Thursday, 2 October 2014

Final leg in Portugal

Saturday 6th September – 22nd September

Expecting thunderstorms today (Saturday) so we went for a long walk before the storms. Needless to say they did not arrive but it encouraged us to go for a long walk early. On the way back we managed to buy some spices that we had not been able to find, or at least we think we have as the names are in Portuguese but we went on looks. Could be in for a surprise when we cook tonight. 

I cooked lemon chicken in the evening which one of us thought was very good, excellent in fact. Catherine thought the “rice was nice”.

Went for a swim early on Sunday, not out of choice. Our anchor was well and truly twisted around a massive anchor which we managed to drag up to just under the surface. After an hour of trying to free our chain, the only option was for me to don flippers and mask to free it. It took less than 5 minutes once I was in the water (it was freezing).

The one good picture we took in Paniche
Motored the 18 miles to Paniche into a southerly wind where we squeezed into berth in the marina. Tourist Information recommended a walk around the coast which dates back to the Jurassic period. They did not focus much on the town but really sold the walk around the coast – 8km.   After 3km of a frankly not interesting walks we gave up (although there were the occasional stunning view) and cut back through the town which was even more depressing. We spent another hour looking for something to redeem the town but failed even to find a restaurant that we would want to eat in that evening. 

Final leg to Cascais 
Anchored in Cascais looking towards the town
On Monday we set off early for Cascais with a spring in our step. Final leg of this part of the journey and we again had to motor into a 10kn southerly wind so not very exciting. We anchored in Cascais harbour which is very attractive and set off in the dinghy to explore the town. Found an easy place to moor on the fuel pontoon and very helpfully we put the dinghy around the back so it would not block anyone else. Very easy at high tide.

After a drink and visit to a supermarket for food, we arrived back to find the dinghy stranded on the rocks. Bugger! Who did not check if the tide was falling!!! So we took off the engine and fuel and manhandled the dinghy across the pontoon on to the other side. It was dark by now and we did not have a torch for the journey back to our boat. Same person forgot the torch as who did not check the tides earlier so we will skip over that.

Dreadful night rolling around at anchor in the bay. Wind has continued to be unseasonably from the South so we got all the waves coming in. Headed off to Oeiras marina where we found we get a 50% discount on berthing so it just expensive rather than extortionate

A break in Brussels
We are flying to Brussels for Rebecca’s birthday today (Thursday) and all the children will be there. Possibly the last time we will all be together for a long time.  Up early for a shower at 7am (yes that is early for us) and walked the 20 minutes to the station at a brisk pace and only just managed to get the train. Sweated all the way to Lisbon. 

No problem in getting to the airport, arriving uncharacteristically with time to spare. Shame we went to the wrong terminal and then spent the next 20 minutes finding the right terminal and now had no time to spare. 

First time for us as parents we were not the hosts for the family. It is rather nice to be looked after by someone else, suggesting what we should do, when to eat and prepare all the food. Rebecca did a splendid job as well as looking after an 8 month old baby and both Ed and Rebecca were very good hosts. And it was great to see how our grandchild is progressing.

Back to Oeiras
We flew back to Lisbon on the Monday. Slight panic because we have friends Bill and Sue arriving tomorrow and we are not getting back to the boat until late tonight. It does need a clean, we have the washing to do, shopping to get and I have arranged some work to be done on the boat. Not a good position to be in when they are arriving in Lisbon at 10:00 in the morning!

Having felt the need to apologise in advance that we were not ready for them as planned, I phoned Bill when we got back to the boat in the evening. Apparently they are not coming to Wednesday (as we had arranged!) so it was a great relief. 

Tuesday was a mad panic getting everything done – boat cleaned, work completed, shopping sorted. As ever, these things do get done and we nice and relaxed when we met them on the Wednesday. Of course we were late having come 5 miles down the road when they arrived on time having left home 8 hours earlier.

Very enjoyable three days of sight-seeing, walking and even a tram ride around the city. On the second day we went to Sintra to see the royal palace which was the summer palace of the king and very splendid. After lunch in a little café, we left 30 seconds before the thunderstorm started and we were bathed in torrential rain for 20 minutes. The torrent of water flowing down the street ensured that our feet were soaked while the gusting wind meant that the umbrella was only offered a token of protection. But least it is warm and you dry out quickly!

The tram ride on the Friday was enjoyable but not as spectacular as we had imagined. We actually spent longer queueing for the tram than we spent on it. It was a one way journey that took about an hour – roughly the same amount of time it took us to walk back into town. And trams are a good idea why?

Now Bill and Sue have left it is time to get the boat ready for the crossing to Madeira. As always there is a list of jobs that are urgent, not least of all connecting up the cabin fans to cool us down in the heat now the thunderstorms of the last two weeks have passed. We also need to do the washing that seems to accumulate and with one washing machine for the whole marina it is a game of who can get there just as the last person’s washing cycle completes. 

Final preparation of the boat although there are still jobs outstanding that Steve and Annie can help with after they arrive tonight. Not least we need to do the menus and shopping for the 500 mile sail to Madeira.

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