| ||Wednesday 17-08-2016 to Saturday 20-08-2016|
On the morning we leave the bay of Cascais, there is a thick fog in the bay and over the river, which gives us that creepy feeling the weather keeps pursuing us…. We have the current with us and as a result we sail with a speed of 8 knots up the river direction Lisbon. It is not very far, about 2,5 hours sailing. Gradually the fog wanes and the wind increases substantially. We near the gigantic bridge “Ponte 25 Abril” , under which we pass with great ease.
In front of the marina lies a rotating footbridge, which opens 10 minutes after our request.
There are several harbours/marinas near Lisbon, but only one where you are admitted as pleasure craft, Doca De Alcantara Marina. When we sail into the marina, looking for a spot, there is no harbour master in sight and we berth the Pegasus at a favourable spot. When we are all settled and done and walk up to the harbour office, it becomes apparent that the harbour master has spotted us from his office, through the blinds. So he sees where we lay the boat and instead of warning us, that we are berthing in the ‘wrong spot’, he does nothing. We have to move over again, which is not particularly easy with the strong wind, blowing us against the pier. With the help of a bunch of German sailors we get it done. The harbour staff is glued to their chairs and is not what you call cooperative or friendly. According to the card on the door they are in all day long, in practice they are not. The facilities of the toilet blocks are not impressive at all, the gents get again more space than the dames AND a bench and all of this is rather unclean! And of course you pay top-budget prices for all this.
The harbour is closed in in between a desolated boulevard (with modern buildings with room for shops and restaurants that never came off the ground) and a container storage met towering piles of containers and gigantic high cranes. We also have a view of the bridge “Ponte 25 Abril” from 1966, 70 metres high and a span of over a kilometre. There is a road surface on top (now 6 lanes) and a rail track down in the girder and these two produce the sound as if you are inside a giant beehive. A non-stop humming all day long….. In short, a marina where you llllove to stay….NOT!
Oh dear, almost forgot: in the harbour you have enormous jellyfish (see video). Now, we were not exactly planning to go for a swim, but this certainly stops us! Later on we see this species also in Cascais. Okay, enough grumbling!
Lisbon (Lisboa) is the capital and the largest city of Portugal with around 3 million inhabitants. It is a charming city, built on a couple of hills and it watches over the river Tagus. Despite the fact that it is a metropole, the ‘feel’ is pleasant and easy-going. Lisbon has a great variety of quarters, which all have their own character and tourist attractions. We have not visited all the quarters, but have seen the nice ones. In particular, the tram is popular and more specifically tram 28, an old classic tram, which crawls up through the narrow streets. This tram is a tourist attraction in itself and especially handy when you want to avoid walking up all those narrow alleys. Still, we rather walk than ride on a packed and steaming hot tram.
In the Alfama quarter, the washing hangs outside on the house fronts of the, mostly, compact houses and you’ll find picturesque corners, decayed churches, many restaurants and beautiful views. On top of a hill lies Castelo São Jorge, which we only viewed from the outside, since there was a lengthy queue at the entrance and we didn’t feel like waiting in the burning sun for hours. We walked through the cobblestoned alleys, saw small cosy squares, miniature pie-shaped roof terraces filled with plant pots.
We walk up and down many many stairs and see a lot of houses with mosaic (see pic), a pretty sign-board for a ‘Urinol’ (which marks the place of a public toilet for gentlemen, behind a cast-iron screen).
Not only is there a cat, lying in the middle of the road, but there is also a man, sitting in a folding-chair, who doesn’t give a hoot for all those tourists passing by. We also encounter an excavation in the middle of town, of a Roman theatre.
In the Baixa quarter (downtown) we see a tram rounding a corner with a large curve, really scary when you sit there, quietly enjoying your coffee.
I suddenly spot a very beautiful old fabric store and glance inside. Dozens of drawers with lace and buttons, all the fabric sorted out by colour and little hats in a window display. Oooo, I want to take a picture of this! I ask for permission, Fred has to take the picture and the lady of the shop positions me in front of the colourful fabrics. Very friendly, she gives me the opportunity to take some more pictures of her beautiful old shop.
We thank her heartily and walk out of the shop with a big smile.
In this quarter, you can also find the “Elevador de Santa Justa”, a cast-iron elevator that links the quarters Baixa and Bairro Alto. The “Rossi” square is a paved plaza with cafés, pastelarias and the national theatre.
The Belém quarter lays at the broad of the river Tagus and reasonably in the neighbourhood of the marina, but here we only went to a water sport shop, because of our problems with the autopilot. The most important buildings: Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, a 16th century monastery and the Torre de Belém, we viewed from the water, both on the journey in and out.
Lisbon consists of several quarters, which you can reach by bus, tram, train or subway. Furthermore there are a lot of all trams in the centre and you see a lot of TukTuks.
Apart from that you can always just take a cab. But to get from the marina to the bus, you have to walk quite a stretch and moreover up and down very long stairs, before you get to the bus stop. In any case, I can’t stand the sight of another stairway by now!
Walking from the river Tagus to the old Alfama centre means walking uphill, mainly stairs. We had already walked a lot that day and decided to take some sort of TukTuk, who drops us off ‘up high’.
Here you have a breath-taking view of the Tagus. In one of the streets, we find a nice restaurant, “Pastel dio Fado” (Largo di Limoeiro 10, Lisboa), where a guitarist will play the real Fado (Portuguese blues) that evening. We reserve a table and wait on the terrace until dinner time. It was sensible to reserve the table, because the place is already pretty crowded.
We have a table opposite the guitar player and enjoy the wonderful dinner and the beautiful music to the max. It wasn’t the cheapest of restaurants, but it was certainly value for money.
The restaurant “Lumar” (Rue Conde 5), is close to the marina, you only have to walk up more than 150 flights of stairs to get there….It is a small cosy place, where you have the full attention of the somewhat older waiter. Again, he promptly puts a lot of things on the table, like olives (which we both don’t like) and cheeses and such. Reluctantly he takes some of it back to the kitchen. The waiter only speaks Portuguese and refuses to explain anything in English, although we later hear him speak English… The food is good and the wine was very good, of which he opens – unsolicited – a second bottle (which we didn’t drink, by the way). At our coffee he pours us a free liquor, nonetheless; he shows us the bottle and keeps on talking in, for us inaudible, Portuguese. We question ourselves about the amount on the bill, but we are agreeably surprised. In short, cosy and a good dinner for a nice price.
Warm weather all of the days, with the exception of the day we went into town, we had some drizzly rain and it was less warm.
We have yet another empty gas bottle to fill, something that is officially really prohibited in Portugal. But through the harbour office, we get a telephone number of someone who might be able to help us. The bottle is collected, filled up someplace and returned to us, for the sum of € 45!! A large difference with Gijon: there we paid € 8 and € 10 for bus fare. Oh well, what has to be done has to be done. We are looking for a company that can fix or replace our autopilot. Through the company DND, at the Doca Belém, an appointment is made with someone from Nautirader, for that same afternoon. Of course we have prepared ourselves well and we know which type of autopilot we eventually might have to buy. This ‘sales man’ hardly looks into anything and doesn’t even let us finish talking. He is nog thinking along with us to find the best solution. The last straw is that when we ask him for a proposition, he cold-blooded tells us he is not sure he is going to make it, since he is going on holiday on Monday!! As if we care! Just do your job! All in all Mister Mechanic hasn’t been on board for more than 10 minutes and the Dutch proverb “The client is King” is certainly not applicable! Up till now we haven’t heard anything from this ‘company’!
I decide to send Raymarine in the Netherlands an e-mail and we have an answer the next day. They give us the name of a Dutchman, who lives and works in Albufeira and is a Raymarine representative. We send him an e-mail that we are coming to Portimão and ‘can he maybe help us’? And this man knew of our problem, because Raymarine in Holland already brought him up to date. That is how it should be done! To be continued.
Since the marina has no washing machines, we have to go and look for a laundrette once more. In the end we find a ‘lavanderia’ (Rue Prior do Crato), which is within walking distance from the marina. These are again those wonderful washing machines that finish the job real quickly and after an hour we return to the boat with clean clothes and sheets.
We see the “Matsya “in the marina. We read their blogs too, but we haven’t met the owners.
Feels quite at home on the boat! On one of his favourite spots, the shelf over the sink, he secludes himself (see pic). “I don’t see you, so you can’t see me!”