On our blog we often post pictures showing the sunshine, today the rain has come but being stuck inside has given me the motivation to update the blog.
We have been back in Cascais for nearly three months now. The summer has not been the one we planned but we have been out exploring the local area. Places are very quiet, we visited the Castelo de S. Jorge Lisbon, speaking to one of the guides they typically have 20,000 visitors a day in August, this year the numbers are around 2,000. We spotted a naughty seagull going to the pharmacy without a mask on but on the whole people are wearing face coverings when required. As with everywhere, it seems uncertain what will happen during the autumn. We had planned a trip back to the UK but currently, the requirements for quarantine make this unviable.
We have been out sailing a few times, We made a trip south about 25 nautical miles to Sesimbra for a few days. The trip down was mixed, light winds at first and a rolly motion making us feel sick then as the wind strengthened it became a good trip. We had hoped for the following wind as forecast to try the cruising chute out but the wind was on the nose.
We anchored in the bay overnight but although the sea was calm the waves bounce around the bay and caused the boat to roll around uncomfortably. This persisted all night and in the morning we both felt quite ill and decided that we could not put up with another night. The choice was to go back to Cascias or see if the marina had space. All the guides say the marina rarely has space but we were in luck, they had space but it was for a larger boat than ours and we would have to pay the higher rate, we decided to take the place so we could explore the town properly. We were glad we did as it was an interesting place and we treated ourselves to a fish dinner in a restaurant right by the fishing harbour.
We visited the castle and explored the town whilst here.
The trip back was made under motor as the forecast was correct, a light headwind.
We decided to buy some folding bikes to allow us to easily explore a bit farther afield. Judith wanted an electric one, Graham thought it wise to buy an electric one as he was afraid he might not be able to keep up with Judith, a wise decision with the benefit of hindsight.
Bikes are in short supply this year but we found that the local branch of Decathlon had two in stock but once we had ordered and paid for them the three days they needed to prepare them became 10 days as one of them was being shipped from France.
We have made trips out to Sintra and climbed up to the Moors castle, We went out to Tomar and the abbey and also to the Castelo de S. Jorge in Lisbon. We are grateful to our friend Howard for taking us to these places. It has been good to see more of Portugal’s History.
The Moors Castle Sintra
This castle is set high on the hills, we spent around an hour walking up from Sintra, you get great views on the way and even better views from the castle. One thing to note is looking back down to the Palacio Nacional is how empty the plaza outside is I am sure that in a normal year this has queues of people waiting to go into the building.
Not really a castle but a fortified Abbey constructed by the Knights Templers. This is about 2 hours drive from Lisbon but worth the trip.
Castelo de S. Jorge
This castle is in Lisbon and has a history dating back to the Moors. It was badly damaged in the earthquake of 1755 but was rebuilt in the 20th Century. From the castle you get good views over the city.
We have visited Guincho Beach and also the beaches of Trafaria and Costa da Caparica on the south of the Tagus. There is tremendous variation in the beaches from the wild and windswept Guincho Beach, the resort of Costa da Caparica and the Cova do Vapor with its slightly anarchic and down at heel feel. I particularly liked the Avenida Dos Milionarios, perhaps the people who live here are rich in ways many living on the other side of the Targus would not understand
From ancient tiles to modern graffiti, the Portuguese are very keen on street art. Currently, there is a lighthouse festival and artists are busy painting model lighthouse all around town, I will post some pictures of these next time.
Living on a Filmset
We woke up one morning to find that we had been transported to the Azores, at least that is what the signs at the Marina said as they advertised a whale watching trip. The marina was being used as a film set for a Portuguese TV program “Amar Demais”. It was interesting watching them, initially, we just thought it was a couple having an argument as we did not realise they were acting.
We have been enjoying living back in Cascias, we have enjoyed meeting up with friends old and new. A Swiss couple who spent some of the winter here showed up. Their plan had been to sail to the Baltic this year. They only made it as far as Spain due to lockdown. They have decided to head to the Algarve for the winter and try again next year. We have been meeting back with Riverside International Church you have to book tickets as numbers are limited in the building. They did manage to hold a baptism on the Beach. We also found the delights of the GB store selling such delights as Fray Bentos pies and Echo Falls Wine (priced at over 6 Euros when you can by great Portuguese wine much cheaper, not sure how many bottles they sell) .
The biggest drama was when a French Sailor fainted and fell off his boat and landed between ours. A Russian man jumped in and took him to the stern of our boat, we lowered the swim ladder and fortunately, he regained consciousness and was able to climb out of the water.