Northants Nutters at Sea (2024) – 6th July (Day 8)

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Day 8 – Saturday, 6th July

7.32am: Morning all! We’re with the Northants Nutters group aboard the good ship Ventura! It’s Day 8 and we’re just about to dock in Leixoes in Portugal.

P&O’s Ventura: 3,078 Passenger Capacity, 1,205 Crew and 8 Nutters!

Missed a Post?
Day 1 – Setting Sail (eventually!)
Day 2 – Sea Day 1
Day 3 – Santander, Spain
Day 4 – Sea Day 2
Day 5 – Vigo, Spain
Day 6 – Lisbon, Portugal
Day 7 – Lisbon, Portugal


Hold the front page! 😮.
Just as we went to bed last night, we noticed that according to the daily newspaper, Guernsey is OFF due to predicted poor weather. Instead, we’re now heading for La Coruna on Day 9 and where Day 10 becomes our third, and final, Sea Day. It’s not ideal, but you can’t beat Mother Nature, especially at sea! 🤔. I can imagine the turmoil behind the scenes here as they re-arranged the on-board entertainment – and everything else – to fit around the new schedule! 🥴

The remaining days look like this…

8.32am: OK, back to the here and now. It’s a slightly cooler one forecast for today, and it’s also an earlier start for us as the Walking Tour begins sharp at 9am. Whoever said Cruising was about long lie-ins, needs to err, go on a Cruise! 😀. After a quick breakfast in the Buffet, we prepared to disembark.

Apart from the Walking Tour, our only other plans are to meet up with the rest of the Nutters for the England v Switzerland soccer match later at 5pm. I’ve put aside an extra dose of BP tablets for that one! 😮

About Oporto

I didn’t know much about Porto before the holiday – now I’m showing off…
👍The names Oporto and Porto are interchangeable – the former is the Brit version.
👍It’s Portugal’s second-largest city
👍Gustave Eiffel (of Eiffel Tower fame) designed the Maria Pia Bridge
👍It’s famous for Port production
👍It has a famous bookshop where J. K. Rowling spent a lot of time
👍The Metro can take you to the beach (Matosinhos)

Walkies (2)

8.42am: This is our second organised Tour in as many days, as we joined the coach for P&O’s ‘Oporto on Foot’. It was clearly a popular choice and our transport filled up really quickly. We were hoping to run into Richard & Nicki, but with so many people on this one, they were on a separate coach. The half-hour (ish) coach journey would get us to the starting point in the City and pick us up after the walk finished around 1pm. After yesterday’s ‘moist one’, we were thankful of the earlier start and the slightly cooler temperatures here! 👍.

9.22am: George introduced himself as our Tour Guide for today and also to Marsha who was our driver. After our almost traffic-free drive to the City, we left Marsha in charge of the Coach, and we all assembled, awaiting George’s commentary.

Architecturally speaking, there’s a lot to see here, and just like our Guide, Christina, yesterday, George knew all there was to know about this City and freely shared his knowledge.

Like everywhere else we’ve visited here in Portugal, the buildings were all very colourful and often highly decorated. Again, tiles feature heavily on many buildings and in the absence of those, there was always plenty of colour. I don’t think anyone could accuse the towns and cities we’ve seen so far of being drab! Even JK Rowling spent a lot of time here writing her Harry Potter novels (we saw the queue for it!!)

And if bright colours don’t do it for you, then the intricacy of much of the architecture is definitely worth a closer look!

10.00am: For a mix of the two, the local Railway Station – Sao Bento (St Benedict), that opened in 1916 is worth a look. With its mix of tiled artwork and vibrant coloured ceiling, it’ll definitely bring out the best in your photos!

10.31pm: A timely pit-stop at Jeronymo located inside the Station was spot on – George had timed in perfectly! If you are following in our footsteps, here are few points about Porto to note:

  • Some of the pavements are cobbled – take care!
  • Currently, the city is having major underground work done to extend the Metro. The small issue of the River Douor under the streets being diverted meant that there is a fair degree of disruption on the surface affecting the usual walking routes
  • It’s a busy city and the mix of tourists and locals plus other visitors made the sidewalks very busy at times
  • That was a yukky coffee! 🙁

10.55am: Talking of the Metro, this is a relatively recent innovation for Porto (the first lines opened in 2002) that makes it easy to get INTO and OUT OF the City. George had mentioned that for many locals, it had become prohibitively expensive to live in Porto – and the Metro made it easy for them to live elsewhere and travel in. Like some parts of the UK’s equivalent, outside of the City, the system runs ABOVE ground. Inside Porto’s Metro station, it was scrupulously clean, spacious and where the very clear mapping looked like it was easy to get around. Note that it’s a cashless system and uses a ‘charge-card’ system.

Since we arrived, we’ve learned that you are never too far from a Church or Cathedral, and the theme continues here in Porto.

If you’re bored with the religious aspects, instead, there are always the spectacular views across the City! Any Port in a Storm, ehh? Geddit???

11.10am: …or the tiny back-streets revealing more of the more everyday scenes of Porto.

11.30am: For us, the most memorable part was when our Walk reached the water’s edge – The Douro River. At this point, George gave us 45 minutes of free time to simply wander about and soak up the scenery (there was a lot to soak up!) 😎

12.01pm: Being Saturday and with the weather now even warmer, it certainly brought out the crowds. Finding a free table for a quick coffee was a real challenge, but we found one, nearer to the iron bridge

Yes, this was certainly a popular destination today, and we’re glad we arrived just before it seemed to explode with visitors!

12.15pm: Our coachload of intrepid wanderers returned to the pickup point and George was waiting for us. We took the short walk to the coach pickup point and were soon heading back to Ventura. It had been a great morning and all felt we’d got an even greater feel for Porto, thanks to George’s expansive knowledge. In thirty minutes, we’d be back on board…

12.31pm: …or would we? Clearly, to make us Brits feel more at home, the Tourist Board had laid on a good ol’ fashioned mega traffic-jam! It added around 15 minutes to the journey, making it about an hour before we got to the Cruise Terminal. There, the queue of cars was replaced by a queue of people! It seemed that trying to get around 200 passengers through just two security gates without any congestion was only ever going to be wishful thinking.

12.59pm: The slightly cooler temperature and less humidity certainly helped our endurance today. We didn’t cover quite as much distance as yesterday in Lisbon – but we both felt we’d seen a lot of Porto, feeling that this was another destination we’ll be returning to before too long. 👍👍

1.10pm: Back in the room! Just time to enjoy a local delicacy (again!) of Pasteis De Nata (aka Custard Tarts) 😋😋 – cheers for treating us Richard & Nicki.

3.00pm: Feet up before the match! 👍

C’mon England!

4.30pm: Have I got everything?

  • A beer (in case we score!)
  • Another beer (in case we don’t!)
  • My Blood Pressure tablets

Yes, I’m ready!! 👍

5.00pm: Someone on the planning side of things onboard Ventura was sufficiently optimistic to show the match in THREE locations around the ship. The Nutters settled for the Havana Lounge where Richard & Nicki had helpfully bagged an area that would accommodate us all with a good view of quite a few screens.

7.30pm: As expected, it was a stressful watch – into Extra Time and then finally, the dreaded penalties!!! But we got there in the end! Phew! 🥴

We ended the evening in the Buffet over a much lighter meal than we’ve got used to on previous nights. In my case, a real ‘dog’s dinner’ of Lamb, Chicken and Pizza.

Hardly ‘gourmet’, but it hit the mark! 😋

Tomorrow…

A super-lazy day. We’re meeting at Costas for 10.45 and then taking the walk into La Caruna for a look around. We haven’t been there for around 20 years (9 September, 2004) and it’ll be interesting to see how much we recall and how much has changed.

9.30pm: A super-early one! Night all! 😴💤😴💤😴💤. See you tomorrow!


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