Thursday, 1 November 2012

Cascais & Lisbon

Cascais marina was originally a destination well outside our budget, but it was now the beginning of October and winter rates had kicked in - meaning it was a very reasonable 13 Euros a night (considerably less than we had paid to raft up in Weymouth..where the welcome package didn't include a free bottle of wine.)  There is an anchorage outside, but it can get very rolly, and we wondered at the perseverance of some crews who stayed out there when it did.

Lighthouse near Cascais marina
Condes de Castro Guimareas Museum, Cascais
The marina is just five minutes walk from Cascais proper, and is surrounded by cafes and bars.  Cascais is a clean, prosperous feeling village (if fairly touristy), and we spent a few days exploring, walking the seafront (serious waves breaking on the beach) and getting lost in an enormous supermarket.  It was mostly hot and sunny, but with some misty days.

Cascais beach and marina

Cascais Seafront
One of the attractions of Cascais is its proximity to Lisbon; we got the train in one day, and spent an enjoyable time wandering the streets of the old town and climbing up to the castle, with views across the city.

Lisbon Castle peacock!
Statue, Lisbon Castle
Lisbon View

Graffiti, Lisbon style
We'd thought about bringing the boat right in to the city, but were glad we hadn't when we went to have a look at the Doca de Alcantara marina, where we'd have berthed.  It's a bleak, industrial place.  Apparently the expo marina, further out of town, is the place to go.  We went to a couple of chandleries, but they were disappointing both in terms of price and range.  We've yet to see any remotely comparable to those back home.  We walked back to the train station along the river Tagus, under the huge suspension bridge, reminiscent of the Golden Gate.  It was a slightly bleak afternoon, and the entire bridge  disappeared into a thick layer of fog.

Ponte 25 de Abril, Lisbon
 For the first time we felt we'd got into the cruising social scene, where friends are quickly made.  As well as meeting up with Rod and Julie on Rojo (last seen in Coruna), we met Oliver and Carlotta, in their early 30s and cruising on their Rival 32 Troskala (good taste in boats) and had the first of several evenings enjoying a drink or two with them. We also met interesting people on Courage (Swedish flagged, but crewed by Miguel and Elsy, from Spain and South America), and Ralph on Razfaz, heading down to Cadiz for the winter.  These two were both stuck in Cascais with serious engine problems, and had been there for weeks...It was great to meet some people on smaller, older boats (Troskala, 1980 and 32 feet, was the newest and largest of all four).

Cascais square
We were starting to feel restless after a week or so, and there was talk of a good weather window for Madeira.  Several boats left all at once one morning, including Troskala.  The forecast looked okay for another few days, so we decided to have another day in Lisbon before heading out to sea again. Hindsight is a fine thing..

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