Viana do Castelo to Leixoes

We left early in the morning before the swing bridge closed. It is left open at night but is closed to allow access to pedestrians after 0800 and only opened on request during the day. With 10 minutes to spare we retraced or steps of the previous Tuesday and passed the rock festival which was playing music even at that early hour. We managed some sailing but mostly with engine running and had a relatively uneventful trip until we approached Leixõs, when the heavens opened. As we crossed the commercial harbour the rain increased to a deluge and we were thoroughly soaked by the time we reached the marina at the back of the harbour. There was no answer on the radio and no one around to guide us. The reception pontoon was full so we moored up at the nearest convenient spot which was a rather rickety old pontoon which my foot went through as soon as I stepped off the boat. Apparently it was lunchtime which was why no one was around. while waiting for the marina office to re-open, we noticed a very battered Bavaria 40 at the end of our pontoon. Its spray hood was in tatters the deck was covered in lichen and it looked as if it had sunk and been salvaged: its name –“Phoenix.” It would take a lot of work to make that one rise from the ashes.

In the afternoon the rain eased and we took a stroll into Leixõs (pronounced something like Layshoise!) and grabbed a meal at a nearly empty restaurant.

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Dinosaur Porto. Doesn’t everywhere have one?

14th August 2015                                  Porto

The reason for visiting Leixõs, apart from there being few stopping options on the Portuguese coast, was its proximity to Porto which we wanted to visit. We took a bus into Porto and then took a hop on-hop-off tourist bus around the city which is steeped in history (and port producing houses). The bus stopped on the east bank of the river Douro where all the port producers were located. After lunch, purchased from a riverside stall, we set off up the very steep hill leading to the Taylor’s Port emporium (one of) our favoured brands. Having puffed our way to the top of the hill, Taylor’s site was very reminiscent of a sherry Bodega or a Scotch Whiskey distillery – very pretty and well kept and not much activity as most of the work was done inland up the River Douro where the grapes are grown. We sampled some port, three varieties in all: Chip dry port, tawny and ruby only a sample of the different possibilities. I had no idea there were so many. After a very informative tour of the site which included information on what went into it and what makes a real vintage port, we made our way back down the hill to the bus. Completing the circuit back to where we started took us through the very picturesque old town by the river. By the time we reached Leixõs we were exhausted and fell into the nearest restaurant, who’s name I wish I could remember. It was extremely popular with the local Portuguese and the reason became apparent when we received the bill. Two sea bass and a couple of rounds of drinks came to 9 Euros per head. When we questioned the low price a Portuguese at a nearby table said that it was a flat rate of 9 Euros whatever you ate or drank. Outstanding!!

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Author: chrisgowers

Retired pilot now sailing around the Mediterranean accompanied by my wife Jacquie.