Sunday, May 28, 2017


We had a couple of really hot days with temperatures in the mid 90's.  One such day we had decided to pay a visit to Guimarães, the birthplace of Portugal.  We toured the palace which was nice because it was cool inside, but we hadn't thought through our decision to see the castle.  The castle consists of it's four walls and some towers, so walking around inside really meant walking around outside in the heat.  Cathie and I decided that over the years we had seen enough castles, so no more castles, at least on this trip.  To further enjoy the heat, it took us a while to figure out where we had parked the car, so that added to the fun.




The next day we said goodby to José and Luisa before continuing further south.  There's a good chance that we'll see them again as José and I are Camino veterans and we talked about meeting in Santiago when we are there again.

We have been at our next B&B in the very small village of Pereira somewhere in the middle of Portugal for the past four days.  In choosing places to stay, it really came down to where my finger landed on the map.  Now what this place lacks in location is far outweighed by the B&B itself and our hosts.  As for the village, there is one street, a small chapel and a cafe, that we have yet to see open.  Henk and Myriam found this house two years ago and fell in love with it.  Built in the 30's it had been in the same family and vacant most of the time.  The home had been on the market since the 80's with no takers, primarily because of it's location.  Henk and Myriam spent the last two years restoring the house and upgrading plumbing and electrical systems.  They continue to work on the extensive garden, with it's grape trellis and several fountains.  For them it is a labor of love.







Each morning at breakfast, we discuss with Myriam things to see and do in the area and her suggestions have been right on.  We had heard before our arrival, that the Joanina Library on the campus of the Coimbra University was a must see.  Myriam agreed so we headed the 40 miles or so to the city.  Coimbra University is the oldest University in Portugal and there are many historic buildings thereabouts.  The Library is the most popular and timed tickets are sold for a visit.  Our luck was with us when we arrived at 10:30 we found a free parking spot on the campus one block away from the Library.  Our luck continued when the line for tickets was only three deep and our appointed ticket time was at 11:00.  Besides the library our ticket included the chapel, both of which were very beautiful.  When we left, the line for tickets snaked around the building and we had 3 people fighting over our parking spot when we left.





We then drove to the town of Luso, where there is a small national park.  First stopping for lunch at one of the many restaurants in the region that specialize in roast pig.  They eat a lot of pork in these here parts.  If you don't like pork, then it's Cod fish.  After lunch we paid a visit to the park, where, from the outside, you can see the Palace Hotel and it's garden.  Only guests allowed inside.  Another beautiful building.  One thing very prevalent in Portugal, is the blue tile on many of it's buildings.  Not only the Palace Hotel but Henk and Myriam's home is no exception.




 The next day, with the desire to stay out of the city, Myriam sent us to the mountains for a hike.  With Cathie feeling better, we figured it was time to give her hip a test drive.  Following Myriam's, instructions, we took the long slow way on narrow mountains roads, through numerous perched villages clinging to the hillsides, ending up in Piódão.  This beautiful small village made of the native stone and slate, clings precariously to the steep mountainside  overlooking a deep canyon.  The sides of the canyon have been terraced for farming for centuries and to this day remain in families who continue to plant crops on some of them.  






We took a hike down one side of the canyon and back up the other.  About 6 miles in length, it was just right for Cathie to try our her hip.  Although tired by the time that we climbed back up, Cathie said she was pain free.  We ended the day with a late lunch, early dinner, in the town square.  On our last day, Myriam sent us to another mountain top, again with steep narrow winding one lane roads.  A beautiful end to another wonderful B&B stay.



Tomorrow we continue south just past Lisbon, where we have rented an apartment on the beach.  Perhaps we will find something besides pork and cod to eat.

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