Vila Real de Santo Antonio

Today was just great!

We left the Lagoon of Faro/Olhao soon after dawn , after another couple of days anchored there. To begin with there was not the faintest  hint of wind so we pottered on at 2 knots under engine vainly trying to tempt something – ANYTHING – onto my hooks, but with my usual lack of success. Gradually the wind built until we completed the 25 mile passage to the River Guadiana with 10 knots of breeze , a flat sea and brilliant blue sky. Light weather sailing when you are not in a hurry is lovely.

Coming alongside the little marina inside the river was tricky . The  flood was rushing in at 3 knots necessitating a ferry glide in through the entrance , then a sternboard in a very confined space ( with steerage and tide thats 6 knots astern !) before coming ahead once more into our berth.

The idea is that we take Festina 20 or so miles up this river ( the border between Portrugal and Spain) – but we thought we would take stock first in this little border town. To our delight we find that it is exquisite . It was completely rebuilt in mid 18th century after a flood or somesuch and the buildings are wonderfully elegant and unspoilt – and best of all it seems to have been left alone by tourism – or at least by British tourism .

I know , I know , what are we if we are not British tourists. However , sitting sipping a drink in a  corner of the town square , shaded by a lemon tree loaded with fruit  and with not a single British voice within earshot – it felt like we had come back into Portrugal , in complete contrast to Villamoura which feels as if it is part of Torquay. All of which is strange considering just across the river we would be back in Spain.


  1. Dear Philip and Lynda,

    Just wanted to let you know that I’m really enjoying your blogs – keep them coming. Travel writing is one of my favourite things so combined with Sigma 38s I’m finding yours fasinating as well as amusing. However I do have to say that I will never put Crocks on my feet!
    Winter series starts in less than 2 weeks. It’s going to be very weird not having Festina there.
    Good luck with your squeeks and leaks.

  2. Susan – youre such a fashion victim! We may not be able to play with you all in the winter series – but in this extraordinary world we live in we can pore over the results whilst sitting in the most extraordinary places. Have fun!

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