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Portugal

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We just returned from another amazing trip. This time we ventured into Portugal. We spent a week in the most south-western point in a village called Sagres. Unfortunately, it was extremely windy and on the cool side so we were unable to spend everyday at the beach, as I had envisioned. However, we made some wonderful memories with the kids.

We stayed in a beautiful apartment called Sagres Times. It was great for families. It had a pool and our apartment had a kitchen – with a clothes-washer. That was great, because we were able to make our own meals or pack a lunch and take it. That really helps when you want to stay within your food budget and is also convenient. We took advantage of washing our clothes, too. Flying Ryan Air really limits what you can and cannot take with you. You definitely do not pack a week’s worth of clothes.

Being from southern Arizona, Matt and I are admittedly not experienced fish eaters. I mean, fish sticks from the freezer section doesn’t really count. We do eat Talapia, but again, that comes from the freezer section. While in Portugal, we ate some deee-licious fish. Real fish. Freshly caught fish. Fish with their heads, skin, and tail still on. Gavin sort of had a mini-freak out moment when he noticed his prawns still sporting heads and black eye-balls. But let me tell you . . . we were all pleasantly surprised at how yummy our fish was. I even learned how to eat a fish, from our handy-dandy Jeep & Walk tour guide. We sat down for lunch and he asked if I wanted him to dish out the fish. I felt a little foolish, not knowing what to do with it, but there is an method to avoiding the bones. I realized this long after I made of mess of my dinner the night before. As the song goes, “I ate a fish and I liked it.” Well, that may not be a song you’ve heard. But, I was singing it.

We also tried some Portuguese Coffee, which was a teeny tiny coffee. It was probably an espresso. And we tried some almond-bean cake/pie (Amendoa). That was so yummy.

On our first day out, we braved the wind and took a drive around the Sagres area. We stopped at Fortuleza a fort that overlooks the ocean. Wow! What an amazing view, on all sides. We even saw several brave fishermen fishing off the edge of these cliffs! In the wind! I’m not taking about a breeze here. 26 mph winds baby!

As I said, we had a Jeep & Walk tour one day. We made a little friend too, the driver’s little boy. We spotted a unique plant that grows everywhere there. Our guide said that it produces a shiny resin that protects the plant from the heat (and probably from the wind too). He also pointed out a dead cork tree. Portugal is known for it’s cork and we saw it being harvested while we were in the mountains. They strip off the bark and the bark regrows. So cool! We had some time to splash around at Pont Ruiva. That’s where Gavin was viciously attacked by an octopus! Just kidding. He did stick his hand in a tide pool to touch a sea anenome, when an octopus reached out from under a rock and grabbed him. Then, Gavin spent some time playing with it. Boy, that guy was really strong. He tried to pull Gavin’s leg in with three tentacles! Although that was entertaining, Tristan was the hero of the day. He saved a starfish from baking in the sun. What a good boy.

One day we took a day trip up to the mountains. We stopped at a mine museum (Parque de Mina). We fed some goats, visited a 500  year old farm house, and then toured the grounds. We even saw an old International farm tractor. I had to take a picture on behalf of my dad. There wasn’t really much as far as a mine. I guess there were some silver & copper mines, but not much more information than that.  After the museum, we headed up to Caldas Monchique. We walked around the cute villages and purchased some local honey. We did not, however, buy any of the “fire water” that is very similar to Crete’s Raki. No thanks. The temperature was much warmer in the mountains and we found ourselves temporarily out of the wind.

The next day we headed out to Beliche Beach. It was fairly protected from the wind, but not entirely. We had a steep climb down onto the beach. The beach was gawgeous! I just love the feel of smooth, beach sand under my feet. The boys went body surfing and had a blast. Gavin entertained himself, mostly by digging in the sand and watching the water destroy his work.

On our last day we were planning on going on a dolphin boat tour. However, the weather was not being very cooperative and our excursion was canceled. However, we were fortunate enough to see some dolphins at an aquarium in Albufeira. It’s called Zoo Marine and it’s best described as a mini-SeaWorld. The boys were so thrilled to see the dolphins. Honestly, my favorite show was the Birds of Prey. Who what have thunk it?

The Barker Family had another wonderful trip. A big thank you to everyone who watched our pets. We could not have gone without you.  Portugal is a hidden treasure and was a great travel destination.

 



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