Settled for Christmas 23/12

With a brief stop off in Alcobaca to have a look at the Monastery (which came with its own knight ….. not quite sure what he was doing hanging around outside, but think he may have lost his horse)

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we moved back to the coast aiming to stay in a coastal town called Nazare. Unfortunately the Aire was 6km outside the town and although the location was stunning, if not a little windy, it was part of a restaurant which only allowed 24 hours stay. Wanting to find something for slightly longer we decided to bypass Nazare and pushed on to Salir do Porto which sits on one side of a cove opposite Sao Martinho do Porto. Evidently neither Keith or I can read, as the last comment associated with this Aire mentioned that it was now closed ….. heh ho, near where the Aire used to be was a quiet car park with beautiful views out into the Cove and a 50ft sand dune up the side, so we decided that we would spend the night there. A little naïve, we hadn’t really appreciated why the 50m sand dune was where it was until the wind got up ….. we were lucky to still have four tyres in the same place in the morning 🙂

Waking to a slightly calmer day, we set off for a walk along the beach path around the cove to Sao Martinho do Porto to check out its suitability for Christmas and go to the market to stock up on fruit, veg and fish. The market was good with lots of small local producers and whilst purchasing some clementine’s and apples from one, we were offered an odd looking red fruit called ‘Tamarillo’. The chap on the stall called it a ‘Japanese Tomato’ but I can’t find any association with a tomato on the internet – it tastes like a slightly sour passion fruit and is worth a try if you come across them. They are loaded with Vitamins and Iron and rather tasty mixed in with yoghurt and fruit and muesli for breakfast 🙂

Whilst in the market we were ‘persuaded’ to buy a rather large whole Sea Bream by a rather over zealous lady fishmonger with not very many teeth (not sure that is relevant, but I am not convinced you could call her a fishmonger either, although to be fair to her she did have a proper stall). She managed to filet most of the fish for us (a few bones add flavour apparently) and before we parted ways, proceeded to give us both two kisses on the cheeks whilst trying to throw some free sardines in the bag to wish us well over the festive period.

Having found a ‘potential’ campsite for Christmas 20 meters from the beach, we packed up the motorhome and headed south to Foz do Arelho which is set between the sea and a lake, where the sea feeds the lake at high tide.

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The wind was blowing a hooley again and there were lots of kite surfers taking advantage of the weather – the first we have seen since we arrived in Portugal. The Aire was privately owned (3 euros a night), set about 500m down the side of the lake rather than on the sea front so we were a little more protected from the wind. It was a big gravelly car park with good facilities and stunning views.

We woke in the morning to a low mist …

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And watched the sun go down late afternoon

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Another idyllic location, but they said that we couldn’t have a bar b q – so that helped make the decision to go back to Sao Martinho do Porto for Christmas, but meanwhile we decided to spend three nights here.

On Sunday we headed to a restaurant ‘O Tavola’ to try some of the local cuisine. For starters we tried some Morcilla (Black Pudding) with pickled cauliflower and some local cheese – both of which were delicious. For main we shared a local speciality which was a pork and seafood stew cooked in a metal wok like contraption with a lid connected to the bottom part. The sauce was rich and full of flavour, one of the best that we have had in a long time.

To help burn off the calories we had eaten the day before we decided to venture out on the bikes all the way round to the other side of the lake to a village called ‘Bom Suceso’. Looking out the window from the motorhome, I would say the village was about ½ km across the lake….. 22.5km (and rather a lot of hills) later we arrived, had a coffee, ate our sandwiches and opted for the slightly less hilly route (although equally as far) on the way home. It was very pretty, but as we haven’t been out on the bikes for a while there are a few aches and pains today.

So, after a quick visit to the local butchers in town to stock up for Christmas we wondered back up the coast to Sao Martinho do Porto to settle in to the campsite (Parque de Campismo Baia Azul – 13,90 euro per night inc. electricity) and watch the waves roll in whilst we enjoyed our first bar b q of the next three days 🙂

For those of you who celebrate it, have a fantastic Christmas.

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