A wandering day,

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

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Flag of Portugal  , Lisbon,
Friday, March 21, 2014

It is raining today, our first day of rain. In the hills it is foggy and quite mysterious looking. We drove around here and there today and returned to the little hotel in Colares tonight for dinner.

I have mentioned the garden, this rain will be good for it so thought I would include some photos. The scent outside is a blend of Portugal Spring, that is what I will call it, better than the Eau de Charcoal from the other day. I have also included a couple of photos of the statues that line the roadsides in Sintra. 

All around us the land is being dug up and furrows are perfectly aligned in preparation for vegetable planting. Seed packets are in the stores and potted floral plants are at the ready along with young trees.  Burrows Country Store would do well here, people are ready and in their rubber boots, chit chatting like no tomorrow. The locals have all been hibernating.

Portugal is small and we will have driven most of it by the time we leave. We are not going to the Algarves but will touch on each region. An 800 mile border separates Portugal from Spain, it's only neighbouring country to the North and East; to the South and West, 500 miles of coastline meet the Atlantic Ocean. The population of this country is just over 10 million. House materials vary from thick granite walls, brick or limestone, to clay and stone. Most of them have the red clay tiled roofs. Many have the ceramic tiles on walls and or framing the windows. Colours are warm on the houses and many though are whitewashed and blue seems to be a popular choice for trimming when tiles are not used. Tiny, tiny homes line up in the old villages centre and it seems that as you spoke out from the hub, the bigger they get. There is obvious growth. 

One of our stops today was the grocery store. When we were at our last visit there I received a coupon for 12.79 euros. This was the amount of money I had saved on "sale" items. Instead of taking it off the retail price then, they give you the amount in the form of a coupon to use for your next shopping day. What a great way of doing it. It gets you right back to their store. Tony has become a coupon maniac, you would think we were in Florida, doing the two for one at five o'clock, wait a minute, someone told us this WAS Britain's Florida, but we are a little early on our arrival. Interesting! Oh damn, he just found a gas coupon....

Now I have to tell you about bug bites! When Tony first came to the French River and the mosquitoes bit him, or the black flies, he would swell up and itch all night long. Those Canadian bugs love him and never bother me. Here it is the opposite. Anytime I am in these foreign places I get bit by something. Bug bites the size of loonies - not "bugging" me but when I get one, if there is a trophy for the biggest, I would win.

Dinner  tonight was an experience, one I probably need to go into in depth. It is the first time we have ventured out after dark and we pick a foggy rainy night. The hotel, on Friday evening hosts a special meal that includes a Portuguese delicacy of sorts. Tonight it is Wild Boar. We zig zag our way very slowly down our big hill hoping we will not encounter anyone, after all who would go out on a night like this? Driving this route we are just over a kilometre away from our destination. Two cars are out, not bad but passing each other always requires strategic manoeuvring. 

We are again the first to arrive at 7:30 the aroma of roast pork is in the air. We both decide to have the "special". Carlos and Reuben are happy to see us. The first course is a "green egg salad" - mixed lettuces etc. tossed lightly with oil and vinegar topped with a devilled egg. The yolk is filled with herbs, hence the green, then it is lightly crusted and fried. It was different, good and worth a try. I will not make it, but I would eat it again. Our next course was the Boar. It had been cooking all day like a stew and served in its own juices, it was delicious. It certainly is not white meat more like a pot roast. Along side was the best mashed potatoes whipped with olive oil and juice from the meat, and carrots like our grandmothers made. Dessert was strawberry pie. They are in season and this pie was amazing. Fresh strawberries, a light whip cream type filling and a crust that was more like an almond, oatmeal, brown sugar cookie. We are full to the brim.

Before we leave we are given a drink in a warm brandy snifter that blew my socks off. Warm, very clear, one sip and I thought my body would explode. The smell is harsh, the burn incredible as it hits your stomach. Stronger than Grappa we are told this "firewater" is a digestive. I wanted to ask what part of the boar did this come from? Wow! It gave us courage to head back home....

We decide to go the roundabout way and take the Deviso! This is the longer route, just over seven kilometres. It is dark, stormy, foggy, we are full of game and firewater. We do not meet anyone heading back to the barn. This is good. The house is very pretty at night and the garden is glistening with the rain. I mentioned to Tony "it looks like it is glowing", he said " that's the firewater talking, get inside."

Night now.....
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Bill on

Looks and sounds excitingly "boaring" to me!

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