Summer has arrived

Friday morning we went on a coach tour of the Oeiras area, starting with a visit to the Poets' Park where they commemorate twelve of their best known 20th century poets. It is quite a pleasant stroll in the sunshine, but not yesterday when there was a biting wind and brief showers which had replaced the sunny early morning. From there we went to a gunpowder factory and spent a very long time in a traffic jam on the way, caused by roadworks on a roundabout! The museum was interesting and quite different from Explosion! in Gosport. In Portugal the walls are very thick, the ceilings high and the roofs thin so explosions go upwards. The rooms were also quite large and bright and there was a memorial outside listing the workers who had died in explosions. Explosion, by contrast, comprises small dark rooms with low ceilings and I don't recall a memorial. At the museum I fell flat on my face when I tripped over some very uneven paving, as mentioned in my previous blog. A photo will probably appear somewhere at some time, all I will say is that it is a fetching blue colour! We spent the afternoon painting our battle flag on the wall and in the evening went to the prize giving. Yippeee, a prize for our sailing prowess at last, the first time we have ever finished in the first three on ARC Portugal. Saturday has been a much better day, still windy but wall to wall sunshine. We went on the optional coach tour to Sintra, named after Cinthia the Roman goddess of the dawn or so we were told. It really is a lovely location, high up a 'mountain' with an ancient castle on the top overlooking the town. We had a brief guided tour and were then left to decide hat we wanted to do. We decided against visiting the palace because there was quite a long queue, opting instead to wander around the streets before stopping for coffee and local pastries in one of the recommended coffee shops with Linda from Nina. There was a rugby match this morning between the British Lions and Australia so a number of people opted to stay behind and spend the morning in Peter's Cafe Sport watching the match. One jewellery shop had some really beautiful gold filigree work but it was very expensive, sadly we walked away! I did buy a cork bracelet, the last of the big spenders...11€. From Sintra we went up and around the mountain to Cabo da Roca which is the most western point of mainland Europe. When we sailed round the cape on Thursday it got windier, today it was really very windy. After a 20 minute stop we headed on to Caiscais for a lunch stop. We lunched at the Beafeater sport bar with Linda and Wendy from Unleashed, an Australian boat. It was good value food, washed down with Sangria, then we wandered on towards the seafront. An artist had created the most amazing sand sculpture, I don't think it was quite finished as she had laid the foundations for another building. The beach was extremely popular, I'll say no more. The final leg of the trip was a return to Oeiras by the coast road through Estoril. The beaches were all packed and, as it was close to high tide, standing room only on one of them. Tomorrow, Sunday, we sail to Sines. Joyce

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