.

We carried on to Porto and were welcomed at a brand new 5 star marina by a very helpful guy called Nono who helped us fuel up and then to berth in the marina. While chatting to Nono to help him practice his English we spotted Kika coming in to the marina and I got a ride on his super speedy boat to go and greet them. Great fun as we did some spins and wave hopping!  The marina delivered fresh bread to the boats in morning and this along with the other facilities made our stay very pleasant.

On their morning walk the boys had a good sniff in a newly planted shrub area and reverted to being jungle cats for a while. They had a great time and when we got back to the boat they looked exhausted and very contented.

Clive and I got a rickety ferry across the river and then a tram ride into the old town, it’s stunning architecture provided by the old buildings and steep narrow streets. We then joined an open bus tour of the town, eventually getting off to do some shopping in a huge department store that had everything!  I seem to be going through a transformation of some kind as I was surrounded by designer labels and some really serious fashion but I now can’t see the point in splashing out as I won’t have the opportunity to wear anything other than shorts for the next 5 years and by then whatever I buy will probably be out of fashion. I never thought I’d turn my nose up at least looking at what’s on offer but so far I’ve only had a half hearted look at some bags but the enthusiasm just isn’t there any more.

There were plenty of tours advertised for the port factories/distilleries but we didn’t have time to go to any of them. Maybe a return visit is required. I've included a favourite photo of mine of two old ladies walking home after a trip into town. I loved watching them weaving up the old streets, stopping to catch their breath and then walking out infront of traffic.  Not a care in the world. I took loads of pictures of them and managed to get Clive in a few so that I didn't look too stalkerish. I think I got away with it. This could be me in a few years.

After leaving Porto we started to sail to our next stop when the auto helm stopped working so we had to hand steer for 10 hours getting into Figueira da Foz in very windy weather which made it difficult to moor. James helped Clive to temporarily fix the auto pilot and then we ate on deck and watched another Homeland episode before bed.

Up at 7am the next day to head for Nazare where for the first time we were asked if we had any pets onboard. The customs guy looked quite taken aback when  told about the cats but didn’t ask for any paperwork. Which is a pity as I want to show off their pet passports whenever I can. The facilities in Nazare  were on the bleak side to say the least. It’s a small fishing marina and the showers were like something out of Bate’s Motel. Mosaic flooring and a worrying shower curtain, not to mention the cold water.

Nazare town itself is a bit like Rhyl.  A long promenade with gift shops selling all sorts of pointless goodies. We got the Funicular up the hill and did a bit of sight seeing before heading to the old town for tea.

We’e now in Caiscais and a splendid marina that has got several regattas going on today so it’s bedlam. We’re surrounded by teams of enthusiastic youngsters winching themselves up and down the masts. I’m not sure if it’s a test or they’re just eager for some sort of adrenalin rush. There are plenty of shops, bars and restaurants here so the best thing for us to do is go to the bar until the excitement settles down. We’ve got the air conditioning on so all is well downstairs and an added bonus is that the marina gave us complimentary bottles of local wine.