We’ve been here in Portimio for almost 2 weeks now. Mornings are usually sunny enough for us to sit out on our balcony in our swimsuits and watch the beach walkers and surfers. Afternoons we go for walks through town and along the beach boardwalk. The beach is beautiful, but no matter how you get there it is a 30+ step up and down expedition. I’m finally getting my legs back after being sick so we are going farther afield every day.
I’m not saying we have done nothing but eat since we got here, but the food is really amazing. Last night, we went to a tiny restaurant across from our apartment, we were the only patrons. We had cataplana, a Portuguese specialty, which is a seafood, shellfish, fish, potato dish, cooked in a slightly spicy tomato broth. There was crab, shrimp, mussels, clams, fish….. It was amazingly good and we couldn’t finish the bowl we were served. Ron has been trying all the local fish, sea bass, golden breem, monkfish, swordfish and of course sardines. Grilled sardines eaten with bread is a staple dish here. The sardine canning industry was the basis of the local economy for many years, we went to the local museum where they have an excellent display of the old cannery.
Last week we took a boat tour and went upriver to the town of Silves. Very typical old village with cobblestone narrow windy streets, steep hills and a castle. Silves is also a famous orange growing area. It’s always interesting to see cities and the countryside from the water. Such a different perspective.
We also took a road tour to Porches, a town know for beautiful pottery, a tour up the Algarve coast with many breathtaking lookouts and beaches. We tromped down the obligatory hundred steps to a cave with openings looking out at the ocean. I of course managed to completely submerge my stompy, blue old lady sandals in bright red mud and spent the rest of the day squelching around in wet feet. The sandals and my feet both cleaned up well. No harm. We had lunch in the village square at Ferragudo, then went to a winery to cap off the day. Our travel companions for the day were 2 German couples from near Stuttgart. One of the men spoke excellent English, and with the 4 words of German I have learned we did just fine!
Today it’s cloudy and windy, although still 19 degrees. We spent a quiet day, did a grocery run and relaxed.
Before I sign off, a few more random impressions:
In some areas of Lisbon the drug trade on the streets is flourishing. I was offered marijuana, hash, undetermined tablets etc etc. Drugs are decriminalized here, but we haven’t noticed people obviously under the influence and last night walking home was the first time we smelled pot on the streets.
I want you all to stop reading this. Walk over to your thermostat. Caress it lovingly and say thank you for being part of my life. We are in a 7 story apartment building with almost no tenants. Every surface is either ceramic tile or plaster or glass. And no central heating. There is a small plug in radiator type heater that keeps my feet from freezing in the evenings. Thank god for smart wool socks.
I was SOOOOO excited when we got here and found that the apartment has a bathtub. Couldn’t wait to jump in for a soak. Except the hot water is an on demand system that won’t fill a whole tub. And the tub is narrow, high and absolutely every surface is the aforementioned ceramic, tile etc. It took every contortionist, free willy move I had in me to get back out of that tub. So, long soaks are off my list for now.
Thanks for reading! Obrigado.