February 5, 2012

Portugal Part 2

Our final week in Portugal continued much like the first. We gardened, weeded, harvested more carobs, built another raised bed, enjoyed some leisurely meals with Sol and Willem and caught up on some reading.  Although Willem and Sol encouraged us to venture farther out than Bensafrim to Lagos, we decided to spend most of our free days soaking up this local small town and resting up for the next part of our journey (though we did make it to Lagos one warm afternoon). We made several more bike trips into the small town of Bensafrim, including a trip to a delicious local restaurant - El Tachu. 

We arrived at El Tachu one late afternoon to find a round, tanned Portuguese man sound asleep in a chair at one of the side tables.  It turned out this congenial man was bartender, owner and chef! We spent a few hours at the bar trying local Portuguese beer and port wines and then when his daughter arrived to act as waitress, we moved to the adjacent dining room to feast on some local dishes - his own recipes.  Particularly delicious was the shrimp El Tachu - shrimp pan fried in garlic and olive oil and the bacalau al Tachu, a codfish dish lathered in delicious olive oil and served with sauteed onions and potatoes. 

On our final night in Bensafrim we had a delicious meal with Willem and Sol.  Sol wowed us again with her delicious seafood dishes, including an appetizer of small clams sauteed in lemon juice, garlic and cilantro and a celebratory glass of champagne. We chatted about politics way into the night and then said goodbye to our gracious hosts. Willem drove us to the Lagos train station the following afternoon and we're proud to say we made it into their photo hall of fame! Thanks, guys. It was a lovely stay. 

Here is the phenomenon we mentioned in our previous post, a crew of older men just hanging out at noon on a weekday. This group swelled to seven at times and dwindled to two at others. We came to feel that this reflected two things equally: the pace of the economy and the pace of life, both reduced dramatically in Portugal.

A central square in historical Lagos. At our backs (not pictured) was one of Lagos' dubious claims to fame: the first European slave market, processing slaves f rom Egypt to other parts of Europe and beyond. It was hardly noticeable and not adorned with any eye-catching plaques. I'd understand if this was deliberate on the part of Lagos.

The old gates to the town of Lagos, built during the time of Henry the Navigator when Portugal was still a pioneer of the early 'Age of Discovery.'

Christina in front of a fort post in Lagos. Beyond is the Atlantic and in the immediate shoreline is the city of Lagos. It was mostly empty when we were there, but apparently it is THE tourist spot in the summer.

Looking down the Lagos coastline from the top of the fort, also built in honor of Henry the Navigator

Dave doing as the Portuguese do. From the Cafe Barbaro, this is what he saw of the passing world....

...and what the passing world saw of him.
For the Patriots vs Ravens AFC Championship game we got ambitious and made some killer snacks.  Pictured here are the ingredients for our mini pizzas made on Portuguese rolls and the ingredients for a delicious chorizo and bean layered dip. Pats won a ticket to the Super Bowl! 

Christina's pastry of choice in Portugal, the delicious 'pastel d'nata' (pastry of creme), basically a custard-filled pastry crust that was put under a torch briefly to sear the top. So good.

No comments:

Post a Comment