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Tuesday, April 05, 2016

ABroad in Portugal: Getting My Bearings


Welcome to the Algarve, Portugal. The distance from the most southwestern point in continental Europe to the Spanish border is just over 100 miles. And from the most south eastern point of the Algarve to the border town of Alcoutim is about 24 miles. Apart from one excursion to the west of Faro all of our February adventures were in the eastern part of the Algarve, in Spain and in Gibraltar.

Cabanas has more than a touch of the old Portugal

. In 1755 a Tsunami and Earthquake destroyed most of the ancient Moorish towns and villages in the Algarve. Cabanas is an old fishing village just outside of the old city of Tavira. Although Tavira is very modern and built up, the old city is quite charming and pretty along the river. Although we did no spend much time there, we did do most our grocery shopping in the outskirts -- a mere 3 kilometers from the caravan site. The evening after we went to Barril Beach, we headed into Cabanas for a meal. The speciality of the Algarve being fish and seafood and I chose sea bass. The men opted for a mixed grill of various cuts of meat. I don't remember much about their meals except that The Man had far  more than he expected!

My sea bass came 'butterflied' and was a beautiful thing to behold. It was delicious, but very bony. It seems to be a traditional way the Portuguese serve sea bass as it was prepared the same way on the one other occasion I ordered it.

What I loved about eating out in Portugal is that the food was always dependably delicious, simply prepared and fresh. And the wine we found to be very drinkable! I discovered 'vinho verde' which has a lower alcohol content and a lovely light taste. So going out to dinner one had good unpretentious food with as much wine as you would want to drink with the bill for two people seldom going over 30 euros and often just over 20! My stepson had told us that when they stayed in Portugal they ate in one night and out the next. I can understand why and next time we will not stock up on so much food to prepare ourselves!

The other thing that must be emphasized is how welcoming the Portuguese people were. We had discovered two local restaurants in a small village near to the caravan. Twice we showed up well after 9 o'clock -- barely hoping they would be open and willing to serve us. No problem -- they happily served us with friendliness and good cheer.

The Algarve east of Faro is less spoiled by modern villas and touristy apartment buildings than the western side of the province. However, that is not to say that modernity does not abound. However, the old ways and traditions seem to have remained more in the area than the wealthier more affluent areas to the west of Faro.

15 comments:

  1. Now I want fish for dinner tonight.

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  2. Yes, we have always found the food in Portugal delicious but have learnt to avoid ordering fish because of the bones.

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    1. I did discover a couple of good restaurants that prepared the fish without bones -- it was quite a relief!

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  3. I envy you your trip to Portugal. I'm Portuguese on my mother's side and would love to explore her birthplace.

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    1. I would definitely recommend that you do visit the country. Warmest people I've ever met.

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  4. What a wonderful experience! Thank you for sharing it with me, since I am unlikely to make it there myself. :-)

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  5. Is vinho verde a green wine? Sounds like a wonderful time. I'm happy for you.

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    1. Yes, but 'green' in this case means 'young' -- and it is very light and refreshing. Perfect for warm weather.

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    2. Yes, but 'green' in this case means 'young' -- and it is very light and refreshing. Perfect for warm weather.

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  6. This sounds wonderful. One of the good things about living in Europe, you don't have to cross that big Atlantic and in my case, the US, to see different cultures, experience their food, music, art, and so on. Thanks for reading my posts, it's good to see my old friends.

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    1. Yes, it is very far to Europe from the west coast of America. I hated the flights from Seattle -- they were so long and always involved changing planes somewhere. Which was sometimes convenient if I could change in a city where there were relatives I wanted to visit!

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    2. Yes, it is very far to Europe from the west coast of America. I hated the flights from Seattle -- they were so long and always involved changing planes somewhere. Which was sometimes convenient if I could change in a city where there were relatives I wanted to visit!

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  7. Dear Broad!
    I read in the papers that Portugal welcomes refugees due to decreasing population and I can see that prices are going down on touristapartments and such. We would really love to go, but the options from Sween aren't very good actually. The airports closest rarely have flights. But seeing pictures and taking part of your experience really creates an itch. My classmate in highschool was halfportugeese and brought up there. She spoke well of that beautiful country of hers.
    About the bass, the greek serve it the exact same way and being on our walking tour the guide took us to a small place above sealevel, very much like: Come and visit the Karanidis-kind of place, sitting on the front porch eating fried fish and surrounded by hundreds of cats.
    Yes, we'll try Portugal next time, I'll check this map of yours!!

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Receiving comments is a joy and I thank you all for taking the trouble and showing your interest. Makes me feel all gooey and stuff!