Fun in Porto

andromeda of plymouth
Susan and Andrew Wilson
Fri 28 Aug 2009 17:41
After four days in Povoa we have decided, subject to the weather, to move down to Leixoes and anchor overnight before undertaking the 60 mile trip to Figueira da Foz where we hope to stay for a few days. We will need to get some fuel and provisions and it has a reasonable reputation from those ahead of us.
The wind has been something of a feature over the past few days making the marina, although quite cheap, very rolly and noisy.  The port has been closed on numerous occasions due to waves, swell and wind but that doesn't seem to stop folks arriving anyway. There are 5 ARC boats here making their way south for the start in November - hopefully that's what we will be doing next year. The GRIB files show a possible lessening of the wind over the weekend which should make the journey south a little less rolly. Sadly however, due to tide times, we will need to pass Aveiro on this occasion - a Venice in Portugal it is said to be, but it has a tricky bar at the entrance to the lagoons and tide, swell and wind have to be right to enter, but not for us this time.
Porto is an interesting place, full of history and culture, with charm and warmth from the people. We have explored one of the port houses and tasted their wares and very nice they were too. We have explored on foot and taken the historical open top bus tour which lasted quite a while and covered a large amount of the city. There is only so much history we can take in at one time and the number of architects, churches, plaza's, kings, dukes, convents, Peninsula war heroes, wine merchants and architectural styles become mind numbingly numerous - however the tour was very interesting and well put together. We even managed to find a copy of the Observer and Daily Mail here - a relic perhaps of the  Portuguese link to England. We crossed the famous double decked bridge, the Ponte Dom Luis, designed by certain Monsieur Eiffel on foot (twice  - both levels), by Metro (top level) and tour bus (lower level) - and a very fine iron bridge it is I must say so.
Povoa is about an hour from Porto on the Metro system which is very efficient, clear and easy to navigate - well worth spending some time here if you get the opportunity, and not that far from Porto airport. Povoa itself is a Portuguese holiday resort with lots of hotels, beaches, casino's and plenty of clothes shops. The old town has the usual mix of small houses, narrow streets and unusual shops - we even came across a Barclays bank. Its not as expensive as France! Hurrah!
We have been travelling with Martin and Suzanne from Germany, on their boat Raja, from Bayona, but they will be staying here in Povoa for the winter so we will be saying good bye to them for the time being - a very nice couple. Povoa would be a good place to leave a boat for a period of time with most of the usual facilities needed to lift and maintain boats - at least 2 or 3 other folks here are doing the same - not least due to the cost. This marina is one of the cheapest in Portugal.
We have been exploring the challenges of Wifi boosters and are having mixed results - we'll update how we get on - Vista isn't being very helpful it must be said.
More is due course.........
Andrew & Susan
S/V Andromeda