Week 19 - It’s supposed to be warm and dry here!!!

Monday 27th February 2018
We have hit a serious problem today. Sue’s Aunt Brenda and Uncle David is coming out for a visit so we have moved into a house for nine days.

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The house we rented

That tho’ is not the problem, the problem is they fly from Stansted tomorrow morning and the overnight weather forecast is appalling! Lots of snow is expected, so much that the Stansted/ London train service for tomorrow has already been cancelled and the pundits are suggesting travelling will be a nightmare for the next week or so.

We had a text from Brenda and Dave sent from a, so far, snow free Stansted airport and a follow-up to say the plane was ready for taxi and they must turn the phone off.

Brenda and Dave arrived on time but, sadly, by the time we got back to the house the rain was “persisting” down and as we were to find in the fullness of time it would continue to “persist” for some while. Still better the rain in Portugal than the snow in the UK.

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São Martinho do Porto

Just local visiting today we went to the cliffs above São Martinho do Porto on the north side then drove to the southern side and climbed up to the “mirador” or “view point” pretty but by jabbers very windy. Having been to the São Martinho do Porto high points we had a walk along the river at Salir do Porto the next village to the south.

Our day in the car then took us to nearby Foz do Arelho a holiday town situated where the Lagoa de Óbidos meets the sea, unfortunately although the rain had (temporarily) stopped the wind was blowing a hooley, turning the soft golden sand into an aggressive cutting medium.

After all that excitement we bought some split logs, artificial logs (sawdust glued into log sized lumps) and went back to the house to try and get warm. The central heating so far proving rather ineffective.

The log fire lit quite easily and promised a good warm blaze, unfortunately we soon realised that we had a choice of having a fire or breathing. The smoke refused to go up the chimney. The house stinks of smoke!

Hurrahhhhhhhhhhh. The fabric of the house has warmed up and the central heating is having no trouble keeping the house toasty warm. Just as well as the weather outside is awful. We have never known it rain in Portugal this heavy for so long, of course its my fault as last week I emailed a pal saying what good weather we we had had this winter.

After lunch we settled in front of the telly and watched cartoon films.

Still raining.

We have elected to go to Nazaré and Sitio. In reality they are almost the same place but separated by a cliff and connected by a funicular railway. The main tourist part of Nazaré being at sea level while Sitio is on top of the cliff.

Nazaré is pure and simple a seaside holiday spot and while Sitio still has some tourist tat stalls it is a far more cultural place with a beautiful church decorated with 6,568 tiles by Dutch ceramist Williem Van der Klöet. The town is also famous for a small chapel, the Ermida da Memória, which according to legend marks the spot where the Virgin Mary saved Dom Fusas Roupinus, a local bigwig, and his horse from following a deer that leapt off the cliff shrouded in sea mist in 1182.

Still Raining.

As it is the sabbath (it is the Jewish sabbath) we have been on a religious tour today first to Alcobaça where is Portugals largest church the Mosteirode Santa Maria de Alcobaça, a World Heritage site. We had come to see the graves of Pedro the Cruel and his wife Ines, an amazing story about them can be read HERE. Our guide book tells us that “. . . popular legend says that the king insisted that they face each other so that his first sight on Judgement Day would be of her . . .” but a plaque in the church states that until restoration works carried out in the 1950’s the tombs had been positioned alongside each other. Unfortunately there was a christening in progress so we saw the ceremony but not the tombs.

One of the most spectacular church visits in Portugal is spectacular only in bright sunshine when the sun streams through the stained glass windows of Batalha Abbey, another World Heritage site, on to the abbey pillars in a most special manner.


It’s still raining - no sun!!.

The Anglo-Portuguese Alliance ratified at the Treaty of Windsor in 1386, between England and Portugal, is the oldest alliance in the world that is still in force so it is obvious that such old allies learn from each other. Sadly the folks at Batalha have learned from England (York Minster springs to mind) that tourists will pay high prices to visit attractions such as this important and interesting abbey. Perhaps I should have said some tourists, we were unwilling to pay what we considered an exorbitant price for each of the four tickets needed for the four most interesting areas - perhaps if the sun was shining??


It’s still raining!

Many museums and other such attractions are free on Sundays so today we went to the ceramics museum at Caldas da Rainha. Although it contains examples of all the prominent local ceramic artists the main man whose work everyone comes to see and who is well represented is Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro - a ceramics master who even today still influences Portuguese ceramics.

© S W Ghost 2017