Video – Ireland to Portugal

A video summary of our roughly 950nm tour this summer from Cork, Ireland, to Lisbon, Portugal.
We meant to spend a little more time cruising the southern Irish coast and ideally round Fastnet Rock before heading south. However, the weather convinced us to leave right away to take advantage of the northerly winds (and to avoid the upcoming strong southerlies).
While the water remained cold all the way to Lisbon, it was clear that we were moving south as day after day we were wearing less and less layers.
While La Coruna does not look that pretty from the water, we were quickly convinced we found a hidden jewel when walking down the old town alleys with endless rows of restaurants, bars and an amazing atmosphere until late. That in combination with outstanding food and endless opportunities to visit historic sites made for a good start into the Iberian part of our tour.
Santiago de Compostella did not disappoint at all; neither did Lisbon – fantastic destinations on their own.
What surprised us was the natural beauty of the Islas Cies (a must stop for any visitor in Galicia!) as well as the atmosphere of Porto. We wish we had been able to spend more time in either location.
On the downside, the water was much colder than expected and we therefore sailed in a fair bit of fog (we never saw the Portuguese coast north of Lisbon…).

Should YouTube not play this video in your country, try this link instead:

History and serious food

After our very rewarding first day in Lisbon, we finally managed to get a second one. While it clearly takes a lot more to really get to know Lisbon, we believe we got a good first impression of what this amazing city has to offer.

It all started in the morning when Jan, our Finnish sailor-friend, came over for a late breakfast. Ulf and Philip had taken care of the urgent work items early in the morning and were ready to sneak into the marina showers to clean up – before combining work with pleasure.
We took the train to Lisbon and went from one interesting site to the next, took care of more important work when needed and learned a lot more about Jan, the Finnish culture and how quickly he got into sailing (he bought his boat 3 years ago, quickly learned how to sail and now had managed to sail single-handedly all the way from Finnland to Spain!!).

We ticked a few more UNESCO world heritage site boxes as well (after Porto’s old town and the Torre de Hercules before in A Coruna) by visiting the Torre de Belém (a historic tower at the river Tagus) and Mosteiro dos Jerónimos (an impressive monestry that among other things is the home of Vasco da Gama‘s tomb (the Portuguese explorer and first European to reach India by sea)).

We were also quite lucky that Salt of Portugal liked one of our earlier posts. We were curious about who they were and very positively surprised by their blog and wished to have come across it earlier. Have a look at their really nice wordpress blog – very good quality.
We followed up and went to two places they recently wrote about:
Bairro do Avillez to have a late lunch and after that to Manteigaria for desert and were very happy that we did.
Bairro do Avillez had an outstanding atmosphere and very high qualiy food, while Manteigaria cleary made the best Pastéis de Nata in Lisbon.
A walk through downtown to the Praça do Comércio and a joint dinner on the boat with Jan rounded of our day.
While business work and sightseeing were our main focus over the last few days, we will change gears tomorrow to get more boat work done as we getting ready for the sail to Madeira.

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A day is not enough

The day started with the obligatory drone flight and some work. We were quite impressed by Cascais last night already and got to see more of this beautiful summer resort town on our way to the train station. Walking past the Clube Naval de Cascais we got a feel for how active the local sailing community is (SB20 worlds, ORC regattas, dragon racing all going on at the same time – it would also later be the reason why North Sails would not be able to find capacity to fix our gennaker before our departure – we are now in touch with a sailmaker on Lanzarote).

The train to Lisbon runs roughly every 20 min and takes just over 30 min to downtown Lisbon.
Similar to Porto, we came across many beautiful houses and steep roads. Overall, Lisbon felt larger and more polished/wealthier. There were lots of tiled houses, castles, cathedrals and many picturesque squares, shopping streets and tempting restaurants, cafes and bars – and also lots of cool/modern elements. We took the ride down the Santa Justa lift, walked the lower streets of the Baixa (where we had a quick lunch) and found our way up to the castle. What a view!! Clearly worth a visit.
We came across lots of references to Fado, the typical local Portugese music, rode the tram a couple of times and walked the narrow winding streets of Alfama (the oldest district of Lisbon) as well as Mouraria, or Moorish quarter, which is one of the most traditional neighborhoods of Lisbon.
An outside dinner in one of the small side streets rounded off the impressive first visit to a fantastic city.

The high numbers of photos is trying to reflect the sensory overload we experienced during this amazing visit. We will come back for more!

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