Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Visiting European countries, or the Far East is usually a great experience for everyone concerned. The different foods, the (usually) better weather, the sightseeing and the making of new friends all adds to the experience. We have recently returned from a trip to Portugal. We again drove the 1600 miles each way. It was interesting experiencing the change in temperature as we travelled through France, Spain and finally Portugal. The temperature reached 34C as we drove through the hills in Spain. It continued to be 30C even when we arrived in Portugal towards the end of August. We would certainly recommend a holiday in Portugal during end of August/September. Schools go back there around the end of the first week of September, so it quietens down then on the beaches etc. Being British we are used to eating an evening meal at about 6.30 p.m or 7 p.m. This would be considered too early for most European people. We noticed that when we stopped in Spain some restaurants didn't open until 8.00 p.m! The tapas dishes are definitely worth a try. You can sample most parts of a pig (cheek etc).There was something in squid ink, but not sure what it was as translation sometimes not good, but amusing. Tripe is often offered (this is popular as a dish in Portugal). The are so many choices of seafood that you are spoilt for choice and of course it is freshly caught every day. Many locals like to take a couple of hours for lunch outside in the local square. We decided to give it a go, and went to Cacela Velha where we had a beautiful lunch! The food was delicious a starter of crusty bread, olives and sardine paste, then oysters and cockles washed down with a crisp glass of Vinho Verde. This is a lovely restaurant on the east coast of the Algarve. This is not far from where we stay in Altura. The last two photos are of Cacela Velha. We have walked along the beach from Altura, past Manta Rota to Cacela Velha, but there are rather too many steps to climb up to the church and restaurant, so we drove there. It only takes 10 minutes in the car, but rather a long time if you choose to walk! As you walk along the beaches, either toward Monte Gordo or Manta Rota or Cacela Velha, you will find many beach cafes. Most cafes serve orange juice freshly squeezed, and I have never found that you needed the sugar that they sometimes bring you with it. The oranges are so fresh, but vary as some have numerous pips and some have none at all. If you drive around Portugal you are never far from the orange trees or olive trees. There are also many vineyards. This time we decided to do a little sightseeing, nothing too strenuous. We visited a beautiful Palace in Estoi - about 28km from Altura. We also visited the remains of a castle in Alcoutim. This town is situated by the Guadiana River which separates Portugal from Spain

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