Figueira da Foz and Coimbra

29-31 July 2016

Leixoes N41° 11.08′ W08°42.24′ to Figueira da Foz N40° 08.68′ W08°52.48′

65nm, 12 hours

**WARNING**

This blog post contains language that some might find offensive (although not, we hope, the political sentiment – except the bit about Spain – we quite like them!)

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With a 12 hour motor ahead of us we set out for Figueira da Fozas the sun rose. We wanted the best chance of seeing all the fishing pots!

Ignoring the lessons of history and despite a one and a half hour head, SV Faith could not win our race to Figueira. Stefan took a relaxed approach to keeping an eye on the enemy and by afternoon we had overtaken them.

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Our AIS told us what we had suspected all along – that SV Faith is dangerous!

Our motor along the coast was unremarkable. Fewer fishing pots and little of anything along the coast except a long stretch of sandy beach.

Waking up to a cloudy day (and many jokes about the Britishness of the weather) meant we had the beach with its enormous stretch of sand and boardwalks almost entirely to ourselves.

The balconied market was a perfect spot to people watch and to stock up on fruit and veg.

In the evening we walked along the sea front and up the hill into the neighbouring town of Buarcos which was mid pirate festival! Having forgotten our costumes we made for the church at the top only to discover it had been converted into a posh hotel.

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And we found these two arguing about we know not what in their doorway!

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On Sunday we took the train to Coimbra. It was a slow but pretty journey through rice fields following the river stopping at tiny halts to let no one on or off.

Again first getting our bearings on the tourist bus (where we learnt the rather macabre story of Pedro and Ines) we then set off up the hill into the university town.

The vertiginous climb was rewarded with views back across the river

and a stroll around the university.

It seems the students of Coimbra are not afraid to share their political opinions!

Underneath the 16th century aqueduct we found shade and tranquility in the botanical gardens.

Amongst the tropical plants and fish ponds

we found some very photogenic trees

including lots of different species of eucalyptus.

On our way back down the hill through the maze of cobbled streets we found that Coimbra, like Wanstead last summer, had been knitting bombed!

Returning to Figueira we prepared to continue hopping down the Portuguese coast…

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Our berth in Figuiera – the empty berth opposite had been occupied by the Stormschnitzels who left a day before us.

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