We were both excited to be in the US, not only to see family, but to spend some time in an American hotel with cable television, and all the comforts of a modern hotel, starbucks, gym, swimming pool, a motionless bed, etc etc... We were able to spend some time with Henry and Sydney, Jess’s niece and nephew, I guess my niece and nephew now too since we are married. We enjoyed some land based activities with them, and then made our way to Boulder for the graduation. We spend two days in Boulder and then jetted back to Portugal on Saturday. So all in all we had 6 days in the states.
Once back to Leixos, we readied ourselves to be back in cruise mode, but this time in slow motion. We have decided to take our time, as much as we feel we will need anyway. We noticed a strange clicking sound and after some investigation I realized it was our amidships cleat. There was significant swell in the marina and even though I did the best I could to spider web ourselves in so there was not a lot of motion in the slip, there was nevertheless enough to do some damage. There was some micro motion of the cleat when Cadence would surge back and forth. I ended up removing the bolts that hold it in place and discovered that we had bent 4 bolt heads. There must have been some significant motion while we were away. I can also remember that when we were in Italy last spring we tied up to a quay that had huge movement. So much that we abandoned the spot in the middle of the night and set sail through he straits of Messina. This could have been the initial bending of the bolts. Regardless, i will need to replace these somewhere along the way. So for now, we have no amidship cleat and will make sure that always when coming into a marina tie up on our starboard side. No biggie.
We made the 6 or so mile trip from Leixos to Porto in the Douro River. The marina is just downriver from the city, on the opposite of the river. This is where all the port wine distillers are. The marina was set in a small village that had some great seafood restaurants. They grill up all sorts of seafood right on the street and serve them at the tables. The nice thing about being just outside the city is that there were very few tourists on this side. Apparently, Porto, is listed as a top European travel destination so the city has a large tourist crowd and most of the restaurants are catering to out of owners and serve up out of town prices to match. We enjoyed touring 2 of the port wine houses, Grahams and Churchills. Grahams, the larger more established house, was set high up on a hill overlooking the city. We spent an hour or so touring and another half hour tasting. We then went to Churchills just down street and drank even more port. I was thinking about stocking up on Port while here, but then I came to the realization that I would rather use all the free space we have to stock even more Portuguese wines. I never realized how good the wine was from Portugal, especially the Douro valley. Very dry whites and some great dry Roses, not to forget the reds, and the price could not be beat. Cheaper that water. So, we loaded up as much as we could hold.
We toured the city with a guide. In many cities the tour guides will take a group around for free and you pay what you think the tour is worth. We spent 3 hours touring the city seeing the most important sites and getting acclimated to the city. Always money well spent. We got a few good restaurant recommendations from our guide and then set off on our own. Porto really is a beautiful clean city, great food and wine, lovely views and certainly worth the visit.