We arrived in Leixoes oct. 10th early evening The marina in Leixoes is where you’d go if you want to visit Porto. Porto itself has no really facilities for yachts and the current in the river Douro is very tricky. We waited till midnight to have drink to celebrate my birthday. Next morning when I got back from a shower Monique had decorated the boat.
That was really nice although it took a hint from Rutger for me to notice it We left after breakfast and took the bus to Porto. The half hour trip was sort of a site seeing ride. It was a beautiful day and warm too. Walking in Porto means going up and down narrow and very steep streets and we had to walk in the shade because of the heat. Porto is really worth while visiting and with Monique being our on shore navigator we got to see almost all the places that were in the book! We had lunch at the banks of the river Douro that runs through Porto and went on with our tour, crossing the old bridge to the South side. Of course we there visited one of the port cellars ! We went to the oldest one which happened to be founded by an Englishman in 1790, called Sandeman.
Next English spoken tour however was not until tomorrow, so we did the first one that was on and that was in French. None of us speaks French so apart from the few words we could pick up we were clueless about the story the guide so happily told us. Nonetheless it was nice and for sure worthwhile to be there and see all the huge barrels full with port. Some of those are itself ancient. All the guides were of course dressed with the Zorro cape and sombrero so we had about a dozen Sandemans running around. The tour included a small tasting session of course. I had only once before drunk port and I didn’t like it too much, too sweet to my taste. This port however was much better! Because of the heat we took a break several times to chill and enjoy the scenery. The ebb tide runs at an amazingly strength. In the pilot book it said that with heavy rainfall it can get up to 8 kts. We had no rain but it was close to spring tide and that you could see!
Anyway after having tapas we went for a restaurant for dinner. My desert was served with candles on it which was a nice surprise and Monique had bought me a nice present ..a Sandeman cap. We took a taxi back to the marina. I must say that all Porto is not expensive at all. The cab ride was only € 13 and dinner for 4 including wine and desert € 70 and a bit. We had a little sip of port when we got back to end a really wonderful day, and a very special birthday!
We left Leixoes next day in the afternoon heading for Ilha da Berlenga about 115 nm SSW. Ilha da Berlenga is a group of 3 [very] small islands which according to the pilot book were worthwhile visiting. The trip was okay but we had to motor a lot. Twice the wind picked up enough to set sail. We even hoisted the spinnaker but that didn’t last long as the wind died again. For downwind sailing we need at least 10 kts.