[ENGLAND – PORTUGAL EXCHANGE 2012 — DAY 17]
Introduction: Out of all the days this actually felt the most like my family holidays and actually is something me and family have always do a lot of on holiday abroad. It was a Sunday so both Laura’s Mum and Grandmother were free all day so we drove up into the hills and further down the coast into a National Park called Serra da Arrabida [Wikipedia link], stopping several times on the way. We also called by Laura’s Aunt’s house and had a failed attempt at visiting the castle with Laura’s Goddaughter. On the way home we stopped a couple times on a search for cider, which too was unsuccessful and for the evening we went down to the cafe.
Breakfast and finally leaving
This was a very early start for at least. We got up at about 8am. I think I was actually the first up first. We had breakfast and Laura’s Mum was rushing around because we were leaving a little later than she hoped. She was literally acting as tour guide all day, we just followed and Laura translated.
A little walk by the sea
We drove a little down the coast and at a point which seemed to be quite random Laura’s Mum pulled the car over. There was a little path heading into the bushes which she walked down. We were all quite sceptical of whether this would lead anywhere. She did a dummy run and gestured it was OK. It came out to a headland looking over the sea and some country side with the cliffs. We followed it around further and came out near a cliff edge. She pointed towards a long beach stretching down the coast. It went on for miles and apparently stretched as far as the Algarve. She also said we should be quiet and just listen to the sea as it was calming. It was so quiet with nobody around that the sea was all you could hear.
The path Laura’s Mum took us down, as you can see with she led the way
Me at the top of this hill
Me and Laura 🙂
Looking across the other side
Laura’s Mum at the end of the path we walked down to
More photos from this little walk here
Sightseeing from the car
We continued down the road and I was busy sightseeing through the windows. There were views on both sides, one towards the coast and other towards a valley and in land. We stopped several times for photos. They weren’t proper viewing spots and I’m unsure how many tourist actually came down this way.
Us one at one of our little view spots on the way
Balancing on the beam lol
Me sitting with the view of down the valley behind
Looking down to the sea
More photos take from both in the car and at our stops on the way here
Coffee in Azeitão
We stopped for coffee in a little town called Azeitão. We parked just outside the main town next to a line vineyard. This area seemed to be famous for wines and especially vineyards and companies which have been running for years. We walked down the main street past a fountain and a church and continued down the street. We even passed one of these old wine makers on their way. We stopped in a cafe further down the main street. There were so many cakes and pastries! I had no idea what to try and really wanted to try something traditional. Laura chose for me.
When we got back to the car, Laura’s Mum was talking about a very old wine producer which you could visit and was open to the public. We did call by it as it on way, however the gates were closed. They spoke to the security guy at the gate who informed us that it was closed on Sundays, so we didn’t really chose the best day to come.
The street we walked down (with old wine producers on the left, close)
The Coffee shop which we went to
Coffee and Pastries
The fountain in the main street
The wine manufactures which were closed as it was a Sunday
More photos from Azeitão here
It wasn’t too long until we stopped again. This time we stopped at a Monastery. I was a little confused at first as outside was a lot of people on motorbikes and what seemed to be a strange looking market place but this was just outside the Monastery and after walking around the corner it was clear where we going. The monastery I believe is called Santuário de Nossa Senhora do Cabo Espichels. It wasn’t too open but there were a lot of signs (including in English) which helped. We could also go into the church at the Monastery, although we couldn’t take any photos. Outside reminded me a lot of Portland Bill really as it was right on the cliff edge.
Looking down the Monastery
The front of the church
Looking back down from the church
Looking an archway to the sea (shows how close it is from the cliff face)
View down the coast from next to the Monastery
More photos from the Monastery here
Lunch in Sesimbra
We continued further down the road again and was close to lunch time. We went into one of the seaside towns for lunch. We had to call by the supermarket on the way because although we bought water Laura’s Mum and Grandmother hadn’t. Then in a little restaurant we ordered sardines. I have had this once in the past but I’m sure it became very obvious I wasn’t very use to it. Also although I loved sardines as the taste I seem to have a phobia of eyes. I like meat but if it still looks like the animal even with its eye still there I can’t cope. My parents are use to this like when ordering prawns which are not already cut up I always have to get someone like my Mum or brother to sort them out for me. In the end Laura’s Mum had to treat me like a little child and cut them up for me, I actually much preferred this as I found it more manageable.
After lunch we walked down to the beach, which was actually only about 50m from the restaurant and could basically see it where we were sat. As well as loads of people on the beach there were a lot of fresh fish shops. Again proper fresh fish in that they weren’t even filleted. There was also types of fish which I had never seen before. After a little more wondering we returned to the car and back on the road which we were on before.
The restaurant we went to
I thought the coffee was a little too small for more liking lol
The fresh fish being sold
More photos from the town here
Laura’s Aunt’s house and the unsuccessful trip to the castle
From here we drove to Laura’s Aunt’s house and I feel I was just starting to get use to their greetings. Laura’s Goddaughter was also there although she seemed quite nervy of me at first. I’m still getting my head around a Goddaughter and not even sure if we have in the Church of England, although I’m not christened so perhaps we do. She stilled tried speaking to me in Portuguese although the only reply I could give was to nod and smile. We had tea and watched Matilda as it was on TV, although I’m sure parts didn’t quite translate too well.
The plan was to go to a castle not too far away. We went taking Laura’s Goddaughter with us. The issue was there was a festival on and thus the castle was closed for the day. In the end we drove around a bit, got lost and finally got back later with nothing achieved. Although we had been teaching Laura’s Goddaughter more English in the car, lol.
The hunt for cider
After Laura’s Mum had heard I liked cider, she wanted to see if she could find any. We went to 2 different supermarkets and still hadn’t found any. In the second she even asked and had no success. Although one actually did have a sign for Strongbow but seemed to be out of stock. They said they might get some in on another day.
Arriving at the first supermarket
Inside the Supermarket
The shopping the second visit involved
Searching the beer and wine aisles for the cider
The river at night and Laura is officially lingual
In the evening we walked down to the cafe. This was because Laura needed to speak to the owners about her work. I did have the choice of this or the park, but seeing how I wouldn’t have my translator there and I spoke no Portuguese at all this might have been a little too difficult. While Laura was chatting I disappeared off for a bit to walk down the river and admire it in the dark. It looked even more pretty all lit up.
When I got back I got chatting to the owner’s 2 sons. They actually spoke English, although it did seem to me at least to be a little limited. I hope that this proved too that how good Laura’s English was. She kept saying she had ‘bad English’ and me and my family laughed at this as it is seriously very good! I actually decided earlier she was officially bi-lingual at her Aunt’s house as I was talking with a pen in my mouth and she still understood every word even though it was all very muffled. This time these 2 brother’s kept getting stuck and asked Laura to translate parts and without hesitating did so straight away!
The cafe at night
Looking across the river in the dark
Looking down the river (towards the south)
Looking down the river (towards the north)