Trams, boats, and funiculars

The approach to Ria de Camariñas

The approach to Ria de Camariñas

We are now in Ria de Camariñas (moored up at the Club Nautico) waiting out some bad weather. We arrived yesterday having battled our way from Oporto with a mixture of weather, nearly all of which was either head on or had no power at all. By strange coincidence, or maybe not, Masquerade’s previous owners stayed here for a while when they brought her from the UK to Portugal.


Mooring up

So as we sit here in the rain wondering if we should have moored instead in Muxia (where the Virgin Mary appeared to St James as he was preaching), I could try and do some backfilling on our Oporto trip.

Once we had established that we needed to do


Afurada village

something about the ignition (or whatever) not turning off, we headed into the nearby village of Afurada with James and Paul on a mission for cooked breakfast. That became a notion to settle for toast, and we eventually ended up, after much sign language, with ham and cheese croissants. Very nice they were, too. And we got a nata each, the custard tart that Kevin had been hankering after.

Douro marina

Douro marina

Onwards into the town of Oporto itself (technically, the Douro Marina, where we were moored, is in Gaia on the other side of the river), which was a couple of miles walk along the riverbank. A beer stop as it was very hot, and we resisted all the port houses and their tastings (even Churchill’s where we had a token from the marina for a free tour and tasting).

I should say here that when James and I checked in at the marina, the woman was exceedingly friendly and helpful, giving us maps of the area and spelling out just about every local landmark and attraction, including – which I forgot to mention – the local public laundry where people could wash their clothes and leave them to dry on lines by the water.

Boys and vat

Yo ho ho and a barrel of port

Our resolve finally cracked and we dived into a port house (cave) demanding a port tasting, forget the tour, just give us the port. The posh option gave us two chocolates each as well as three kinds of port (white, ruby, and tawny), and we had a charming woman telling us all about the house – Burmester.

Refreshed and happy, we crossed the bridge and took the funicular up into the town on the basis that it would be easier to do that and walk down. And I love funiculars.

Tasting glassesPorto (or Oporto) is beautiful. We wandered around admiring the scenery until the desire for lunch kicked in. We found a lovely wine and port shop that said it served light lunches as well, so we dived in there where we had a very palatable bottle of Douro wine with a cheese plate and flambéed sausage. Lovely. But we managed, as with the Burmester cave, to leave without buying any port, though we were templed by the Niepoort which the Burmester lady had told us was very good.

The idea was to take the tram and water taxi back so that we could experience different forms of transport. Paul spotted a butcher on the way, with black pudding that had been on the wish list for breakfasts, so in we went. While we were there we were admiring one of the legs of dried (smoked, as it turned out) ham that were hanging up; it was such a low price we couldn’t resist so bought one for the boat. (And some lovely meals we’ve had out of it too.)

Port signsWith Kevin lugging the ham, we wended our way back through the town to find the tram stop, finding along the way a jewellery shop where James was able to have his watch strap repaired (one of the tiny screws had fallen out and luckily I found it in our cabin). The shop was run by a charming couple who didn’t charge James for the repair. The other two in the party were slightly cynical and said that it was because he had bought me a pair of earrings.

Water taxi to the marina

Water taxi to the marina

The tram stop – by happy coincidence – was close to a bar, well several, actually, so we stopped there for a quick one. Tram ride to the water taxi across from the marina, where Paul made friends with the water taxi driver, and back to the marina we went, Kevin still lugging the ham.

I think we may be about to go into the town itself to see if we can provision up on a Sunday. So I’ll stop here and try to get this online.

More anon.

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