Old Fig Trees and Bull Rings – Portugal 2004

Saturday, July 31, 2004 8:30am, Portugal

Missed last night, so up early this morn.  Have to walk down to the 2,000 year old fig tree when I’m done here.

We’re now back at Monte Branco.  Took advantage of our last mon sans kids.  Yesterday had  breakfast over looking the hills again.  Before we left we got the key to the chapel and bull ring (only used at Easter).  Turns out it is the oldest in Portugal 17xx perhaps.  There were horses stabled there, along with the mandatory dogs to greet you.

It was very interesting seeing all the corrals and rigging for moving the doors etc.

Sitting here fending off ants.  They are incredibly invasive.  The powder from Jane works wonders.  The goat bells are ringing non stop right now – sounds like a large wind chime.

After bullring, we headed back here.  M & GL are heading out on Saturday (their anniversary) for 3 nights @ a Pousada.  Saint Isabel that we saw in Estremoz.  They then have their last 3 nights booked right in Lisbon (smaller place – Green shutters or something – I need to get the name).

Mike hopes to get more film in Evora today – he got 2 rolls of slide film in F da F – see if he can get it here).

Boys chose to stay back and munch for lunch.  We took M&GL for lunch – local in S.Pedro do Corval.  Mike and I had rabbit – very tasty (50E for all 4).

Then to Regeungos for shopping 44E?  Back for a dip in the pool, game of cribbage (I won just) and then to Monsarez for dinner – unfortunately Alcaiede in closed for vacation till August 7 – no dessert (almond torte) and no dinner for us there!

We tried No Torno instead – ok, very large portions.  Kyle (and Pat) are tired of the same meal selection – bata frita, grilled or baked meat, rice.  Kyle wants pizza as soon as we are home – should get more (35E).  Variety in Sintra/Lisboa I expect.

After dinner Mike took some more photos, we returned for liquors by the pool and chatted with Jane.  She has had many travel adventures also.  Machu Picchu and the amazon before it was popular.

We slept in the small room last night.  Mikes legs hung out the end of his bed about a foot!  Tonight we steal the double back for sure.

Today we plan to head to Evora – pack a picnic I think.  Have to see M&GL off however, so hopefully we got away at a reasonable time.

Vila Vicosa – Portugal 2004

Thursday, July 29, 2004 9:55pm Sousel, Portugal

Just came back from dinner, having some more almond liqueur – very nice.  Michael had goat jaw for dinner, I had the lamb again – back in Estremoz to the same restaurant.  I had meant to order the grilled but got the “o forno” – think it is baked in the oven slowly, still good.  Had some olives tonight also very salty and fresh.  We had to putter around a fair bit til 7:30 when dinner was served.

To start at the beginning … back to buffet breakfast.  Another good breakfast.  Next off to the pool for tan and swim and relax.  I was a bit of a chicken and took me awhile to get in – but eventually got there and did beat Mike in – so who’s the real chicken?  The view from here is very unique, top of a hill surrounded by olive groves.  Very peaceful.  We are both surprised how few english speaking people are around.  Mostly Portuguese even at the Pousada.

Around noon we finally headed out to Vila Vicosa.  Got to the local castle just as it was closing.  But we managed to look around outside.  Cool moat and wall outside.  So we went for lunch.  I had a ½ serving of grilled chicken, Mike had calamari.  Both quite good with a bottle of wine.  I think it came to 13E.  Michael thinks 17E.  At any rate it was very reasonable.  After lunch we headed to the Palace.  Met our first (or at least one of the few) other English speakers – from US.  I think the entire tour was in Portuguese – got small pieces of it.  Lots of painting portraits of Dukes and Queens and Kings.  Some Japanese influence as well as strong Moorish.  The paintings on the ceilings were of mediocre quality – but the furniture and tapestries were outstanding.  The kitchen was very impressive also with hundreds of copper pots.  From the size to bathe in down to individual serving molds.  Would not like to do dish duty.

The bedrooms were also interesting.  The Queen’s rooms had two small vestibules for the baby and young children.  I would have expected them to be cared for by the nurses – not in with the royalty.  The tour ended rather suddenly and we were off.  Next to Estremoz – been there for dinner but not to tour.  Arrived latish (4:30) expecting everything to be closed – but we caught a museum open.   Again religious – opened on to the bell tower with a great view from the rooftop.

Back down for a beer and water.  Then walked around – ended up at the Pousada da Rainha Santa Isabel.  The church was open – so Mike went back down for his camera while I puttered around.  Only ½ of (or less) the building is restored for the Pousada it appears, but the gardens and pool look quite nice – and the menu looked better than our Pousada – but who knows what it tastes like – can be deceiving.  Finally back down and cruised around killing time til 7:30pm.  still have not found any earrings – not sure I’ve convinced Mike that I need them.  If not soon, then in Lisboa!

Story of Saint Isabel – she used to go out to the peasants and give them food by hiding it in her dress folds.  When the king tried to check, she opened up her folds, and it was full of roses – so all the statues of her have a lap full of roses.

Think thats it for today.  Oh just remembered Michael asking about the restaurant in Estremoz – used to be a winemaking shop.  The arches are very large and strong.  Waiter explained that wine used to be stored in much larger vessels than today – so they needed a much larger space.  Boa Noute 10:30pm

Dem Bones Dem Bones Dem Bones – Campo Maior – Portugal 2004

Wednesday, July 28, 2004 11:10pm Sousel, Portugal

The days are sliding by now!  Finally mailed some postcards still need to send more tho.  Started the day early @ 5am with Mikes broken bed – he had to join me till proper morning.  Lucky these are “larger” single beds and we are still thin enough to fit 2 to a bed!  The girls at the front desk was embarrassed, but also could not help but laugh.

Breakfast on the patio was very nice.  Good selection and very tasty.  Headed to Campo Maior first.  Mike took some photos along the road.  Nice view of our Pousada and some cork trees.  The drive up the road to Campo Maior has some forest fires where they were cutting down burned trees at the roadside.

In Campo Maior we parked and walked around.  The first find was a church (iglasias) which turned out to be a religious artifact museum.  The girl was very helpful and supplied us with maps and directions (they don’t allow photos in museums and churches generally, so Mike was not allowed.  The robes and gowns and paintings were mostly from the 17th and 18th centuries.  One paintings was quite recent – 20th Century (1992) and was interesting – although nails were through the hands, Jesus was very detailed – every hair follicle visible.

Marble is everywhere from street side to door steps to bathroom walls.  Mostly pink and white from around here – grey is not generally found here.

Next we went to the castle – again we were the only one there (1st try was actually a school house).  History was interesting.  First building around 12-13oos with most fortification in 1600s.  There was a lighting strike into the powder magazine in 1732(?) and 1500 (according to the guide book) people died.  That is what sparked the chapel of bones. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campo_Maior,_Portugal

The walls around the castle were similar to the ones in Elvas.  Pentagonal shape with outcrops at each point which made for great visibility.  The walls here were not as complete as those in Elvas (supposed to be one of the most complete in Europe) – but we decided to tour this one – more convenient in our day.  Also smaller and less popular.

Next to the Capela dos Ossos the church beside was open – very typical I expect.  The organist was playing – it was quite nice to sit in the peaceful surroundings.  Mike took a couple of photos – Lots of marble again – some Michael thinks would have been imported since it was dark grey.  The chapel beside was locked, no one around but you could see in – it was larger than I had expected.  Except for the floor, the entire inside was human bones.  Around the bottom, up to about 3 feet was skulls, plus more skulls in the ceiling and at the front.  Very morbid – not sure who would have had such a vision and actually make this chapel.  I get the impression the town folks play it down.  Although there are photos in the flyer, there are no directions or explanations.

Next to lunch – as recommended by a local.  Was quite good – Michael had the Pork (taking over for George) and I had beef with spaghetti.

Then off to Elvas Mike stopped enroute for some shots of the fire areas (I napped).  At Elvas we parked outside the wall and walked in.  Went through the shopping area – very good prices for bedding and towels.  Not sure if will buy some.  Cutlery seemed reasonable also. Went to the tourist info both got directions to the aqueduct (decided that was enough getting late).  Went for a cafe then saw the aqueduct – huge – only one piece remains here, but used to be 5 miles long – no wonder it took 124 years to build.  Bought some wine, beer, fruit liqueur.

Then back for our Pousada.  I broke the wine – big mess of shattered glass.  Dinner here 23E for complete meal – pricy, but expected it to be – quite good – wrong!  Soup (gazpacho) was good but no better than last night.  My pork tenderloin was anything but tender.  It was awful dry and tasteless.  Mike had venison ribs – I didn’t like the taste, but he thought they were okay.  Accompaniments were nothing great either. Dessert cheeses were nice – all very strong.  Other desserts were so so.

Back to bed about 11:30.  Star gazed a bit (saw a shooting star @ monte branco – but none here).  not as dark as I expected, but moon is getting full.

Thats takes me to this morning – time for breakie.  Mike has already been out photo taking (since 6:30am guess I need to get up – its 8:30 after all.  Boan Dias.

Pousada in Sousel – Portugal 2004

Tuesday, July 27, 2004  10:30 pm  Sousel, Portugal


Ah – nous sommes tout seul.  Funny how any other language pops into your head when in a foreign country – even if inappropriate!

We have left the boys with M&GL for 3 nights and we are now in Sousel in a Pousada (3 nights for the price of 2).  Very ‘americanish’ – soaps & TV & room style wise, but also very Portuguese.  We chose a modern rather than historic Pousada.  We wanted the pool and comforts.

They only had a double room available – no king suites.  Not too unreasonable at 113E per night – so a total of 226E for 3 nights.

We went to Estoril for dinner – very nice.  First we had 2 cerveza each at a local bar (total 3.80(+tip a bit more).  Then we found our restaurant from the guide book.  They (an older lady) cooked on the BBQ out front.  We both had soup – I gazpacho  which was very different than spanish style.  VERY tasty with onion, tomato, pepper, cucumber and sausage in a clear broth – not tomato.  Michael had asparagus soup- not a cream soup and also very tasty.  We both had lamb.  One grilled and one slow cooked and both were very yummy.  We also both had dessert – queguois (cheesecake) and one honey & nut cake.  Again excellent. We had a carafe of house wine and coffees for a total bill of 29E – wonderful.

We will have to revisit Estromel to see the sites tomorrow or the next day – seemed to be lots to see.

earlier in the day…

The boys played in the pool all morning.  We rose late and arranged the days.  M&GL left some stuff in F.daF. so they need to arrange courier / pickup – hope it works out okay.  G. was trying to arrange a complicated trip for their ‘alone’ excursion.  M. wanted to keep it simple and stay

closer;  hopefully she can convince him.  We also arranged with Jane to stay 4 days in Sintra for the 4 of us (P/K/M&I) with friends of hers – Diane & Carlos.  It is B&B style 10 minutes outside of Sintra.  Since we still have the car it should work out fine.  M&GL plan on staying in Lisboa.  We hope to meet them some time – we can take the train into L. from Sintra (or Cascais or Estoril).


The drive here from Monsaraz was very interesting.  We passed marble mines which are incredible.  SO much marble!

Oh yes…. I forgot to mention the forest fires yesterday.  we passed severl still smoldering and saw the remnants of more.  Very destructive.  At the restaurant tonight everyone was glued to the news of the ongoing fires – some seem to be set by arsonists and several towns have been evacuated.  The forests in Acc…?  near Lisboa are severely on fire.  All over there are more and more fires.

Mike is enjoying the soccer / football and also the tennis has been on TV from Toronto!  Agassi was playing – can’t believe he is still playing!


Well you can tell by my handwriting that I am tired.  Off to sleep – Bon Noite!



Olive groves around here are massive – as far as the eye can see with a very unique smell.  Also some cork trees along the edges. They are cleared of bark below ~ 6 ft and some are painted with clay.

We passed lots of very nice potter especially near Rugeinos de Monsaraz – will have to buy some.

Off to the Interior where its Hot Hot Hot – Monte Branco Portugal 2004

Tuesday, July 27 (re: Monday July 6)  8:30am Monte Branco – near Monsaraz, Portugal


We are now at Monte Branco- very different than Buarcos!  We are back in time to the basics.  Although the place is retrofit with water & power, the farmhouse is still very rustic.  Lots of slate – the counters and floors – that is well worn.  The fireplace on the wall is very large (10ft x 3ft?) with the round chimney stack above.  The place is quite dark – but very dry also, so not “dank”.

Once again, the sugar cannot be found – it’s in the fridge!  There are many ant which causes problems in F. da F. and even more so here.  So the sugar is in the fridge.

Yesterdays trip was an adventure.

We headed down on a minor road to cut over to the A1.  Of course that is where the car died.  It just stopped running.  It would not restart at first.  We waited a bit (concerned about what to do of course – and Marucia & GL are off in their own car, so not translator) and it started.  We found a

little shop which had everything from motor oil to bread and cheese.   They had a phone so we phoned the main rental office but with no luck.  We had to call RainHaus Tours out of Lisbon – no answer – so we tried the local agent in Liera – which was line busy of fax answering only.

Sorry….back to writing…..I keep getting distracted and looking for where Mike & I can stay for our 2 nights away.

Okay – so we had no luck phoning.  So we had to drive into Liera and find the rental firm office.  So first to the tourist info – Mike dropped me then had to find a parking spot – a driving nightmare of one way streets and no spots.  Finally after 20 minutes he picked me back up.  Tourismo had given me the wrong directions, but another kind gentleman helped out.  Alrenta was the place we had to find.  Also found out that Bank of Portugal is ONLY in Porto, Lisboa, and Coimbra!  Hopefully we can change at a hotel/Pousada.

We finally found the rental outlet.  They had NO replacement cars available, but after our suggestion of a refund, they found a Peugot 406.  Luxury – sun roof and all.  But it will suck more gas.

We finally arrived here about 5pm – stopped at a shopping mall (33E) and had some ice cream in the car right out of the tub (bought 4 spoons :-).

The boys and I had a swim, Mike had a nap.  Had a glass of wine with the owner and her friend who is looking at buying a farm around here.

We went for dinner at 7ish up to Monsarez.  Amazing town – all walled in – you have to park and walk into the town as there are no cars.  Sat on the patio overlooking the country side – wonderful view!

Off to University! – Coimbra Portugal 2004

Sunday, July 25, 2004  10:25pm Figueira da Foz, Portugal

One week since we left Canada – seems so long ago, yet so recent.  Tomorrow we leave the coast for the interior – where the fires are raging.  The A1 was actually closed today right at the section we will be taking tomorrow – just south, between here and Situbal.  Hopefully it will rain soon.


George changed 500E for us today – hopefully we can get more changed tomorrow.  We’ved decided to head for Evora rather than Coimbra since it’s more en route and should be a large enough city to have a Bank of Portugal.

We watched the Real Madrid vs. Benfica (Spain vs. Portugal) game.  Ended up a tie – B. scored in extra time to tie it up.  A “for show” game – Mike thinks it’s the 100th (could be longer?) anniversary for Benfica, so they are playing lots of exhibition type games.

We got away by about 8:30 am today for Coimbra.  We got there by about 9:20 (gas 52E) and parked for free.  We did LOTS of walking.  First had some breakfast then headed through the old town to the Santa Clara Eglise.  Passed a souvenir shop and picked up some tile and cork mats (2@5E) for Mum & Dad & Mr. Cameron and thimbles and cockerel for Natalie & Daria (prob. for them)

Mass was on at the church so Marucia attended, but we walked up further to  other old churches, both which were closed.  Then we proceeded to lose everyone.  Mike & Marucia w/o walkie / talkie – George with a w/t and the boys and I with a w/t.  After about an hour of serious steep climbing and descending to the university we finally met up.  Walkie / talkies don’t work very well between the old buildings and around all the wires.

The boys hold on to tour the university (13E).  We saw the exam hall – where they now hand out the doctorate degrees.  From there you walked around outside for a magnificent view of the city.

The hall was full of ornamental detail – very much like the Portuguese trademark.  From ornate carpets or tile mosaic or inlay floor, you move up to the tile wainscoting then to elaborate wall painting then to crown molding and painted ceiling.  Gold foil is very common and carved wood also.

Next we saw the Bibliotheque Joanina.  Again fine detail everywhere and still lots of old books kept on shelves (behind chicken wire).

The chapel was off limits as there was a wedding taking place – just like Mikey & I!  So we didn’t get to go in there.

While we waited for the library to open, 2 students (1 from Toronto, 1 from Brasil – both of Portuguese ancestry) spoke of being a student at Coimbra.  The robes have a great history. Friends can tear the robes.  You know who is available by the rear side.  A large tear is made by your ‘date’.  If it sewn back up, you are available again.  Hats used to be used to carry things and also filled with stones for protection during medieval times.  Groups of students also create singing groups and tour around the cities.


Next off for lunch – we were Very thirsty – food was ok but not great.

Then over the river to another church and the tomb of Queen Saint Isabella (late 1200’s – not of Columbus fame).

Mike wants me to go to bed now – so I’ll be quick.

Then another refreshing drink (Kyle could not resist giving a beggar money en route) and walk back to the car. Stopped to pick up water on the way home, but the food stores were closed.  Had dinner instead (20E) and Mike bought some more film (?E)

One last note – the smell of fig trees is unique – almost like Pina Colada’s

lights out…Good night I guess…

Grand Churches, but not for all – Portugal 2004

Friday July 23, 2004 10:05pm Figueira da Foz, Portugal

Every day we love Portugal more.  Mike and George headed out by 9am today to Batalha, Alcobaca with their wine museum and the battlefield of Aljubarrota (but closed).

Marucia, Patrick, Kyle & I went to the beach.  We had two tasks – one to change our 500 Euro bills and 2 to buy map for M&GL – no luck on either account.  The bank sent me to the credit union (wow – my first pen ran out of ink!  hope I have enough pens to get through the trip!)  The Credit Union only takes 500E notes for deposit – they can’t change them.  We need to go to the Bank of Portugal in Coimbra – means we wait till Monday – sure hope that works out.  Also – no maps to buy at the tourist info –so we just beached it!  Had lunch back at the beach cafe (24E).  The boys had tons of fun in the waves.  Kyle figured out the “boogie board”.  They also dug a hole and buried Kyle – along with a boy from France who’s parents were English.  Later they built a sand pile – but the tide washed it away despite their efforts to shield it via human shield.  The neighbouring Portuguese kids had  more success since they were up beach from P & K.

Met back up with M&GL around 7:30pm.  After us beach folks all showered, we started on our quest for dinner.  Started by visiting the restaurant on the water side – but it was totally empty and the menu looked a bit slim. Decided to try another place in M&GL’s book – took a steep hill in Buarcos to the top only to find it under final repair prep for the August tourist season – closed right now!  So back down the hill to where we started.  It turned out better than expected.  The boys shared the seafood with rice, I had grilled fish, MIke had pork loin.  We also had seafood soup – sopa da mar.  75E total – then back for cafe & dessert.  Fig / choc / anisette / almond / orange / sugar – but not sure of the name!  This one is different than Marucia knows, but similar.  Will have to try her recipe at Christmas.

And now after much objecting to my not writing about his day, Mike is asleep – guess he’ll have to keep his own memories – perhaps he can write tomorrow…..

Not sure what tomorrow will be – if good weather maybe beach at Mira – or else Coimbra.

Good Night – time to sleep!  11:40 pm

Castles and Roman Ruins – Portugal 2004

Thursday July 22, 2004 10:05pm Figueira da Foz, Portugal

Not sure why I kept a diary when I was younger – but now I certainly appreciate that I will never remember all the details of these journeys – hence the long entries!  So here I am recording while the seniors and juniors play Bridge – Kyle is happy.  George got the espresso maker working, so we are happy also.  The weather today dictated that we do the tourist thing rather than beach.  Off to the castle @ Montemor at the boys request.  Not cost to enter – not even a donation box!  It was in quite good condition.  There was a section not very good that was the Princess residence – some walls standing.  Again the views around were amazing -.  The chapel was in quite good condition.  Marucia found a grave marked Ribiero but no date.  Others were from the 1600s, but hers looked older.  The paintings were still visible but faded – but the statues were in quite good condition – only a finger missing on the expecting mother.  (sip of wine .98E/bottle).  The lower wall was added later (main section as early as 988AD, lower perhaps 1200s – they are not certain).  I walked down to the gate @ the lower section – there were a couple of nails there – also saw lots of lizards; very quick movers.  Kyle managed to grab a tail but too slippery.  Amazing condition for something looked after and for no charge.

Next onto Condeixa for lunch for roast goat – cabral.  Marucia & GL finally found us (walkie talkies came in handy – they now have quite a reputation for getting lost and taking a while to get turned around.  I think not knowing the language has actually helped Mike and I.  While waiting we had a cerveza and Kyle had a guarana – bought one for Pat also.  Had lunch about 3:15pm – quite late so not lots left open 50E.  Kyle had a omelette, GL pork; GL discovered Dao; very good.

Then to Conimbriga (7.5E) amazing Roman ruins, from 1000AD.  The technology was most impressive – aqueducts and heated baths (3 temps – frio, tepid and hot).  There were mosaics on most floors.  Even indoor toilets with plumbing and heated rooms.  The basement room used charcoal (not plain wood) and clay pipes were used for the central heating.  There was also the main square in town with pieces of columns.  We did not go to the coliseum, but the overview showed it also.  All very Roman – amazing so few people, no active digging, and yet well preserved.  Kyle found some mosaic tile pieces also.  The museum had many artefacts all from the dig site here.  Some pieces were from Italy.  However brought with people or traded.  Boys shared the digital camera.  We will have to see what skill they have inherited.  Mike is in his glory – so much to see and you can get so close, and hardly any people.  And the cloudy day today likely made for better lighting (at least easier).

Tomorrow the boys want to hit the beach.  Think we will head to perhaps Mira – supposed to be good sand dunes there.  Mike will head south to some of the sites he wants to see.

Went back to grocery store – more Dao and cheese, guadana, fruit, yogurt.  Total 47E.  Boys are still bridging with M&GL.  10:45pm

Aveiro – Portugal 2004

Northern Portugal – Aveiro

Wednesday July 21, 2004 9:45pm Figueira da Foz, Portugal

Very busy day – but full.  Michael got us all up @ 6am, to head to Aveiro.  After a yogurt and quick pack, we were out by 7:15am (took a while to get everyone up and figure out our route).  We managed to get there just after 8:30 despite the lack of road signage.  Starting to understand the signs better – Highways have a min (blue) speed and max (red) speed, by lane.  Exits are marked with a count down \\\750m \\500m \250m then exit.  Town entry and exit are marked – meadhede means leaving town.  They also have “slow down” traffic lights on the road.  No exits or crossroad, just a light to make you slow down.

Arrived at Aveiro and had coffee(10E) and sweet buns and Ovos Moles (2@3E) and some post cards (3E).  Found the tourist info, walked up behind to the local old streets and saw the fish market.  Sardines, eel (live & gutted live and squirming) octopus, squid, salmon, snapper, sole, ray fish and lots of other not sure what.  Kyle is loving the dogs that run free (& the lizards) – although he met one @ the market that was not as friendly.  Saw the painted fishing boats in the canals (lots of canals in town).  Then walked over to the Musee de Aveiro(5E)  – the old convent where Princess Joanna (daughter of Alphonso 5th)  – how became a nun at the end of her life, (died in 1490).  She later became a saint in 1693.  Amazing church in the convent, (completed in 1713).  Her crypt was made of marble and stone.  Such fine detail in marble – with a phoenix underneath as well as several angles on the corners holding it up.  The whole room had inlay stone on the walls.  Then the church – all gold over wood that had been plastered.  The place was incredibly ornate.  There were holes for the nuns to see thru since they were sequestered.  Very old organ also.  Several paintings on the walls and ceiling also.  But NO Photos.

Several other very interesting rooms.  The dining are blue and white tiles are older.  Blue and yellow not till 17th&18th century.  You could see where the repairs were done.  The whole convent was built over the ocean which kept rising (7m of water) – so the nuns moved up and up over the years.  Everyone tired.  Next off to Meahede where we found a popular local choice for roast sucking pig.  Very good and they recommended the wine also, (68E).  For dessert we had the walnut torte – very good and fresh.  Now to Bucaco – the forest of the monks (2.5E).  The whole forest was surrounded by a wall – inside foreign trees were planted.  Kyle got a great photo of an Australian buyana buyana in front of the hotel.  Marucia was impressed with cost of rooms only 150E to start (up to over 1000E).  The gardens were very impressive – lots of boxwood shapes – hope photos capture it!  and hanging vines and exotic trees formed into shapes.  The different eras of building were apparent by the style of stone work and architecture.  Some more baroque and carved (main hotel) with Gargoyles and tile frescos.  Then the adjoining section was mosaic with marble, quartaz, volcanic rock etc.

Finally a walk into the forest.  Quite different smell and feel from our forests.  Vines everywhere and obviously different trees.  No insects flying around to bug you also!  very pleasant.  Patrick was amazed by the large trees – not sure if he managed to photo any.  Kyle lead us on a very fortunate path.  To the edge of the sanctuary with a section of wall (looked like a movie set!) and a couple of tree crosses and a house, with outdoor fire for baking.  The view was breathtaking – unfortunately the peacefulness was broken by distant jack hammers – but you could almost go back in time.

More treasures – stations of the cross on the return.

It is amazing here – so pleasant and peaceful – not crowded or overly expensive.  We are loving it – Kyle wants to learn Portuguese and live here, can’t say I object.

Next back home (2.5E toll) and stop in for more groceries (16E).  Had a light dinner here and a couple of beers.  Hope everyone gets a better sleep tonight.  P & K want to hit the beach tomorrow) lets see what the weather brings for us then…. Bon Noite 10:30pm.


Day at the Beach! – Portugal 2004

Tuesday July 20, 2004 10:45pm Figueira da Foz, Portugal

Wonderful day – absolutely perfect weather.  Hot enough to spend the day on the beach, but not sweltering hot.  I’m not even fried – a nice breeze all day.  We had breakfast here, packed a lunch and headed to the beach.  Rented a cabana (7E) for the day.  Mike and I took a walk along the beach (water is frio!)

In the afternoon we went for some cerveza and vinho verde (and boys had juice/pop) and some food – fish sticks and chicken.  Kyle had sumal and liked it a lot (orange drink) (30E).

Boys are still awake – had to check on them and encourage lights out – we hope to get up early to head out sight seeing tomorrow – not sure where to as yet perhaps Braccas?

After a bit more time on the beach took a long walk to the pier.  The boys loved the waves.  Saw some fishing boats coming in (from a distance).  Then walked along the beach road.  Lots of little cafes.  Have to try one especially since we have no coffee maker here.  Saw the sand sculptures and the boys tried a trapeze bouncer thing (10E).  Both were able to do flips (barely).  Kyle kept getting extra help to spin more – but I’m not sure he appreciated it much.  His arms were quite bruised when done.  By the time we walked back, George said it was 8pm, so we headed straight for dinner (without changing) to the seafood restaurant Abel had recommended.  We were certainly the least dressed given our beach attire, but just as well we stayed as it got quite crowded after we were there.  Boys had duck, George squid, Marucia fish (grilled) Mike and I split a mussels and rice – actually lots of mixed seafood.  We had vinho verde tinta 5.8E and the house white (1/2 l 2.5E).  Wine is very cheap food reasonable.  Total bill after desserts and coffees 91E.  We left 105E.

Michael just brought me a lovely slip of Port.  Oh its rough… He is off watching the Brazilian soaps with M & GL.  I really like it here, good retirement potential!  Bon Noite 11:20pm.