Povoa de Varzim provides an excellent starting point to visit two key cities in the north of Portugal. First up was Porto and in the centre of the city each group met their guide and fleet of electric Tuk Tuks in the shadow of the Catheral Sé do Porto. With four ‘chariots’, crews loaded up in the electric vehicles and they were taken on a tour to see some of the sights of the charming city. Porto is a vibrant place with historic facades adorned with traditional tiles and cobblestone streets winding up the banks of the river Duoro. Each tuk tuk driver entertained and educated their passengers as the convoy made its way past the Chapel of Santa Catarina, Clerigos Tower and the Palácio de Bolsa and then on to the Ribiera one of the most popular neighbourhoods in Porto with the colourful facades of the buildings adding to the artisan flare of the area.
With Porto located on the northside of the river, it faces the municipality of Vila Nova de Gaia, home to the wine cellars where the region’s most famous export is stored – port wine! Passing over one of the six bridges over the Douro which connects the two towns, the convoy then headed to the Monastery of Serra do Pilar to a view point over the two cities.
Despite the weather the views are still amazing, but it was not long before the tour headed on to its final destination the Pocas Wine Lodge. Established in 1918, it remains family owned and are described as the ‘Portuguese side of the history of the Douro’.
Our guide gave us an entertaining and informative tour of the cellars, covering the history,the process and the renowned Colheita and Tawny ports.
To finish, an opportunity to try the product in their stylish tasting room. This being judged a success with the length of the queue to purchase their products.
Porto was also celebrating the festival day of Sao Joao, so those with the stammerer decided to stay on in town and enjoy the festivities and spectacular firework display before heading back to the marina on the Metro.
The second day in Povoa saw an afternoon trip to the first City of Portugal, Guimaraes. Organised by the marina, the guided tour explained about the birthplace of Portugal, with its historic castle, monument of the first King of Portugal, and numerous churches. Before the return, those attending had some free time to sample local pastres as the town celebrated the Feira Afonsina, a four-day medieval re-enactment event.
Povoa da Varzim has been a great introduction to Portugal and the Clube Naval Povoense and Marina Povoa de Varzim have once again been exceptionally hospitable to the fleet. Several boats have been able to complete minor repairs,and have enjoyed great food and drinks at the yacht club restaurant. In Figueira, crews can expect an equally warm welcome from the Clube Náutico da Figueira da Foz (CNAFF) and will enjoy a sardine supper on arrival.