Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Leaving Portugal

We arrived at Figueira da Foz in windy wet weather and we left in the same. So wet and windy that we decided to forego a last walk along the promenade and just get on our way.

Before that though, the previous evening, there had been the closing ceremo
ny with yet more speeches saying thank you to various people and lots of prizes given out, all the trophies designed by a local artist. Very impressive.

Our friend Kevin
Spraggett got a prize and the ever helpful Paula, one of the organisers, got a special large award of her own.

And so we said goodbye to the Casino where the chess congress had been held and goodbye to Figueira da Foz (until next year perhaps) and did the train journey back to Porto: slow train to Coimbra, 35 minutes wait in the station, very fast train to Porto Campanhá.

As we left Coimbra the train information board told us that the exterior temperature was 18°. Not bad for a wet and windy day. H
owever, as we headed north the temperature got progressively lower until it was registering around 11° by the time we reached Porto. And then it got even colder as the evening went on. It’s amazing how quickly you adapt to being warm; I’m no longer ready for these cold evenings and mornings!!!

Our Porto hotel charges for internet – this must be a Portuguese practice and a very inconvenient one at that – so we headed out to find an internet cafĂ©, fortunately just around the corner.

There we picked up a free newspaper in which I found this photo which I include especially for my friend Colin. In his blog, Colin has wri
tten at some length about the new motorway toll system the Portuguese have introduced in the north of their country. He is not alone in complaining, it would seem. Someone stuck up this poster on the slip road onto the A29: "smile, you are being robbed!" The authorities were clearly not pleased. Shortly after the newspaper photographer took the picture the poster was removed.

Today we are off to the airport to fly to London and then, after a night visiting offspring number one, it’s back to Greater Manchester. I understand that the cold weather has hit the UK as well: snow in Cumbria already! Time to plan the next adventure!

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