Tuesday 23 October 2018

Sanctuary at Sines

Saturday 29 September to Tuesday 2 October 2018

We didn't plan to go to Sines, but circumstances beyond our control took us to this beautiful little place of sanctuary.

As Mark has already explained, our engine failed en route from Lisbon to Lagos and Sines was our only port of refuge, so we limped in on a gloriously hot Saturday afternoon.

On the approach to Sines you dont get the best impression of this pretty little town.  On the right hand side the skyline is dominated by cranes that operate in the busy port adjacent to the marina and on the left hand side the skyline is dominated by tall cylinders from the oil refinery that operates on the other side of the port.  Throw in the cements work for good measure and you get the general picture.  But hey, we were glad to be entering the in daylight so we had no cause to complain.

Sines harbour and marina
To get to the marina you have to you have to navigate your way through the busy working port.  Thankfully it wasn't that busy on Saturday morning and we entered the harbour with no dramas which, given what we'd been through was a miracle.

We called the marina at Sines to see if they had a mooring available for a few nights (we both had our fingers crossed and I said a little prayer in my head).  "Yes" was the reply, "come in and choose a mooring wherever you like".  I think I could have wept with sheer relief, but instead I got the fenders and mooring lines out.

When we entered the marina we could not believe how pretty the town looked.  There was no sign of the ugly cranes or oil tanks that sat less than 1/2 mile away, they were all hidden behind the marina wall.

Sines town from marina entrance

We moored up and checked in, then had a very stiff drink.  I think we both deserved it after the previous 24 hours!

We stayed in Sines until Tuesday and during that time, in between Mark flushing and spraying the engine, we relaxed on the beach, explored the town and found a wonderful butchers and bakers.

Sines beach
Whilst Sines is a beautiful seaside resort, with a wonderful golden beach, it is totally unspoilt.  There are no high rise apartment blocks or hotels, just the locals going about there daily business, enjoying their local delights. 

Vasco de Gama
There is a bit of history to the town in that it was the birth place of Vasco de Gama and there is a monument to him in the town square. There is also Castelo de Sines, a medieval fortress built in the 15th century that now houses archaeology exhibitions.

Castelo de Sines

I'm not sure if it was because Sines was our port of refuge or because we both found peace and tranquillity in the town, but we had a very serious conversation about staying there for the winter as we both felt so at home.  In the end it was the thought of a cold, wet winter that forced our hand and made us slip our lines on Tuesday morning.

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