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Published: October 27th 2019
Your wish is my command my lady, there have been plans afoot about going to Portugal and travelling around.
Somehow it was implied that I was to be part of that trip, ie I had come with her.
Damned and blasted, one third of the fun and twice as expensive, how can you beat that.
Actually It’ll be fun , the old girl is easygoing and nice to travel with.
The only major draw back is that we’re travelling on four wheels which by definition should be twice as fun as on two wheels, it ain’t.
Some lousy Seat with about 4 horse powers and seat designed by Torquemada himself, how can any one in the illustrious year 2019 make such lousy car seats, intercourse, after a bout two hours I’m toast and feel my years with a vengeance.
So we got a flight to Lisbon and picked up the modern equivalent of the rack there and set forth to infiltrate Portugal, the first night was spent somewhere a bit south of the capital, in Castro Verde, a quaint little Portuguese town.
We got in a bit late and all but one restaurant was
closed, the open one was a bit of a dump and the food so so, but then again hunger is a very nice condiment.
After that culinary debacle we decided that we had to find a room no later than 4 o’clock in the afternoon as 4 am would be rather stupid.
Time to explore and time to find a place to stay and have some wine during daylight hours.
We were going to go up north but the weather gods decided something else as they were trying to drench the northern parts of P. with vast quantities of water.
So we went to south, to Algarve the southern province of P. where all the sun seekers go.
Navigation set on secondary roads got us down to the south western most corner of P. where the land ends abruptly with steep cliff walls and a light house, Cape San Vincent.
After that we went east with plans forming about going to the four corners of P.
The ocean is rife with a nice, for surfers, swell and they are plentiful, a lot of people bobbing in the water waiting for the perfect wave,
maybe there even was a Bob or two in the water. A coffee and some chocolate cake with about 24 million calories later we ended up in Sagres , well before 4 o’clock..
Some walking about and some wine, the chocolate cake was still trying to rid itself of it’s plentiful calories so dinner was very light, olives, cheese and bread.
The next day we ended up in Faro a decent little town from whence you could watch an endless stream of flight coming into the air port off loading pale sun seekers.
The Old town was minute so we just walked and walked as the illustrious leader had the not so very splendid idea that we should walk 10 km a day.
5 is ok, but 10 is a chore and hard on the feet, and thirsty work but there are watering holes, plenty of them and they have water as well.
Nice tapas for starters with some very nice waitresses, we ended up in the carnivores paradise where our fellow diners ate humongous amounts of meat, we not so much but enough.
A leisurely breakfast in the roof top restaurant with a
splendid views of the ocean, and off we went.
To the eastern most corner in P. one pic was enough and Spain was beckoning on the other side of the river.
We ended up in Mértola, somewhere in land going north up towards Douro, it was almost 4 pm and the town looked nice enough.
This far south it’s very very dry, some rain would not be amiss and by all standards with me being here it should rain, but it does not.
The door to the balcony is open and I can hear the bells hanging around the necks of the goats tolling, but hopefully not for me.
Mértola was nice but somehow all the streets were uphill, it’s like alway having head wind when you’re out on a bicycle.
We had some wine, after all it’s holiday and this country has some nice stuff, my dinner was nice, a steak in mustard sauce Maria had some regional tomato soup and was not a happy camper.
Choose wisely grasshopper!
Bed time and another hard day’s ride got us to Castel Branco, they should rename it Bumfuck, what and absolute dump.
Some semi hard driving later we hit Miranda de Douro, a hidden gem, a truly secret place.
WTF if you post this a a secret place and a hidden gem on some travel site, how can it be hidden and secret, wankers.
We stayed in some kind of hotelish place run by an octogenarian lady.
A cold night later, this very stupid idea of having a double bed with one duvet, makes one freeze and one snug, a tug of war if there ever was one.
The next morning as we had our very unsumptous breakfast, I managed to know down a lamp hanging from the ceiling, well I did not knock it down but I did break it, but the old coot said it was no problem.
According to Maria her face said something completely different, if looks would have daggers I would have been mince meat.
Back on the road we finally arrived to the one place where all the pics of the Douro valley are taken, for a good reason as well, very pretty , very picturesque.
We got a room at some vineyard homestay cum hotel an hours drive
away and with the sat nav on secondary roads we drove through a very nice landscape vineyards and small holdings galore.
We arrived at a mansion with large sitting rooms and open fireplaces with bulging drapes and comfy sofas and bric a brac in enormous quantities.
A handsome mansion and also the home of the owners, they served an over priced buffet dinner who’s sole redeeming thing was wine that kept coming.
When you’re out in the sticks, they’ve got you by the short and curlies, who wants to go looking for dinner at 8 pm when it’s dark and you don’t know where you are?
Not a single fast food joint to be found among the vines, not even the Golden Seagull.
The room was very nice and very warm, central heating on full blast and very hot water and two duvets, yihaa.
The road to Porto took us through more vineyards and more little hamlets way out in the sticks.
We followed the Douro down to Porto and the landscape changed from lovely to run off the mill..
Some walkabout in Porto along and across the river some wine and
cheese and a lot of walking uphill.
Lots of people out in their Sunday bests, enjoying the lovely weather, walking to and fro.
The old parts was nice and the modern could be anywhere,
A VERY crummy dinner later and lights out, two duvets again!
Time to go home so we took the rack and drove down to Lisbon, quite lovely city with lot of steep streets all going uphill, WTF.
The do have a tram or two going up some steep streets, but a 4 ,8 euros , no way and it was only 200 meters or so.
Llsbon is nice and that’s it.
Unfortunately we had o fly with Air France going home, late and crummy as usual, the connecting flight had to wait for a good while as the other transfer passengers were not as fast as us us hustling through the airport.
Portugal is nice and my travelling companion even nicer, but for the times that’s she won the tug of war with the duvet.
Portugal has, as a friend once said, good produce but bad cooks, he said it about Italy where he lives
Portuguese are nice, the coffee , the bread and the wine is good to excellent.
Would I go back, no, did I enjoy my stay there, yes.
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