Porto - Peniche 13th Sept-16th

Chris & Sally Longstaff
Thu 28 Sep 2006 13:24


We visit Porto on a very wet day, and consequently indulge in a very long lunch by the river. We then cross to the south side to visit a Port lodge, choosing Sandemans, as the mysterious cloaked figure established with their brand seems most appropriate to this week’s English theme at boat-school which is ‘disguise’! (How to involve innocent children in the evils of marketing and alcohol !!?). Took the funicular railway back to the top of the town (not a patch on the one at Bom Jesus).


Photographs cannot do justice to the historical atmosphere (15th century onwards all possible to imagine, especially with a limited amount of historical knowledge!) of the old Porto stretching down to the river, beneath the Ponte de Dom Luis I.  Emerging from our excellent tour of Sandemans I find I could sit and muse all afternoon on what must be one of the great ‘city’ scenes of Europe. Could we get Caroline Holley painting here for a week?


I would have liked to spend more time in Porto but the journey from Leixoes was quite long, and we feel we are already chasing the warmer settled weather we crave….so we move on.


Figueira da Foz

We debate the best time to leave and only after a last minute consultation with Declan, whose boat and family (Debbie, Donnika,and Saiorse from Galway) we have been in and out of company with since Bayona, decide to postpone for 24 hours. We are very glad that we do, as those who leave immediately experience 3-4 metre swells and a very difficult entry at Foz; one huge wave breaking over “True Blue” and slewing her sideways, giving quite a fright to a very experienced skipper!


A day later the swell has subsided somewhat, but we experience our first real Atlantic seascape; big rolling swells, which are very impressive, and in this state quite fun to ride, and harmless! Entry to Foz proves straight forward, despite its reputation.

Rested for the night, and moved on…..


Peniche on the Cabo Carvoeiro.

Incredibly calm sea all the way meant no sailing, again, but at least we got away lightly with what can be a very difficult approach to Peniche (winds around the point!).

Both Foz and Peniche live up to Portugal,s reputation for belligerent and officious bureaucracy. We have a splendid meal of wild sea salmon, and slightly wild Germans with ‘Burt’, our Belgian neighbour at Pedro’s restaurant. Burt, who speaks Portuguese, somehow manages to give the waiter the impression that we were queued before our German friends, which I think might have been a mistake. I maintain a diplomatic silence. One of the Germans turns out to be terribly well mannered, so I apologise as we sit down to eat.