Thursday, November 5, 2009
Haven't gotten pictures yet, from Phil
But the good news is that a keg of Fuller's "London Pride" will be making its way to the Veldt Lounge.
My favorite beer in the world! (Other than PBR, we are talkin' about Premium beer!)
Just in time for the Bed and Breakfast season here in Jacksonville. Somehow, the past five years has seen an upswell of guests around Thanksgiving time, all from Traverse City Michigan. Latest count is like five, or so.
"Peabody, here... Sherman; to the Wayback Machine."
We return to Leixoes, Portugal.
Arriving at about 1100, we quickly checked in for the real reason for our visit; Getting Propane for our cooking system.
Since Propane is a hassle in Europe, one has to know where to find it. If you happen to be traveling around, it won't be apparent. We were running out, and cooking required propane. A helpful marina dude said he knew where to get propane, so we gave him our four bottles and hoped for the best. Later that afternoon, we got four very heavy bottles and rejoiced. Wildebeest III was set for the next month, or so.
We made the rounds of the small marina and found a couple of friends from Brest. So we got together for beer and snacks and renewed friendships. After all, one never knew if they were going to see these same friends again.
Bad weather and luck can strike anywhere, or you might just go home because you get frustrated with the weather or with boating. It happens.
Chris bid us farewell, since he had business back in London, and we found ourselves alone for the first time in a month. Woo hoo!
The next day an expedition to the City of Oporto was declared. There was much planning and charts consulted, we discovered a bus that would take us into downtown.
One of the young Danish fellows was going with us, and I noticed he was wearing "Shower Shoes" (Military description) civilian nomenclature: Flip Flops.
"You're not wearing those downtown, are you?" I snidely asked.
"Why not?" I wear them everywhere." Sayeth the 19 year old slacker.
"What if you get a 'Blow out', then where will you be?"
"I never have that problem, these are most comfortable for me when traveling."
Idiot. What is with society, when half the people are walking around with very substandard footwear? How will you run if there is a fire, or a ghetto uprising?
We take the public transport and find our selves in downtown Oporto, an ancient seafaring city.
I notice beautiful dark haired maidens, all looking like they just stepped out of downtown Hayward California, with snug black slacks and lovely long, raven hair. Stunning!
Then, you see proud ladies wearing dark skirts; they are married and have children. I am the master of the obvious, no?
We can identify the targets for dating. How convenient, for the single male. Too bad I missed this place in the 70's. Or is it?
This is when our 19 year old Dane has a flip flop malfunction. He is walking barefoot on centuries of spit and dog offal. I smirk with a "I-told-you-so". there is no Surf Shop that sell replacements. But there are wine shops!
Walking along the river Douro, we see the Port wineries and naturally, we just have to visit.
The Douro is a natural highway for transporting the fine wines that have been grown since before the Romans.
We saw the Sandeman winery and found we had a hour or two before the next tour. So we went to the train station to check out the depression era artwork.
They had these wonderful tile murals depicting the Portuguese tradition of adventure and navigation. Prince Henry figures large in these murals.
The pride in their Catholicism is everywhere, too.
The language is closer to Italian than Spanish, so I was completely lost. The Spousal Unit had three years of Latin and had the same result. No matter. The locals were as nice as can be and we were completely welcomed.
So we go the the Sandeman Cellars.
I normally will not pay for a tour of anything, this is from years of experience with USO tours and living in Florida. Anyone can get more out of a visit by studying library references and other publications concerning the area toured. Plus, ther is no constant chorus of, "Stay with the tour, we're moving... keep up with the tour..."
This time, I paid the fee. It was informative and interesting. And we bumped into one of the Lieutenant's from the retirement ceremony! Talk about pleasant surprises.
Here is a photo of this nice fella with the charming Emma, from the retirement ceremony. (I have pictures of this gent in Oporto but since he is still on Active Duty OPSEC requires me to use something to obscure the identity).
We had a great reunion dinner and we invited the LT and his Spouse to stay on the 'Beest, saving them a hundred bucks on lodging. We tried to talk them into sailing with us to Lisbon, but they had air reservations that could not be changed.
The next day we did breakfast and bid our guests farewell. The weather was warm and lent itself to cleaning the Wildebeest and preparing for our next trip to Figueira Da Foz, a mere five hours away. We fueled at the fishing docks and were underway the following morning, about 0600.