A drive in the country through hundreds of roundabouts to Nazare

It’s Wednesday afternoon and we have just arrived at Quinta do Campo, a lovely Inn near the seaside resort of Nazare.  The owner met us at the door and gave a breathless description of the 900 year old estate.  It seems that this was at one time a monastery serving a local castle and has been in his family for hundreds of years.  Anyway, they now have turned it into a B&B and they also do a lot of meetings and weddings.  It’s an amazing place.  Check out their site for a video of it’s history.  I hope that you speak Portuguese.  If you don’t, there are words to follow and it’s quite interesting.

We’ll be here for a few days and then will continue north.  Our plan is to book each location a few days prior to arriving so we can be flexible on our itinerary and adjust as we go.  This approach is taking a bit of getting used to for Brenda who gets a wild look in her eye as soon as we are within a few nights of being homeless.  I expect that she will begin exhibiting symptoms beginning Thursday morning but I am sure she will find something really great for our next stop.

Here’s a view of the front of the “main house”.   It’s fairly new, only “hundreds” of years old.  This part, 900 years…  That’s pretty old, I’d say.   I’d love to look this nice after 900 years.   I understand that there is a big space inside where they do weddings.  The next time Brenda and I get married, perhaps this will be the place.  Talk about a destination wedding.   Want to go to Portugal?This is the library where I am doing my post.  Alas, no WIFI in our room.  Imagine… How archaic.  No wait, this place is archaic…really.  However, in spite of the age of this place, the Internet is the best we’ve had yet.   Perhaps it’s not that antique after all. Today we drove from Sintra up here via mainly local roads and that involved many, many roundabouts that everyone takes at breakneck speeds.  Along the way we spotted a lovely area to pull off and enjoy the view of the rolling countryside.  What a view.   Then, we noticed this funky food truck.  Inside was a commercial bread mixer humming away and two women turning out hundreds of wonderful smelling fresh baked breads and treats.  It turns out it is a coal fired mobile bakery and we bought a fabulous baked ham and cheese sandwich fresh baked roll.  We wanted to see some of the coastal areas on our way north so we took some local roads, sans GPS and decided to visit a lovely fishing village, Ericeira.  The town is on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic and there isn’t a harbor, just an enormous breakwater that juts out into the ocean.   The view of the “harbor” is beautiful.  However, “harbor” isn’t really a fair description as there were 4-6′ waves crashing up on the beach in the harbor itself.  This place makes the open harbors of the Bahamas look like a lake.  And, today was a calm day.  This is a real working fishing village with lots of traditional and modern small fishing boats.  The harbor is under a massive cliff reinforced with concrete.   This part was a sort of rugged park area. I walked out on the breakwater and took a panorama to give you an idea of what it looks like.  The breakwater was made up of hundreds of enormous “jack” shaped cement forms, stacked up on one another.  This photo shows how big they are.  No this isn’t an illusion.  They are huge, tens of tons each.  Amazingly, many were broken from wave action.  Imagine what sorts of waves would break something like this.The waves were crashing up everywhere.  I can only imagine what a winter storm must look like. To the right was a boat ramp where boats were attached to a tractor and dragged up a concrete ramp.  Timing things right was a team effort.
The older boats have iron skids on the keel and bilges so that they can slide right up on the ramp.  For the newer boats, made from fiberglass, they are lowered into the water from a crane.  All boats are taken out of the water immediately upon entering the harbor.  The “boatyard” was jammed with all manner of craft. Some were very colorful.  Notice the hard chine with the iron shoe to skid along the cement when the tractor is pulling them too and from the water. Along with the boats were huge amounts of fishing “stuff”.  I was particularly taken by this pile of ceramic jugs.  They are used to fish for octopus. These are left in the water for a period until a local octopus takes up residence.  Then they pull the jugs up and, what do you know, octopus for dinner.It was great fun to travel up the coast today and see the sights.  Tonight we’ll head somewhere local for dinner.  We’ll be here for a few days and then we’ll head up toward Porto, home of the famous wine by the same name.

Along the way… roundabouts at breakneck speed.  I am actually getting used to that and Brenda, hands over her eyes, is too. Well, sort of…

Off to find a nice bottle of wine for cocktails.

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