Tuesday, June 19, 2018

A few notes on the Marina Cascais

The outer marina pontoons for the local fleet - citadel walls on the left 

When we first arrived, the marinieros and the women in the office could not have been nicer. They have remained so throughout our stay. Even when we complained daily about no internet access, they remained nice. The IT guy kept telling them he could see us logged onto the internet so everything was fine, but he never left his office to come down to where we were to see that with six internet stations distributing signal, we could not even see one - not on our laptops or our smart phones from below or on the docks. I had to go to the office with my laptop to sit on the couch to get some banking and work done. That's not acceptable in a high end marina today.

The southern section of the marina - yellow office building in the back

We have had items delivered to us at the marina, and aside from a bit of confusion between super yacht Alexia and little old Aleria, we've had no difficulty. We will get our 25% discount with the membership in ANC - the Associacao Nacional de Cruzeiros which cost €25 to join.

The laundry costs €3 per load for wash and €3 per load for dry. There are two washers and two dryers and one must get tokens at the marina office. The machines are in the office building so it's a bit of a hike from where the transient yachts are berthed.

The benefit of being berthed there is that the middle section of the marina, which is a dry dock, serves as a massive surge break. The surge in the front of the marina can be rather disturbing. When the wind shifts from northerly to westerly or southerly, the front part of the marina and the anchorage becomes rather lively and many boats return to the marina after a night of bucking like broncos.

The key card accesses only the showers and toilets and gates in the section of the marina in which you are berthed. So you can't walk the docks elsewhere. The block of restaurants and shops that service the marina are convenient to the transient berths as well. We found the restaurant called Valerio to be quite good for lunch or a light dinner. The Skipper Bar does a good burger. The little convenience store and mini chandlery is useful but its opening hours can be random. The seafood restaurant on the upper level is supposed to be very good, but when we tried to go there was not one customer and the smell emanating from within was not of fresh fish. Apparently, this is the first year since the recession that many of the businesses are actually open, and many shops are still closed. We get the sense that much more was expected of the place than materialized.

We have heard from a reliable source that the marina has been sold to investors and that the service area will be eliminated within the next couple of years. The service area will be converted into luxury living accommodation. The people who run the service businesses are wondering where they can relocate.

We have found the marina to be quite convenient. The train station is about a 10 minute walk and trains runs to Lisbon every 20 minutes and takes about 45 minutes. (Note: not all trains from Lisbon go all the way to Cascais but you can transfer to trains that do.) Just above the train station is the Jumbo supermarket, a shopping mall, and a car rental agency. There are at least two Lidl supermarkets nearby, well sign posted.

The restaurants and bars (there are 3 Irish pubs) in the centre of town above the beach are all pretty touristy and the food is expensive and not great. If you walk out of the marina in the other direction (up the stairs at the end of the citadel), cross the street at the roundabout and find the street Vasco de Gama, you'll find a string of excellent restaurants frequented by the locals.

The town of Cascais has a concept artisanal village inside the walls of the old citadel. It's essentially a series of high end art galleries showcasing Portuguese artists. There is much negotiating going on and the prices are eye watering.

The museum takes about 10 minutes to walk through. It covers the history of Cascais but without much on display. The art and craft shop across from the church near the marina has beautiful works on display and for sale.

View over the western section of the marina

Lighthouse just beyond the marina

Aleria without masts in her berth 

Hand made rugs in craft shop

Amazing old Porche

The block of buildings between the two marina sections

Train station in Cascais

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