Nazare to Cascais & Lisbon

Thu 9 Oct 2008 11:11

The last couple of days in Nazare were interesting. The weather has been almost cloudless and very warm since we reached Portugal but the wind comes and goes a bit. The forecast showed strong northerly wind coming in, so we became increasingly concerned that we were on a north-facing hammerhead with two larger boats (a UK 43-footer and a slightly large French boat) moored outside us. The marina captain, “Captain Mike”, a whiskered English ex-master mariner, was concerned that, unless we strapped all the boats together with bar-tight lines, the raft would start swinging around and displace the shore attachments or the outer anchors of his pontoon. On the windiest night and the following day the bumping and grinding was fairly unpleasant but we consoled ourselves that Amoret was more strongly built than either of our outside neighbours. Neither the boats nor the pontoon succumbed so all was well.


We decided to leave on Sunday by which time the swell should have dropped from 3.5m to something more reasonable. Actually leaving was trickier than we expected. The marina is part of a government port (a very large fishing fleet is based there) so we had to pay the official at the security gate on the day of departure. I got up at 0545, picked my way in the dark through the guard dogs of various shapes and sizes protecting the fishermen’s sheds, woke the official, then had an interesting 20-minute discussion (unfortunately he knew even less English than I did Portuguese) to establish exactly what I owed. Since it was only about 50 euros for 4 nights this wasn’t too big a deal. Captain Mike had told us of a route through the strait between Ilha Berlenga and the mainland that should minimise the effects of the prevailing southerly current, which gave us a chance of arriving in Cascais before dark if we left at first light.


It was the usual sort of trip for this time of the year – motor-sailing through rolling swell with little wind until we reached the major headland of Cabo da Roca (the most westerly point in mainland Europe for the pub quiz enthusiasts), after which it blew about 25-30 Kt from dead astern, dying off as we turned into the Rio Tejo (Tagus) to moor in the large and opulent marina at Cascais just after sunset. This is a very pretty holiday resort as well as being a 30 min train ride from Lisbon, so we expect to be here for a few days before moving on to Sines.


(Thursday October 9)  Cascais (first 2 photos: the marina from our berth and then a long shot of the marina from the other side of the town) is still booming with holiday-makers, despite it being October, so restaurants etc. are all still open.  We made our planned trip to Lisbon and decided to find a hotel for a night so we could track down some fado in the evening.  The Rough Guide surprisingly steered us to somewhere luxurious for a pre-birthday treat – it was the first time I have literally asked a receptionist for ‘a room with a view’. You can see the view on the last 2 photos; we had a balcony/terrace overlooking castle, cathedral and river – amazing!  We also found really entertaining fado in a small adega in the Barrio Alta where it seemed everyone sang: professional singers, the owner, the cook… and the food was good, too!  We completed the tourism next morning by walking miles to the Museu Nacional do Azulejo to find out more about the Portuguese  obsession with ceramics.  This was a lovely museum set in an old convent so tiles and heavy baroque Iberian Catholicism co-existed in an interesting, if occasionally odd, way.  So now we’re planning the next ‘jump’; probably to Sines.