The Village

Trip Start Mar 01, 2014
Trip End Apr 05, 2014

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Flag of Portugal  , Estremadura,
Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Down a steep, curving path is "Centro" - the centre of this village. This is the heart where everyone comes together to go to Church, pick up a few groceries, meet and greet and share all of  the news. Today was a perfect day to walk down.

The only activity we see en route are dogs pacing on rooftops, guarding their Master's property from strangers. That is who we are to them today. Some bark at us, some just watch but they know we are not from around these parts. The noises we are hearing are saws, leaf blowers, and weed whackers. You can smell wood burning. There is a sense of preparation. Properties are being opened up, cleaned up, debris is burned. Blankets hang from clothes lines, windows are flung open to let out the coolness of winter and let in the warmth of spring. It is 23 degrees here today but it feels much hotter.

As lunch nears we head in to "Refugio Ciclista" a local restaurant that is on the map, and in the guides. It is a refuge for cyclists, motor cyclists, hikers, tourists, workers, locals. There is a steady stream of people. A group of women who have all been hiking are exhausted as they plunk themselves down at the table in front of me. They are chugging down water as their walking sticks fall to the floor. Motor cyclists enter all decked out in their leathers, one exception a pair of hot pink suede heels that are so wrong in so many ways. Cyclists in gear with helmets sporting GoPro cameras collapse on the benches, wiping their brows, thankful for this rest. Workers who are the operators of the landscaping equipment we are hearing chatter and greet each other like long lost friends, their vans from neighbouring communities lined up outside. It is a great people watching place. We think Mom is in the kitchen, the son is on the grill and various family members of all ages, come and go. The father is a famous cyclist whose photos and newspaper articles are posted all around the walls. The son is the spitting image of this man.  It is so much fun and so very good. It is our second visit and will not be our last.

Pork ribs, turkey cutlet, shish kabobs (2), hamburger (2), rice, French fries, salad, wine (red and white), olives, bread, fruit cup and creme caramel - 26 euros for the 4 of us

Outside is the Refugio Cafe, the local coffee bar where plastic tables and chairs teeter on the uneven ground. Smokers are outside enjoying frosty bottles of beer, men and women talking at a level that rivals a rock concert. Everyone seems excited. Inside lots of people are drinking beverages of choice and with a slap on a back or two return to their afternoon duties. We are going to climb back up the hill.

There are many huge homes hanging from the hillsides. They are at the top of terraced gardens, one includes a tennis court. The building process must take so, so long. The birds and the bees are busy flying from one tree or bush to another ensuring every tree will bring fruit, nuts, flowers. The road is uneven with cobblestones, rocks, wood chunks and dirt. As we reach our house we are on a pebbled path. It is around 3:00, time means nothing. Tony falls asleep by the pool, Mike takes a brief plunge in to the pool. Very brief, it is still too cool. 

There are three mountain bikes available to us. We think they may need a tune-up before riding, we think we all may need a tune-up before riding and decide our legs will carry us. It would be safer for all if we stick to this plan. 

Dinner is late and light, cards are played, plans made for tomorrow. It isn't long before the house is very quiet. 

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Karen on

Just finished catching up on my morning readings. Sounds like a wonderful holiday. We just returned from a winter wonderland stay at cottage. Snowshoed with Kadie through the channel, oh so beautiful!

Chris on

I have to say it some certainly puts the Port in You Gal.
Enjoying the adventure.

Katie on

Just caught up! MOM ouch, I can hear dad saying "slow down" as he has said to me many times when I've tumbled or whacked something. I'm glad you escaped with a sprain and am impressed you're back on it - and not lightly! I've been reading the blog to Foster and he seemed to perk up when the rooster and lizards came into play. My mouth was watering at spoon cheese!!??! I can almost feel that warm sunshine... Almost. Lots of love!!

Gwyneth on

Happy to hear the Provans arrived safely and that it is warm enough there for barbecues and dips in the pool! Scenery is gorgeous- brings back memories of our tour through Portugal soooooo many years ago. We, however, are enduring ANOTHER snow storm- really weird that yesterday the boys and I were having a snowball fight in the melting snow and wearing sweatshirts instead of heavy jackets. It was 11 degrees and really felt like spring! Mother Nature is a bitch! Love to you all.

Pat on

Just read your last three blogs and I am so envious. We are all anxiously awaiting for the smell of burning grass and the sound of a lawn mower but it won't be for a while yet because it continues to snow here. Send some of that hot sun here!

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