Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Portimao – a bit past its due date

Approaching old Portimao from the water

After having vegetated aboard yesterday, we were up for shore leave today. Yesterday, we just needed a day off. We hadn’t stopped moving since we’d come down to Aleria. I was exhausted and no amount of sleep seemed to be redeeming. So we stopped for one day. Did nothing much but read, and wrote and played on the internet, and hung out. Lunch was excellent with fish cakes I’d made with leftover fish from the Marisco in Cascais. Alex out up the awning and it cooled things down.

The wind came in the afternoon, the northerlies one would expect here that we really haven’t had much of lately. It was blowing a good 25 knots and we did actually muster up the energy to visit Delphinus. Lee, Kristin and Paris were heading ashore for dinner to watch England in the World Cup (they won) but invited us for drinks in advance. A wet dinghy ride but not without its merits. Dinner of stir fry and we were out for the count.

This morning we packed up and drove across to the marina where we had planned to leave the dinghy while exploring Portimao. They couldn’t have been more off putting. “Are you a client of ours?  If not you cannot leave your dinghy here,” the woman pronounced.” Alex said, “We are in the anchorage now, but we are planning to come in for a night and we’d just like to leave the dinghy to explore the town a little today.” “Absolutely not,” she said. “You have to go up to the place just before the bridge where the gates are open and you can leave your dinghy there.” I said, “We did not see a bridge, can you tell us how far it is?” “Oh, everyone knows where the bridge is, it’s right by the town.” A young girl at the desk handed us a brochure that had a map of the town and pointed out the bridge. We thanked her and left. At high season, the rates here are almost double what they were in Cascais. No way are we coming back there with that attitude. And I’ll be including that in my reviews of Marina Portimao.

We drove the distance to the town and it is a long way. Had she said to us, “If you park here you’ll have a very long walk. Better to go to the pier at the centre of town,” it would have made a very different impression. Pity that people dealing with rich people develop an attitude that doesn’t do them justice.

We tied up by the old steps which happened to be right at the central square. I asked a tour guide if we’d be okay leaving the dinghy there and he said yes, there aren’t any other boats that tie up there.

We walked around but the town appeared to be, for the most part, neglected and uninteresting. I did find an optician and asked if they could fix my glasses. I had lost a screw. They fixed them and adjusted them with no charge. People are still kind in places.

At the tourist office, we asked if there was anywhere to buy a wet suit and what’s the best restaurant at which to have lunch. We found the surf shop but the wet suits were €299. Ouch. We did not find the restaurant she recommended but we did find another where the locals were queuing. It’s sardine season and everyone was having grilled sardinhas. They also had fresh clams available and we opted for those. Sauteed in mountains of crushed garlic and butter – we asked them to hold the cilantro. A carafe of wine and salad, followed by a shot of coffee, and we were in heaven, as relaxed as we have ever been.

We stopped for another coffee and tea and ice cream on the harbour. We bought AAA batteries at the hardware store which took a bit of doing and headed back to the boat via the church on the hill. Much of the town appears neglected but restoration seems to be taking place and the church is huge and well maintained. It had an interesting series of statues, including one of Joseph holding Jesus as a young boy, which struck me as unusual, and one of Pope John. We wondered if it was changed from time to time.

Back in the dinghy and heading home, we passed by the tour boats all heading home. Weeeee, we jumped their wakes. The sky was blue, the air was clear, the sun was warm and the water splashing up wetting our bottoms, but we didn’t care. Life was good again today.

Relaxing aboard yesterday

The offending marina office

The marina is half empty

The Portimao riverfront

Tying up in Portimao

Fountain in the square
Eerie door

Busiest street

Not a shop

Barber shop
Excellent restaurant
Clams Portuguese style

Coffee, tea and ice cream

Church on the hill

Joseph holding Jesus

Park on the waterfront

Dinghy at higher tide

Happy Alex

Fueling up at the Repsol

Tour boats heading home

More tour boats

Passing Ferragudo

Our new neighbours being picked up by water taxi

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