Skipper and First Mate Millard (Big Bear and Pepe)
Mon 1 Sep 2008 21:23
Cascais is a coastal town 30 kilometres west of Lisbon, it is a cosmopolitan suburb of the Portugese capital and one of the richest municipalities in the country. A former fishing village ( guess what, sardine festival, we have tracked it all summer it seems ) it grew in poularity when the Royals spent their summers in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Population about 33,000. Around 1488 King John II built a fortress in the village as a strategic post in the defence of Lisbon.
In 1755, the great earthquake destroyed a large portion of the village. Around 1774, the Marquis of Pombal, prime minister of King Jose I, took protective measures for the commercialisation of wine and established the first Royal Factory of Wool. The queen at the time had her own Royal Silkworms, (not sure how they felt about the Royal Seal and where it was stamped ). All round the town you see stalls selling knitwear especially ponchos.
First job to go shopping. Laughed when we saw a two wheeled scooter. Bright idea of mine to block the drain holes in the cockpit sole, fill with water and Hey Presto, our very own paddling pool to keep cool feet whilst lunching and playing games.
The Town Hall with its lovely tiles. St Peter and a window beautifully surrounded in traditional colours and yet more saints. The paving outside is in the traditional wave pattern stone. You see black on the road, more hard wearing than ashphalt that you only really see on motorways and major roads. White on the pavement and patterns of the two colours on the walkways. There must be billions of stones laid throughout the country, men constantly trot round with a bucket of dry concrete and sand carrying out repairs.
This fancy marquee was headquarters of the World Championship Dragon Racing. They came from all over the world, all lined up overnight behind us and a very stunning wooden one. Three crew, sailed off the pontoon in theory, some needed towing by marina staff, especially in the evening when the wind dropped. One day cancelled due to visibility about ten feet.
Bear got wet eyed laughing, helpless he was. Outside the marquee the sponsors wanted a lawn, so several burly, naked to the waist jobbers, turfed and watered. Chrysler put Jeeps at jaunty angles. Add sofas, glass- topped tables and many sailing reps in matching uniforms and deck shoes, Oh and some piped music.
The temporary stage built on the promenade, food stalls along the harbour wall, and no I didn't take a blurred photo, one of the food tents tried its best to catch fire but it didn't stop the chefs grilling those Blessed Sardines. The smell in the air was awesome. ( I even think they are too bony for me ). Today the stage and all the food tents were taken down, I have been used to this area being just for pedestrians, shocked today when a bus tried to run me down.
The Cascais Festival of the Sea and what bands were head-lining. Saturday night there was fireworks at midnight, with colour and noise as opposed to the Spanish who just made noise, and music until 4 am.
Bear once again got wet eyed laughing, "Why?" "Well is it called Hotel Batty because that's where potty people stay" "Try calling it Baia, it's only an accent over the i". "Well just supposing you want a quiet week and you find yourself next to a stage with base speakers causing sonic boom till 4 in the morning, that's enough to make anyone go mad" . I gave up then.
On Sunday there was the religious part of the festival, all the Holy Statues from the local church were processed through the town with two brass bands. Down to the quayside and the whole lot got into the waiting fishing boats to go out to bless the sea. One of the bands wore brass hats that glinted in the sun, we were most concerned as to how you can blow a cornet standing on a rocking trawler. The town square was packed.
Bear loved this restaurants name - il Fatocatto. The language is quite odd, Folhado de Maca is Apple Turnover. Obrigado is Thank you. Boa Tard is Good Afternoon. Reservado is No Entry. That's the extent of our lingo. We are just pleased OK is OK.
Couldn't resist putting these little chaps in ( just for you Pete ). The policeman who got out must have been about 6' 6 and I just had to take the photo of the Bee coloured chap.
Cascais harbour looking toward Estoril, the next town.
Today was our last day here so we went out to lunch. I chose Spag Bol and to my horror Bear piped up "Sardines please". I have always hated the rotten sock smell of Parmesan, mixing it in to my food as soon as possible, today I used it to cover the hideous smell of the four silver things served. The same smell that I have put up with by the cloud load over the weeks of these festivals, if I never see another one again will really be TOO soon. If I catch one, it will have to be chucked back. I feel skipper has been somewhat disloyal as I quoted earlier " Too bony for me "
Really enjoyed this vibrant town.