Monday, 9 July 2007

Jamon on board

We are now in Portugal, in the first town across the border from Spain: Vila Real de Santo Antonio. It is the first time on Portuguese soil for both of us and we soon realised that we knew as much Portuguese as Korean! However, we did buy a phrasebook and dictionary yesterday and this will soon be remedied.Before coming here, we were weatherbound in Cadiz for a couple of days, waiting for a fierce Levanter to pass through. We took the opportunity to go on a day trip to El Puerto de Santa Maria, a bull-fighting, sherry-making kind of town and stock up on local produce.
We bought a 4kg jamon, hoof and all, which now resides in its own wee hammock. He is a lazy crew member, only getting out of bed once or twice a day to be sliced. We also purchased some fine sherry and brandy from an old bodega. One litre of old Pedro Ximinez for 5.50 euros!
It was quite a wrench leaving Cadiz, especially since it was still blowing Force 6-7 when we took off. But we were going downwind so had a cracking sail to the resort town of Chipiona, which was mainly notable for the fact that it was almost exclusively frequented by Spaniards on holiday.
We are definitely back in tidal waters. Coming into Vila Real, we were just slightly early and had to contend with a knot of cross current flowing in the marina while looking for and slotting into a berth. The marina is small and tight and runs out rapidly when moving fast enough to keep steerage on top of the current. A small and toothless marinero pointed to a berth which was a sharp turn round but we made it in with a reasonable minimum of fuss. We will be sure to leave at slack water when, as the pilot book puts it, "manoeuvering is least traumatic".
Portugal is very pleasant so far. We plan to pop up the River Guadiana for a couple of days and then continue along the coast before picking up our first guest, Jeff, in 10 days' time. -S

No comments: