Tuk-Tuks, sailing and trains!

Our trip in a very modern electric Tuk-Tuk to the Graham's Port Wine Lodge was quite comfortable though the cobbles were very noisy. The tour was interesting and the dinner afterwards was superb. Thursday we went on a tour of Oporto, travelling there from Gaia by Tuk-Tuk. We started with a two hour guided walking tour, visiting a spectacularly decorated church, the stock exchange built on the site of the adjacent convent (long since burned down in battle),the beautifully decorated station and the cathedral. Martha, our guide, was excellent. After that we had a two hour guided tour by Tuk-Tuk of the centre of Oporto (aka Porto) and the opposite bank of the Douro river. The highlight of this trip was a visit to Lello's bookshop, the inspiration for the moving staircases and the library in Harry Potter. It was a very good trip. On Saturday we sailed from Oporto to Figuera Da Foz, a distance of about 60 miles. We always knew it was highly unlikely that we would arrive before the finish line closed, not helped by having to tack out of the Douro river in a week, flukey wind. We had a cracking sail but sadly crossed the finish line 21 minutes and 30 seconds too late. The good news is that nothing went wrong this time except that we found a hole on the wind on the start line! Today, Sunday, we went on a trip to Coimbra, home of the oldest university in Portugal. The town itself dates back to Roman times, developed extensively by the Moors and added to subsequently. The trip was oversubscribed so we went by train, a lovely change. The downside was that the station is at the bottom of the hill, the university at the top, so it was quite an exercise getting to the top to meet the coach party. It was well worth the effort as we visited areas we had not seen previously, like the prison for students in the cellars of the library. We returned to Figuera Da Foz by coach, stopping at Motemor on the way. This is an extensive castle on the top of a hill with a church dating from about 1066 in he middle. It provided a good look-out to watch for invading moors coming across the Mondego river from the south. We move on to Peniche on Tuesday. More later. Joyce

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