I completely forgot to mention our tracking of our budget in last week’s post. As of 10 June we are spending $277 per day which is not too far off our target but still a little over ($250 is the golden number) but this will likely come down when we head over to Morocco to live there throughout July and possibly August (August TBC). But this is great news as it means our money is tracking well at our half way point in our round the world journey. Woohoo!
It’s another stinking hot day. We have discovered, after family and friends were sending us messages to check in that we’re okay, that there has been an out of control bush fire up in the central region of Portugal. The fires are only an hour away from Lisbon, but we are oblivious to the tragedy that is unfolding down here by the coast. The fire continues to be out of control for many days.
Amazingly our country train returning from Porto late Saturday afternoon passes nearby to the affected area of Pedrógão Grande Forest fires which has burnt 30,000 hectares of forest – that’s three times larger than the capital of Lisbon. One of the issues has been the large amount of pine trees and non-native eucalypts. The blue gum now covers about 7% of the land in Portugal – first imported from Australia in 18th Century to Europe. This is what has caused the fire to be this astonishing levels of out of control. When you’re in a foreign country and we Portuguese is not our native language it’s often second hand news to us as to what’s happening in and around us. Read this interesting Monthly article about the Eucalypt invasion of Portugal.
So we are back from our Porto visit and safe from the prevailing bushfire.
After the big three days of exploring the northern and second largest city of Porto, today is a relaxing day. Catching up with some school work, walking down to the beach, taking a swim. It’s tough I realise! We’re also trying to get some relief from the extreme hot weather conditions too. It’s stifling inside and out, even with all our apartment windows and front door wide open. There’s just no breeze. It makes it hard to sleep, tough just getting to sleep. We can’t leave the windows open during the night because all the windows are fitted with an external aluminium shutter screen, so keeping it open would mean direct sunlight very early. We manage, and are just grateful that we are not having to evacuate like the many other Portuguese have done up north.
On another note, Charlie has been organising her end of year schoolies trip. Even though she’s in Year 11 this year, the conversation was started a couple of weeks back with her friends back at home to start working out where they’d like to go and celebrate the end of Year 12 in 2018. It’s been interesting to be an observer and listen to what Charlie is sharing about where the girls want to go for their schoolies celebrations. Many are keen to travel to Australia’s northern beaches to the popular Gold Coast but it’s also ridiculously ultra-expensive with one week’s of accommodation coming in at a hefty $600. That’s CRAZY! When everything is included such as return airfares, food and drink money plus spending money it accumulates to around A$2,000. I know where my money would not be going!
But Steve and I have just listened to Charlie’s updates on what everyone wanted to do and what she really wanted to do. She really wasn’t overly keen on the idea of going to the Gold Coast but nonetheless wanted to be with her friends. Her preferred destination was overseas, like Bali in Indonesia, and she suggested this to the group. Some of the girls were telling Charlie their parents wouldn’t let them go, they don’t have a passport, while others said they didn’t want to die in Bali! I find it amazing how fearful some of these young people actually are and it’s such a pity that they are ill-informed about traveling overseas due to the fear of terrorism or something might go wrong. Is it due to the fact that they are growing up in the age of terrorist attacks being screened on the news 24/7 by our overtly terrorist fear mongering media? Or are they sheltered from the big real world of travel and have taken on more of their parent’s – older generation – perception? Either way, Charlie found one other girl keen to push the boundaries of their schoolies week destination and step out of the relative comfort by celebrating in a foreign country.
So after a couple of tensions within the group, Charlie is heading to Bali with six girlfriends at the end of Year 12 next year. And they are doing this for half the accommodation price of the Gold Coast which comes with a pool and they’ll be able to stay an extra week for the same price. I’m sure they’re going to have a wonderful time in Bali for two weeks which is the same cost as one on the Gold Coast. Makes more sense to me! She’s started saving already and is allocating a portion of the travel pocket money we give the girls to go directly into her bank account.
This afternoon I do a catch up listen to the third instalment of my Global Degree Inspiration Series course and go into the fourth session live straight after. It’s all about Wealth tonight and the myriad of ways we can create an online income stream and the different perspective people have about defines wealth – money, time, health, no regrets, opportunity, education. Most of the other participants in this series are a lot younger than me, so they’re a generation behind and I find their perspective refreshing. I really like how they’re keen to create more balance in their lives and not take after our generation of trading an awesome income for all your precious time. None are keen to completely give up their time to work for someone else even if the income is a large one. They’d prefer to have quality time and less money, but have a greater amount of flexibility with their time for experiences, travel and following other income streams of their own especially online. I get it. It’s a shift in the way people view what’s important and what’s not. Comes down to values and priorities I guess. I’m so inspired by this course as well as the people in it.
Pop the bubbly as today marks our HALF WAY POINT in our world trip. I really can’t fathom how quickly time has flown by – 6 months already – and continues to fly. After departing on 19 December 2016 direct to Langkawi Island in Malaysia, then onto exploring incredible India, then the glorious Andalusian region of southern Spain and now currently on the rugged surfing coast of Portugal. Next is Morocco to a place called Berrechid about 40km our of Casablanca where we are staying at the British Language Academy where we have the opportunity to volunteer. Ours is slow and longer term travel which means we may not get to tick too many countries off the bucket list (that is if we had one) but on the other hand we do immerse ourselves in another place and culture and get to know the locals. This is what we love about this style of travel and it’s always been our priority to experience slower and longer term travel on this trip.
The girls are all very happy today. For them this half way point represents the downhill slope. As Billie says, “For the first time we have less days until home!” She’s actually got a big smile on her face and is nearly jumping out of her skin. I feel a tad sad that she is actually so happy about being closer to home than not. But I do understand she really wants to be back with her friends. Girls are like that. All these teens want are their friends. If only we could take a friend each along for the ride, we’d be right!
For me being at the half way point is a slap of reality. Time stands still for no one. It’s going fast for me but slow for the girls. Must be an age thing. Ash is also very content that we have passed the “hump” day in the 2017 year and I’m sure she’s dreaming of home most of the day too. Charlie and Dacey are also missing their friends, and with four girls they have a tendency to kind of gang up on the two parent’s viewpoint. But the reality is they are all social butterflies, and being away for an entire year is both a wonderfully open and exhilarating experience, but at the same time it’s also the complete opposite without friends to share their life with in person.
Lately it’s been a bit of slog. I think due to the hot and stifling conditions we are living through here in Lisbon, the girls have started to not be motivated or interested in doing very much at all. It’s becoming a battle ground getting them out for a simple walk, or a swim in the ocean. All I hear is, “Can’t be bothered”, “You can’t make me”, “It’s too hot for the beach”. They’d prefer to stay inside and be slugs. It also feels as if Ash is always completing her school work but it takes all day. She procrastinates a lot and then gets interrupted by her iPhone and socialising with friends online. That’s not new news, but I often wonder why she’s not out there enjoying a Portuguese European summer. She’s not going in the water at all, except if she’s surfing in a wetsuit. Oh the joys of parenting teenagers while traveling the world!
At the same time, our third daughter Billie is definitely transforming into a teen. She’s refuses to get out of bed, always needing to sleep more and more and prefers to stay out of family activities. However, the one thing I am overjoyed about is Billie is now reading novels one after the other. She’s a machine and has consumed three books in three weeks. That’s completely unheard of in my mix of kids. So that’s a positive note to help balance out my complaints.
At times Steve and I are completely at a loss as to how to motivate our four girls. When to leave them at home while we go out exploring or exercising. It’s hard to find the balance when we are constantly living with each other 24/7. But I received some great advice from a fellow travelling mum who suggested to let teens stay in if they want to, and yes they miss out on certain things we’re doing or seeing, but that’s how it rolls travelling with teens. I do realise that when we want to do something together – like surfing or another activity they’re usually good at getting out with us all and participating fully. So I am grateful for that.
We’re all keen to celebrate the half way point or “hump” day. We head out to Carcavelos Beach for dinner at our favourite café – Triana da Barra – then we have a swim at Carcavelos Beach and play a game of tennis on beach at dusk. It’s much cooler too which is such a welcome and pleasant change. We get to know the waiter there too called Luis. He’s from Brazil who has previously travelled and lived in Australia for a duration of two years. He is such a lovely genuine guy who also just loves Australia. He tells us we are very lucky. We know. The more you travel the more you appreciate home and the simple yet complex fact of being born in a country that allows us to travel the world. Now Luis is working here at the café and tells us it’s really busy now with school holidays starting. Bring on tourism!
On the beach tonight, we all sit down on the white sand and chat about the highlights of the trip so far and the lowlights. There are plenty of both but right now everyone is happy and smiling and connected. The girls all agree hands down that to date Buldana was the hardest part of the journey. I agree. The highlights have been when family members have come overseas to visit and travel with us. That has been great and special. We have also just found out that my brother Jarrod is travelling over to Morocco to spend some time with us before he heads over to Madrid, Spain to catch up with a Spanish friend. He arrives mid-July into Casablanca and we’re all looking forward to seeing him there.
On another note today I receive an email from the exams officer at Distance Education Centre Victoria informing me that they urgently need to know where Charlie is going to sit her Health & Human Development Year 12 VCE exam in November. We had been planning on Steve and Charlie flying out of Bali where we will be at that time of the year to Perth where we have friends and where they can stay for a week, but unfortunately we don’t qualify for interstate or international sitting of Victorian exams as travellers.
So…we will now return to Melbourne for one week in November so Charlie can study and sit her Year 12 exam at Gisborne Secondary College and then we’ll return to Bali and finish off our year. There’s no other way to do it, but it works out for Charlie and Ash (who is coming along for the ride) as they will be able to attend a close girlfriend’s 18th birthday party! Funny how things work out.
This morning Steve and I sit and chat about starting an online business. We’ve been discussing this for a while now, and seeing that we are away travelling the world and doing what we so love to do we though it’s the best time to jump in and create something. We’re not sure of when it will start or how to make the time to get it off the ground, but we’re up for the challenge (lol).
We do some general planning for the online business called Itching2Travel.com. It’s going to be a travel resource for other like-minded itching-to-travel-the-world families. A travel resource for parents who really want to travel the world with their children as a family slower and longer term. Because we want other families to experience the amazing world we live in together, and give their children an amazing gift that travel is – appreciating diversity, understanding culture and knowing the world is a happy and amazing place. The connection created by each member of the family on the backpacking road is the reward along with the treasured memories from experiences shared together like surfing, bike riding, and meeting people all over the world. So watch this space for more updates on when we have something to show you all. It’s very exciting! Note – this does not make our travel blog Six Backpacks redundant. The Six Backpacks blog will keep on going on as it’s our personal travel journal of all the trips we’ve taken together as a family that date all the way back to 2012. Itching2Travel will be our business in assisting other families making travel happen!
After our little planning session, Steve and Charlie travel to Lisbon via train to get a new pin number for Charlie’s Vodafone sim (as she lost the first one) and purchase new runners for her. They return in the afternoon and Steve, Billie (she has been made to come to the beach and is now not talking to Steve), Dacey and me head back down to the beach for a dip, have a snorkel and enjoy a drink at our favourite café. Billie is very annoyed at Steve for making her get out of the apartment today and down to the beach. She doesn’t come into the water, and instead lies on the beach towel with her iPhone reading her book but she’s not at all keen to do anything with anyone. Not even Dacey. Which makes Dacey mad. She’s not budging out of her dark mood even after a cola at the cafe, so she and Dacey return to the apartment to help get dinner ready while Steve and I stay back and order another drink and enjoy a cheese platter. It’s been a tough few days with the girls who are all – except Charlie – pushing back against the travel ethos of getting out and enjoying life! Go figure…
Anyway, we relish the delicious platter – an assortment of cubed cheeses drizzled with sweet honey and sprinkled with a handful of pine nuts served with a tasty red jelly and slices of warm crusty bread accompanied by a beer and Sangria overflowing with fresh fruit and spices. Oh it was so nice and it just takes the edge off our teen dramas.
Again tonight it’s way too hot to sleep properly in our Airbnb apartment and I find myself up at 1.30am sitting out in the lounge trying to feel the coolness of the night air. I stay there for half an hour and head back to bed to an annoying mosquito buzzing around my head and a husband that keeps rolling onto his back and snoring. Aghhh!!!
Although none of us slept well last night, we are up and something has shifted in the mood of the teens. They’re happy to get up and come down for a walk to the beach. I think one of the reasons is that the weather has changed and a cooler breeze and overcast sky is tempting them out of the apartment.
Steve and Charlie leave earlier to run along the beach before the tide starts creeping in, and we follow 10 minutes later. It’s such a relief for a cooler day and it’s broken the back of teen reluctance. All except one. We leave Billie lazing in bed, but she arrives to our favourite café on her own and sits with us happily enjoying the cool ocean breeze.
Steve and I enjoy a day together without the kids. We take a walk to the beach, a swim and then lunch at a café near the fort Sao Juliao da Barra. The kids stay back at the apartment, sending us messages of them dancing in the lounge room! Crazy kids.
The fort that juts out at the end of Carcavelos Beach is impressive and was considered to be the Guard of the Kingdom that was built in the XVI Century (16th) in the reign of d. Joao III as the largest fortification of Portugal. The 1755 earthquake destroyed the lighthouse which was later rebuilt and increased by another six metres. Today this fort remains the largest and most complete military defence complex in Portugal. And interestingly, the fort is used as the official residence of the State Minister for National Defence. Walking past the closed gates, it does appear to have a lovely garden too.
One of the nice parts of our date day together was finally having a chat with the owners of the café. The two brothers, who are twins, have been operating this little café on the Atlantic Ocean foreshore since 1995. They have 9 staff working throughout the year and 11 on during the peak summer months. They’re open all year round except for 3-4 weeks in winter. But they love it. We had a lovely conversation with Pedro who shared that he had travelled to Australia in 1998 from the north of Cairns to the south in Tasmania, and told us how much he loved the diversity of our country.
He also shared about how he claimed the land that the café currently sits on as it was previously a dump site that no one really wanted. There are framed photos inside the café on the wall showing the dumpsite and a rugged landscape of really nothing. He told the government officer of the area that he would clean it up if they would allow him and his brother to build a café on the site. They were lucky that the government official liked what they had done to clean up the site and look after it. And so they were allowed to build their cafe. It’s a lovely story and now says how much he loves his café work, and that he’d never sell it. They don’t own the land, it’s called a concession where they get to occupy the site, but they can sell the business.
We sit and enjoy the couple time, and watch a yogi in the distance perform some amazing poses on the rocks with the magnificent Atlantic Ocean as a backdrop. I’m mesmerised by this sight, and watch the poses for nearly an hour.
Tonight Callum from England arrives to Portugal and will stay with us for four nights. Everyone is quite excited to be welcoming a new person into our Portuguese household, especially another teenager. When e were in Malaga, Spain Charlie and Billie travelled to England for a weekend and visited Callum and his family in Brighton. So now Callum gets to spend some time with us in Portugal, a country he hasn’t travelled to before. Our family met Callum and his family while travelling through Vietnam at the Sunflower Hotel in 2012. We kept in contact with them, and it’s been lovely being able to catch up with Callum after five years.
As Steve and I are getting ready to depart the beach and end our date day together so Steve and Charlie can catch the train into Lisbon then onto the airport to meet Callum, Callum sends us a Messenger note telling us that his plane has been delayed by two hours at Gatwick Airport. So we are no longer needing to rush off instantly, so we stop off at the supermarket on the way home and buy ingredients for the girls to make homemade pizzas. We leave it to the girls to make their dinner, while we get ready to depart again.
Steve’s prescription sunglasses are ready for collection in Lisbon and the shop closes at 7.30pm. So Steve and I catch the train into Lisbon together collect his glasses and take a closer look at the lift of Lisbon called the Santa Justa Lift that climbs 45m up in between buildings. The lift was opened in 1902 inside a gothic looking tower that’s main purpose was to provide easy transport between Baixa and Bairra Alto Districts. The structure is an amazing sight to see up close and great icon to photograph. Unfortunately getting to take a ride on the lift is a matter of waiting your turn. There are huge lines, and today just wasn’t the day for this. So we use our able legs and walk up the steep hill to Bairro Alto.
We then wander around walking up the steep slopes that are Lisbon’s hills taking many steps to explore the backstreets in and around the restaurant-clubbing area of Bairro Alto for an hour before meeting the girls in Lisbon. We are back in the maze of narrow cobbled streets, with character cafes and bars on ground floor and above apartments with washing hanging out of windows to dry. I don’t think we could ever tire of exploring this capital city. It’s one of the better places to get lost and just keep exploring until you find yourself.
We walk down to the foreshore, it’s peak hour traffic in Lisbon. We grab a bite to eat on the Tagus River foreshore but it was terrible tasting food – black pig in a sandwich that has way too much salted gravy slapped into it.
Charlie, Ash and Dacey catch a later train into Lisbon and meet up with Steve and me at Casa de Sodre railway station and they head to the airport line together to collect Callum. I return home via train by myself to hang out with Billie in the apartment. It’s to be a late night for the train travellers, as they walk in the door with Callum at 12.45am. It’s great seeing Callum again, he’s so tall and grown up now. It’s hi and then it’s off to bed. Poor Callum has been up since 4am! Good night.
We had planned on taking our final surf lesson this morning with Callum, but unfortunately there is no swell and therefore no waves down at Carcavelos. We will look at surfing sometime over the weekend or Monday before he heads off back to England. Our surfy friends at the school think that the best place to have our final surf lesson will be at another location – Guincho beach near the most western point in Portugal. But in the meantime it’s down to the beach for a run – Steve, Charlie and Callum are running along the beach, while Dacey and I follow for a walk. With a 1.5km long stretch of beach at Carcavelos, it’s amazing to see the European beach goers sitting on the rocks that are revealed when the tide is out.
After the walk and run, the kids jump into the water and take a swim as I sit and enjoy a café latte. I have finally got my favourite café to make a coffee how I like it. A little bit of my heaven. The kids get back all salty wet and order smoothie juices at the café and we sit there and plan out the rest of our day together.
A Visit to Belem
We take the train to the township of Belem this afternoon. Belem is the Portuguese word for Bethlehem. There are quite a few things to see in Belem:
- Monument to the Discoveries
A 52m concrete slab that was erected in 1960 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Henry the Navigator. It’s a beautiful and intriguing looking white monument that is sculpted as a ship’s prow with figures of people looking to the front of the ship as if looking out to sea. It’s along the Tagus river and is just near to Belem station. We decided not to pay the entry fee to the top of the lookout which was 5 euros each plus kids’ prices. A marina is also located nearby and we watched a sailing boat being launched from the dock.
Opposite this monument is Calcada Square which is a large area dedicated to showing all of the Portuguese exploring routes and countries and the dates in the Age of Discovery. Callum walks nine steps from England to Australia to prove the point its not all that far away!
- Jeronimos Monastery
A monastery originally built to support pilgrims who travelled in the region by Henry the Navigator. It’s an eye catching piece of architecture and inside the church of the monastery is Vasco da Gama’s tomb and final resting place. Vasco da Gama died in Kochi, India on his third voyage from malaria and his remains were returned to Portugal in 1539.
- Casa dos Pasteis de Belem
On the main street of Belem where rows of 160-year old buildings line the street, is a shop that sells authentic Portuguese tarts called Pasteis de Belem. I know them – the tarts – well. A visit to Belem is not complete without a visit here and a sampling of their perfectly traditional recipe for the tarts. Apparently it is here where the first Pasteis de Belem were baked, and to this day only five master pastry chefs know the secret and original recipe.
Let’s just say they were definitely the best Portuguese tarts I’ve tasted in the whole time we’ve been in Portugal – and I have tasted quite a few of the pastries in various cafes from Lisbon to the Algarve to Porto. So we order two platefuls of the tarts – two each – and just have to go back for another one each! They’re so warm and delicious no wonder 10,000 pastries are sold here each day – and the line for the take away streams outside proves this fact.
- Tower of Belem
We walk along the foreshore again and down to the Tower of Belem. It stands 30m tall with the Tagus River lapping up at its old stone base. The tower was opened in 1519 and was constructed as a military outpost to protect the city against pirates and attacks coming up the Tagus river mouth from the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a gorgeous looking tower and a peaceful place to sit and just watch the world go by.
After enjoying our sightseeing afternoon in Belem, we walk down to Alges railway station and catch a train back to Carcavelos.
That night we enjoy a meal of salmon and chicken with a variety of homemade salads and have a night in watching The Conjuring. That’s a scary movie. The unfortunate thing is that we watch the scary movie to its end and Dacey has trouble turning off and getting to sleep plus it’s back to being very hot and stuffy in their bedrooms. I am still tossing and turning in bed myself at 3am and so is she. She’s getting frustrated that she can’t fall asleep. So I open up her blind and window and let the cool air come inside the room and get her to listen to her audio book Awful Aunty in an attempt to get her to switch off and get some sleep. It works and miraculously she tells me she’s finished her audiobook! Yeah right…
The alarm rings out at 8am. How awful. It’s time to lift my heavy head off the pillow as it’s a day of adventure. We are catching a train further down the coast to the end of the Cascais train line to Cascais Central Railway Station where we are getting picked up by our mountain bike riding tour guide Arlindo.
Guincho Adventours is all about doing what it’s name suggest – adventurous and fun things in Guincho such as mountain bike riding and sightseeing along the rugged coastline of Portugal. It costs us 40 euros each for a three-hour session, and although it tips our backpacking budget literally upside down for the day’s expenditure, it’s going to be one of those experiences that is totally worth it.
Arlindo the owner and our guide collects us at 9.20am from the front area of Cascais Central railway station in his Guincho Adentours branded van. We pile in and discover Arlindo is a friendly, informative and overall a lovely person to have a chat with about Portugal and being out and enjoying the great outdoors. It takes us about 12 minutes to drive to the top of the mountain where we will be starting our mountain bike ride. The plan was to get out and about with the kids but going down the mountain and not up it! Plus, the scenery along the way I have heard and read is quite something.
We start on the mountain where Santuario da Peninha is located. The castle shaped palace in romantic revivalist style was built in 1918 but inside is closed to the public. The chapel located near to it dates back to the 18th Century and the story of a hermit sought refuge there. Apparently the pulpit includes inscriptions from pilgrims. However, the external terraces can be explored and we explore it like kids in a candy shop. Walking up the external stairs and over craggy limestone boulders that dot the Serra da Sintra National Park landscape.
It’s very high up, with a spread of green forests surrounding this overgrown and character filled sanctuary and a line of coastline going all the way to Lisbon. When we arrive, we walk up to the Peninha at 477m with camera in hand and look out at the coastline and beyond. This is an amazingly peaceful place and I could imagine a group of monks meditating out on the terrace. In fact, this place reminds me of the Nepalese buildings I’ve seen online or in magazines – it’s painted a glorious rich egg yolk colour and sits solidly on top of a mountain peak.
We wander back down to where our bikes are getting sorted and ready for the ride – tyres pumped up, seats up or down, and we all take a trial ride around the car park getting used to the gear system operating properly. We are ready to depart on our journey but first we get a group shot on our bikes with Callum and then we’re off down the wide and initially comfortable track riding through an amazing canopy of forest. Then we’re greeted with a downhill battle of narrow loose stoned pathway. Some of us had to get off and walk – I fell into a ditch and came off (I think Charlie has it recorded on her GoPro…great), but all okay.
Steve also came off going uphill (lol) when one of the girls stopped in front of him and he lost balance. Dacey received quite a few scratches on her calf, and Callum got the chain of his bike completely stuck when we were in the middle of nowhere. This required Arlindo to remove the wheel completely and pull the chain out. Overall the journey was rugged, fun, adventuresome and we’re so happy we did this amazing tour. Thank you Guincho Adventours!
The scenery of course was spectacular. I kept stopping my bike to take photos of the passing scenery and kept my camera around my neck and shoulder. Since the pathways were so rugged which made it dangerous to take photos while riding – I wasn’t taking a leisurely ride like in Seville. Two young Portuguese boys assisted and rode with us – 18-year old Alex and 16-year old Rog. They were lovely kids and it was nice for our bunch of teenagers to have a chat with some people their own ages for a change.
Can you see the fisherman in the picture above – he’s on the rocky area wearing white.
There was a point where we were going down vertical drops, and at other times we were walking our mountain bikes along the cliff edge. It’s a great opportunity to do something physically challenging with the kids. I’m impressed how well everyone did at getting through some of the more rugged terrain and we finished up at 1pm with sore everything and hungry tummies!
We helped Arlindo put all the bikes away in his workshop. His workshop was certainly something else. He had quad bikes, motorbikes and so many tools. It was amazingly disorganised but so interesting to look into world I know little about. Once all the bikes were away, he drove us back into the Cascais township where he said goodbye to us and where we looked to have some lunch. We ended up eating at a restaurant recommended by Arlindo – Dom Prego – which overlooked a small beach below.
The chatty and charismatic waiter at Dom Prego spoke very good English served seven little blue tubs of something white yet hard in the middle of the table. Dacey and Billie grabbed one each and started sniffing it. The waiter returned saying, “no no no that’s not how you do it!” It did look like curdled milk.
But in fact it was a speciality of this restaurant – fresh cheese. The outspoken waiter said, “you don’t do it that way, you don’t lick it!” Dacey replied, “I didn’t like it – I’m sniffing it!” It was a funny moment with some interesting banter between an 11-year old and an outspoken and funny waiter. The waiter commenced walking Dacey through how to prepare and eat this little Portuguese starter called Fresh Cheese.
We placed the tub upside down on the plate and squeezed the sides until it came out of its little blue mould. The waiter then told Dacey to slice the cheese and then sprinkle some salt and pepper over it and then to eat it with warm bread. It was delightfully tasty. He brought over some olive oil and dried oregano as an alternative to sprinkle over the fresh cheese. Just divine.
We all ordered a today’s special off the menu and enjoyed filling our stomachs and just relaxing after the big mountain ride. Next we walked down to the little beach cove – it must be the smallest beach I’ve ever been to. Callum, Charlie and Dacey jump into the water and swim to the rock area where other swimmers are jumping into the ocean. Ash and Billie take it easy on the sand. It’s a relaxing and enjoyable afternoon. The kids discover a series of connected inflatable devices around the corner of the cove sitting in the ocean and swim over and enjoy 40 minutes of fun on them for 5 euros. Steve and I take a dip and then head to the café area on the small beach to sit and enjoy a wine and beer. The kids reappear – Billie didn’t bring her bathers but decided to jump in when she heard about the inflatable playground. So now she’s dripping wet and is going to be heading home on the train wearing damp t-shirt and shorts. Oh well…
My Global Degree Inspiration Series session #5 is tonight. It’s my second last session and it’s about vision. I’m dog tired from only having four hours sleep last night plus a big day out in Cascais riding mountain bikes up and down the tracks in the Serra da Sintra National Park but I’m dragging myself to the online session! Of course it will be invigorating as has been the other sessions.
PS Sending a big bunch of birthday wishes to our nephew/cousin Dylan who’s 7 years old today. Hip hi hooray! xx
Can’t quite believe next week is our final week living in this amazing country.
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