Trip Start Jan 01, 2008
45Trip End Sep 29, 2009
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The first four days we didn't see a cloud in the sky, the north of Portugal is very hilly and we spent our time between deserted beaches and hill towns to get a real flavor of the country. We love the little village houses, and the amazing effort they put into tiling buildings on the outside is really cool.
Our money has gone a bit further in Portugal so we even had the opportunity to eat out in Viseu, Sharon is experimenting with fish after 20 years as a strict veggie, as we thought it may be hard to eat out especially when we leave Europe, so she's been trying some different fish and getting more adventurous, this time she had grilled swordfish and I had massive baked sardines, they were amazing so fresh and tasty defiantly worth the wait to eat out. I even tried a starter that was put on the table complementarily, I though it was ell or something similar at first but I soon realised it was pigs ear! Sharon wisely steered clear in the first place, while the meat tasted lovely I did feel a bit guilty later that evening, I'll never look at pig the same again.
I've called this entry chicken run in honor of the obsession of the chicken in the country, they have chickens and cocks in the public parks over here, its pretty surreal I don't know why they don't wander off. The supermarkets are chicken mad as well, I'm still trying to find the peri peri local speciality, but I have found pretty much anything else chicken related you might fancy, you can even by a whole bag of feet! I guess in the vein of the pigs ear you have to chew off any spare meat you can find. The cock is the emblem of Portugal and we've even found our first tour sticker with one on for the van.
Portugal is described in the guides as one of the worst places to drive in Europe, the roads can be a bit rough but I've been on worse in Europe. The drivers seem to take a few extra risks but on the whole I've found the driving ok. So much so we decided to venture into our first big city, Porto. As its built on a hill it was quite difficult finding a place to park on the narrow steep streets with the van but we managed in the end. Its an amazing city with loads of fantastic architecture and then loads of decaying buildings, it reminded me of how I would imaging Rio to be, but I guess thats not surprising as they seem to have building houses on hills down to a art form here and the Portuguese probably did a similar job in Brazil.
Yesterday we went to Lisbon, now the guide did manage to put me off driving there so we found a camp spot on the river opposite and took a boat trip over as foot passengers. We did the tourist thing for a day and got a bus round the city. It was a nice change and Lisbon was a lovely place to waste the afternoon. We did have some fun trying to get back on the ferry as our automatic tickets weren't working properly. I don't even know if we purchased return tickets but eventually I got through on mine, with the ferry about to leave and Sharon stuck on the other side she had to make a decision if she would crawl under the bar or not, I probably would have as there didn't seem to be anyone around but Sharon is a good girl and was to nervous. Just in the nick of time a guard passed, I think she talked at him so fast in English he just swiped her through, it was all good in the end and a interesting day away from the van.
We have stayed in some amazing places and the view from the van in Portugal has rarely disappointed, when I get the chance to upload this I hope the pictures that we choose can do the time we have had here justice.
We have done some bumming about on the beeches but the Atlantic breeze has kept the sea to cold just yet for a dip. So were heading further south along the Algarve, then its back to Spain along to Seville and then over to Granada to see if we can become hippies, more on that later..