Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Looking Like Christmas in Porto!

Although we liked Povoa de Varzim a lot, we decided to move on after just one night  - and yes, I have probably spelled the name of the town a couple of different ways, but I think the former is correct.  Marina Povoa was very nice and certainly reasonable to cheap (23 euoros for a cat is not bad at all).  However, our big surprise was that although the marina shares a harbor with a small fishing fleet, there was apparently no fuel dock and the closest spot was 12 miles away - maybe.  This was a big surprise, and with Christmas Holidays almost on us we didn't want to be caught low on fuel.  So, with near calm seas and no wind we decided to motor the 18-20 miles to Porto and Marina Douro, thinking that at a bigger more modern marina, the fuel issue would be solved.

It was a beautiful day - still a little cool, but remarkably better than anything we had experienced since leaving La Rochelle.  In these conditions and based on our last few passages, motoring was a pleasure - even though we are a sailboat!.....I think.

Arrival in Porto, Marina Douro

As suspected, fuel availability was not an issue at Marina Douro.  Once again, we were greeted by super nice staff and everyone seems to speak great English.  We were given maps, local information etc. by the marina office.

The marina is situated about a 1/2 mile inside the breakwater to the Douro River.  The river entrance was ok, but we were just after high tide and the current was running pretty good against us.    Nonetheless, it was a straightforward entrance , but I bet it could be real sporty in any kind of weather.  The marina is situated just west of a very spectacular concrete arch bridge, Ponte de Arabida.  The marina is actually located in the town of Gaia, and Porto is on the north side of the river.  Access to Porto is by small ferry boat, by walking 3.5km along the river to the Eifel Bridge.  It can also be done with a combination of taxis, busses and/or trams. 
We enjoyed a brisk walk along the river to the old part of Gaia, and explored the small streets, local shopping and  the Croft Port  Wine ceWe were given a great tour by our guide Maira together with samples of pink, tawny and ruby ports.  Excellent!  We also had a spectacular lunch at the adjacent port cellars restaurant (Taylors).  

So - today is Christmas Eve!  hard to believe.  Since we still have more exploring to do locally, we will be staying at Marina Douro.  And who knows, Turkey on the boat?  we will have to see what we can find today before the stores close!  Merry Christmas!
Traditional boat building on the river Douro

No comments:

Post a Comment