Roaming the random header image

Portugese trade winds, following currents and passing port to the left

October 12th, 2008 · 1 Comment

Mary: An early start, and the forecast wind is nowhere to been seen, there is no wind. Motoring on out of Vigo area, though the fleet of fishing boats, clear of the world’s best beach. Well that’s how the beach at Illas Cies was described by the Guardian newspaper. Down the coast a bit and the wind picks up, from the north, northeast so all downwind. Did I say the wind picks up, well it did again and soon we had up to 31- 32 knots of wind, that’s force 7 in old money, a reasonable amount. Correct definition sea heaps up and white foam from the breaking waves begins to be blown in streaks along the direction of the wind But because we were going with the wind it was great fun. Coming into Leixoes at the end of the sail, we just had a reefed main to take down, our max. speed was 10.9knots. The average for our 74.2 miles for the day was 7.4knots. Not a bad days sailing, I could get used to this down wind lark! Although I’m not so convinced about putting an anchor down in force six in the harbour but it was flat sea and it held on our first attempt, just not used to anchoring in strong winds I guess.

Again the pilot books are not very complimentary to Leixoes, but it is a clean honest working commercial harbour, with fishing boats and an area to anchor, and there are not many harbours along this coast so I have no complaints. There is also a marina for those that prefer a marina. As it is our first port in Portugal we clear in with passports and boat papers.

Porto is very close by and it seems a great shame not to visit, so we spend a great day in Porto. First buying the andante travel card for 4 Euros, a quick visit to the market 01_Mercado_Leixoes.jpg which as you can see fantastic, fish on ground floor with vegetable stalls upstairs.

We then take the bus to the world class, Museu Fundacao Serralves, museum of contemporary art and gardens. What a superb space, always changing exhibits so you never know what will be there, but the gardens themselves are worth the visit and you can have a ticket just for that (take your computer there is free wifi).06_Museum_poor_leg.jpg You can see here David has a sore knee, it’s the leg he has off the ground. The museum, is a large space with modern clean lines, the work of Porto architect Alvaro Siza Vieira, there were two main exhibits when we were there, David Goldblatt, intersections intersected photographs of his homeland South Africa, mainly in pairs, often of the same view, one black and white taken before apartheid the other colour after. Interesting. 03_Fundacoa_film.jpgThe other exhibition by Manoel De Olivera, his work has received universal recognition, as demonstrated by the host of awards from Film Festivals, Art Houses and Academies worldwide. I’m afraid I hadn’t heard of him before, but was amused with the films in the eight rooms. I’m not sure if that was the correct response or not but it was mine. Coffee to aid the digestion of all this culture then out to the gardens.
Again a large space, with a pink Art Deco house in the grounds, formal gardens, clipped lawns and winding gravel paths with water pools, going down into woodland area before farmland. 07_Serralves_Mansion.jpg. The pink house, well if I had a few million would be tempted to buy, perhaps when we return from our trip. Also a tea house, by the tennis court 08_Tennis_court.jpg I was tempted her to shout Juice! Love! But it’s only tea they serve. If in Porto again I would spend more time here.

Back on the road, hop on the bus, downtown, change bus all easy with the andante card, no hunting for change. Now in town with narrow streets, high buildings, shops street level, on this street, lots of children’s clothes shops. 09_Childrens_clothes.jpg The clothes were beautifully made, smoked dresses, little bonnets, soft tailored jackets, very smart. The next few levels on the building, flats, with washing hanging over balconies, then on the very top what looked like an ad hock extension made from corrugated iron. Some buildings have a decorative tile facing others plain. The city is trying to cater for tourist with the cafés down on the river, but the locals are trying to live there as well, makes an interesting combination. I loved it.

Lunch and David has the traditional sopa a alentejana, garlic and bread with a poached egg on top. While there, we ask the Brazilian waiter about the port houses. He doesn’t know which would be the best but gives us a free pass for Offleys. David thought that Taylors would be better but they were closed. We called in at Crofts (part of Taylors group) and tasted their ten year old offering,14_Tasting_croft_Port.jpg then for scientific reasons we thought we should try the Offley tour. The tour was very good and informative and the port awfully good, sorry could not resist.

The traditional boats on the river motor their passengers up and down creating lots of wash, 18_Porto_north_bank_yachts.jpgbut the passengers like it. I’ve also heard that you can have an excellent trip up the river by train almost to the Spanish border and then boat back to Porto. Thank you Sheana.

Our day ends with the metro back to Leixoes. Two great days in a row.

Tags: Atlantic Leg

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Glenys // Oct 14, 2008 at 10:45 am

    I am so glad I have retired – I love having the time to read your adventures – making notes about what to do with any spare millions I happen to gather – the pink house looked – errr “pink and interesting”!
    Yesterday we overlooked your old stamping (sailing) grounds. We were hill walking above Loch Etive – beautiful day in hillwalking terms not sure about knotts.
    Safe Roaming