Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Last day in the Algarve

This is our last day in the Algarve. We’re going to spend the day cleaning and going to the beach. But this time, we’ll stay at the beach for awhile and play, play, play. Hoping to hit Praia du Luz. I think it may be a little touristy, but hope to find some shells and a quiet spot. Ha. Then off to Lisboa tomorrow.

Yesterday, we went looking for a zoo with endangered species on the way to Monchique. We missed it and ended up in Monchique. It is a town in the mountains. It was just enough of a change of scenery for us. A lot of walking up and down hills. We were very hungry and went into a little café looking for french fries. We found them. Real Portuguese style. It’s homecut fries. Lightly fried. Love em. Reminds me of my mom making them when we were young. The only other thing on the menu that day was stewed chicken. I was very leary of the look of it and wondered if it was stewed rabbit! By that time Henry was chatting up a local fireman eating there and they had a chuckle out of it. Let me tell you… it was sooo yummy. It looked a little dark b/c it was cooked in wine. Meat fell off the bone and tasty. We were watered and fed and went for a walk in the town.

We happened upon a chocolate shop. It was run by a lady from Wales. She loved it here so much, she moved her family here. We bought some of her handmade chocolates. Try them later. She only had one kind of Portuguese chocolate. Not bad. It was the same company that makes ice cream that we had. Very milky and creamy.

On the way back to the car, there were numerous handicraft shops. I had to take a look, of course. The knitted things were amazing and the prices incredible. A thick wool cape/poncho thing for only 25 euros?? Nuts. I bought some sheep skin slippers I had my eye on for a while. They were much cheaper there than another tourist trap, so I went for it.

Another thing that caught our attention was the landscaping and gardens that looked relatively new. I took some pics and hope to put them up here or facebook. Oh yes, on the way, Raf has to use the bathroom. Henry was gone to get the car. I asked a man sitting on the bench for a bathroom? Water closet? Toilette? Toilet? He started rambling and mentioned the town Portimao. So I knew he didn’t understand. It got to the point where Raf was doing the great pee dance, so I went into a building. It turned out to be some sort of school. Looked like a daycare I had never seen the likes of before. There were no children there, but there were 3 workers just getting ready. So clean, tidy and many rooms with different play themes. I would have liked to find out more about it.

Off we went again, to find the zoo. Passed the place where it should have been, went back again. No luck, so we stopped at this place called “Parque da Minna”. Turns out it’s an attraction much like a pioneer village. The zoo had closed 2 years earlier. So we went inside and really enjoyed the walk. We saw some cork trees! That was a highlight for me. I don’t know why I’m so intrigued by them. Maybe it was way back in the beginning of Henry and I dating and he telling me how cork comes only from Portugal. So to see the trees with half the bark cut off was interesting. I got a few pieces that were on the ground. It takes 7 years for the cork bark to grow back.
There is a house that was owned by the business man in town. The used to be 1400 acres of worked land. The house had some rooms on the main floor for bookkeeping and waiting areas for the workers to meet the business man and then the rest of the main floor was the working area. They made some firewater (moonshine), had places for the “shop”- tools, hardware, etc that the people could use, a place for the horses etc. Very enlightening. The top floor consisted of a few bedrooms, drawing room, living room, bathroom, kitchen. Was interesting to see that as all the other older homes I’ve been in had the kitchen on the main floor. This one had a large chimney area/pit that was called the Kitchen. They lit the fire in the middle of the floor (I’m sure there was some sort of device or elements to put the fire on) and cooked there. The bread ovens were outside.
There was a display on how they made wood coal and a bird area. Tons of bird species, pigeons? With feathery legs. Chickens, roosters, etc. Lovely day in all.

One stopa t the hypermarket (again!) and then home where Henry made some Caldeirada- layered fish stew. Tomatoes, onion (he bought them off the back of a truck at a lookoff point on the way home), potatoes and fish layered and cooked. Took only 20 minutes and very tasty. Don’t know what’s happening with the fishermen’s strike. We haven’t heard the news in a few days.

Well, best be off and do some chores. I’ve been writing all this stuff at home in Word so that I can just copy and paste when we get to internet places.

Thanks for stopping by,

Check out the photos at link below


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