Leaving Portugal.

Sitting in the lounge having our last Pastel de Nata. Going to miss these delicious egg custard tarts!

We left the apartment a little after 10 am and were in the lounge a little after 11. No line at the Ryan Air check in desk (probably because we were so early-our flight doesn’t start boarding until noon) but a long but quickly moving one at security.

We elected to take a cab directly to the airport rather than a cab to the metro and then the metro three stops where we would have had a 45 minute wait for the connecting train to go two stops. According to Moovit (the app we use for local transportation) it would have taken us at least an hour and fifteen minutes from when we got to the station in Vila do Conde. With the cab from the apartment to that station (we could have walked the 15 minutes to the metro but with roller bags on cobblestones-ugh) the total cost would have been about 11 euros. The cab all the way here was supposed to be about 15-20 euros but with the luggage surplus and a tip it ended up being 30. Oh well, when we run out of money I hope we won’t have this one can ride to blame!

We should be in Milan at 4:30 and hopefully at the Hilton Garden Inn by 5:30 if we make it to the 5:15 complimentary shuttle, 6:30 if we do t. This will be our third time here, we always plan on using Hilton points for a free room but the price is always so low that we end up paying instead. Tonight it is costing us 64 euros which is over our $50 a night Budget but with the following six nights where we are sharing 2 bedroom apartments with Peggy & Lowell we will be under our budget.

So, tchau Portugal, ciao Itaia! (Interesting how that works)

Fish Rice!

We ventured to Póvoa do Varzim for lunch today and as you can see above they thankfully were back from their holiday!

We are such creatures of habit that we asked for the same starter-the delicious smoked beef we were given during our first visit along with a half bottle of the same white wine. Since we ordered the sausage and were paying, this time it came with cheese.

We also has a salad (Lois you would have liked the onions) and then the big pot of fish rice was delivered. They had monk fish today (which is what everyone on Trip Advisor raves about) so we had it. We were offered corbina and tuna also. It was as tasty as we remembered. We ended up not stuffing ourselves so we have enough of the rice and soup left for a bowl each for dinner tonight or tomorrow.

For new followers, this dish of rice with seafood is a traditional Portuguese dish that we had not heard about before coming here. We highly recommend that you have it as often as it is offered. We’ve had it in a village between here and Lisbon and a couple of places in and around Porto. It has always been delicious. It isn’t thick like risotto-instead it’s like a soup with rice and whatever seafood is added. We’ve had it with clams, mussels and shrimp as well as with just fish. I will say I find it hard to believe that such a delicious dish can come from such an ugly fish.

I saw baked apples on the way in and really wanted one. It was yummy-Mike who said he just wanted a bite ended up eating half. Not sure why I don’t think about making them more often. Easy and delicious.

We thought about walking back to the apartment as we had done last week, but the temperature has dropped significantly, the high today was 57 (14c) and really windy so we took the train both ways.

Turns out it didn’t cut our exercise that short, we walked 3 miles versus the 3.4 we did by walking back. I guess the metro station is further from the apartment and the restaurant than I realized!

Off to do the last load of wash here so we can pack up tomorrow. We head to Milano on Monday at noon.

Made It.

At under 5 miles, our walk (in red above) from Povoa de Vazim to Vila do Conde didn’t qualify as a death march and I enjoyed the views of the beach, harbor and town but was glad when we got back to the apartment and I could take my shoes off!

We saw another statue of Portuguese women who play an important role in the fishing industry presumably by the same cankle loving artist of the one we posted about in Matosinhos back in June. What was funny though was literally 10 minutes later down the promenade (and still within sight of the statue) we saw what might have been one of the models!

No Fish Rice for You!

You may recall when we were in Porto last June we rode the metro to the end of the line and had an amazing lunch of “Fish Rice”. So this morning we decided it was time for a repeat visit.

We walked 15 minutes to the metro station in Vila do Conde, rode four stops (1.20 euros each) and then walked another 15 minutes to Petisqueria Barca. Of course when we arrived they were closed until Saturday! Arghhh.

So we are instead at a beachside sandwich place having the beer pictured above and a franchesina, the heart attack on a plate that is Porto’s lunch dish.

Luckily we should burn off all the calories as we plan on walking the beach promenade back to our place-2.5 miles….here’s hoping we make it!

Friday Market.

Went to Vila do Conde’s weekly market this morning. Quite a haul for only $20. Starting at 12 o’clock and moving clockwise: prosciutto-like ham, sausage, apples, olives, bread, carrot, big tomato,pastries, cherry tomatoes and figs right in the middle.

We didn’t get any of the flowers though I was very tempted by the protea. Nor did we get any of the salted cod but it is interesting to see it stacked up.

Vila do Conde

It’s a beautiful day in Vila do Conde today. Some fluffy clouds, 70 (21c) degrees, nice breeze/ warm in the sun, cool in the shade. My version of perfect!

We walked from the apartment towards where the Friday market will be held tomorrow. The town is interesting-new vacation rentals, beautiful old buildings in need of a savior and everything in between.

We had a great lunch for 7.50 euros each of wine/beer, bread & olives, salad, mains and coffee/tea. As usual we split each main. One was tasty lasagna-it appears to be a universally available dish these days and the other was a cod casserole with an egg on top. It had lots of corn meal in it so mostly tasted like mushy cornbread with some cheese and an egg on top. It was yummy.

From there we walked to and along the River towards the beach. We are now relaxing on a bench alongside the river. There is a lovely walk that includes a historic ship, a modern sculpture (which Mike says is a prime example of how the Europeans “thin the herd” as there is nothing to keep someone from climbing on it), the fishing boats and market and a statue of what we presume to be a fisherman’s widow looking out to sea. Over it all is the Convent of St James. More about it in a future post as we plan to attend a festival there this weekend.

After I finish this we are going to leave this bench where I have the view below and continue back to the apartment along the beach. Hopefully with a stop to dip our toes!

Addendum:

well the pictures didn’t upload so am finishing this back at the apartment. We walked along the river to where it meets the Atlantic at the fort and then along the broad promenade north towards our apartment. I live watching and hearing the waves crash into the rocks.

We walked in the sand (it’s really soft and not easy to walk in) and dipped our toes as promised…

The water was cool but not frigid. mike says it’s too cold for him to go for a plunge but if the warm weather holds, I might just have to.

Beach.

We slept in this morning but after a delicious breakfast of bacon and eggs we walked down the three long blocks and indeed there is a beach! We walked along the promenade and then back to the center of town via a different route.

There are lots of one story houses and three and four story apartments and condo buildings. Most of the condos appear to be buttoned up for winter but I suspect in the summer this place is jumping. Right now it appears to mostly be locals going about their daily lives.

There is a nice little store across the street, a bakery three doors down and the takeaway place (which had delicious food yesterday) a block and a half away, so with the close proximity of food, the cool weather and the proximity to walk along the Atlantic, I think we will enjoy our time here

Porto!

Actually we are in Vila do Conde, one of many seaside villages near Porto and connected to it by the metro. We arrived last evening about an hour later than planned but given the possibilities that come with a hurricane we were happy.

The view above is from our bedroom at our Airbnb:.https://abnb.me/NNIdaRZf2Q. It’s as expected though we had missed the fact that it is on the third floor so we will be huffing and puffing for two weeks! We have only explored the town as far as the super market last night and a takeaway place for lunch today as it was raining this morning and is still cloudy…so great weather for a nap which is where I’m headed (first once since June!) as soon as the first load of wash is finished and I can hang it up to dry. Hopefully tomorrow we will be able to walk down to the end of the street in the photo above to the now haze covered beach.

Porto?

Doesn’t it figure that the first hurricane EVER to come ashore in Portugal would decide to be our welcoming party? We are supposed to be staying in Vila do Conde which is a beach town north of Porto. I’ve tried to indicate it with the red squiggles.

From what I can find online it appears the storm came ashore north of Lisbon (and therefore south of Porto) and has caused damage there and 300,000 are without power. Our Airbnb host says that the water is rough and some tree limbs down but otherwise all is good. 🤞

We are currently in the Dublin Airport Lounge where our flight is showing a 50 minute delayed departure. Hopefully that will not get extended but if it does then we will just continue to enjoy the lounge. #FirstWorldProblems