Cool, comfortable and civilised under a cloudless sky in Cascais (well it was until this morning)

andromeda of plymouth
Susan and Andrew Wilson
Wed 9 Sep 2009 11:02
38.41.433N 09.25.131W
Cascais is a a somewhat upmarket holiday town with a marina to match. The marina staff were great and answered the VHF call (WOW), guided us in, helped with our lines and gave us a complementary bottle of wine while relieving us of quite a lot of Euro's. Our friends from Drifter and Unity, were also here for a few nights.
The trip from Peniche was a bit rolly and we started a little late in the morning as the marina office hours are somewhat different on weekdays compared to weekends, so we didn't get away until 10am. We motored a fair way then managed to get the genoa to set and were managing a very nice 6knots or so until we approached Cabo da Roca not far from Cascais. We were about 2 miles offshore at this stage trying to take advantage of the current that runs down the coast of Portugal. Here the wind decided to veer round to the northeast and increase speed very quickly. We reefed down the genoa but were still doing over 7 knots with the wind now over 30 knots. More reefing until we put it away completely as the wind was now over 40 knots and we were now doing 7 knots under bare poles. With the engine on we managed to maintain steerage and kept Andromeda going in the right direction. An hour later we were outside Cascais in no wind at all - beware headlands!! The following day had no wind at all until the evening! Bit of an andrenaline rush all in all.
On our journey we had a bit of excitement, at 12.30 we decided to see if Jenny was awake and sang her Happy Birthday (very harmoniously I must say) she is 20 today (responsibility looms eh!) - we hope she has a great day. We also had a stowaway, of the winged variety. A beautiful dragonfly suddenly appeared on the deck and sunned itself on the guard rails for quite a while before it found another spot and only flew off as we approached Cascais - we have no idea where it came from but it had a long way out to go to get to us. We also saw our first grey dolphins around the boat, these are a bigger species we are used to seeing in the med and they had a nice play around in front and under Andromeda for a while. Then to complete the rule of three we saw a big jelly fish as we approached Cascais, not too sure if if was the poisonous variety or not but we were glad we were not in the water.
Languidly Loopy in Lisboa
Next morning (Tuesday 8th September) we took the train into Lisboa (after trying in vain for an hour to find a strong Wifi signal to check e-mail) and decided to take one of the bus tours around the old and new parts of the city - worthwhile but we were nearly jibbering wrecks by the end as the music that is put on the tape to play between the speell to tell you all the interesting things about the city was exactly the same as the music on the tour in Porto - aarrgghhh!!!! There were only two songs too for the whole tour!!!!  It was also very warm in the sun and nearly very sophorific. We wandered around the old town and had some lunch - Susan was surprised at  what passed for roast chicken with garlic - however she assured me it was fine ;-). Lisbon is slightly different to Porto in that there has been a lot of new developments around the north of the city where the big Expo 98 was held. The old town still maintains its charm but what really struck us was some of the innovative building designs and use of the traditional tiles on the outside of buildings. There are some fantastic building on the Euro 98 site, with the huge Aquarium very impressive indeed. The Vasco da Gama bridge at over 17 kilometres long looked amazing as it faded into the haze, and there were so many interesting museums and galleries along the northern side of the river Tagus - you could spend quite a bit of time here. Transport is very good and cheap - certainly when compared to the UK train and underground fares. Its well used and the buses, trams, trains and metro system running on time and very clean. We are intending to explore Cascais later before heading south.
Last night (after the partying on the waterfront had died down) we had a collosal thunderstorm with associated lightning and heavy (but not cold) rain of all things. However we are assured that the sun will soon return!
Andrew & Susan
S/V Andromeda