We are moving slowly these days as the mercury climbs into the 40s. We headed out to Evora once again for a 2nd visit. Our first day there we explored the streets finding the Roman Temple believed to be dedicated to the goddess Diana. Erected in the 2nd or 3rd century AD it sits next to Evora’s cathedral 1186.

We popped in for lunch under the cathedral, Sean enjoyed the Monkfish and rice, Mariah had the chicken, fruit, veg, and pasta salad, mine had prawns and Philippa had bread, lots of bread. But she did go to the counter and order our coffee all in Portuguese and we even got the right amount. Unlike me who gets extra for my imaginary friends.

The 2nd visit was to explore the Chapel of the Bones, see the Fair and head out to the Megaliths. The Chapel of the Bones is a Prayer Chapel that is decorated with human remains. The Catholic church has come in to some Euros and the main church is under major reconstruction. The chapel is also under renovations so we were spared the mummified corpses that usually hang from the ceiling.

Mariah was a bit freaked out by the whole human remains thing. Pippa found it kinda cool.

Tibias, humeri, femurs and skulls all nicely cemented in place with a passage near the door that says they are waiting for ours. Hmm, I wonder how the nightmares will be tonight.

The Fair was on and we thought the girls might want to go on some rides {because everyone wants to spin around in circles when it is 40C}. But they opted out instead just to stroll through the market that was set up. Mariah is a Nutella fan and to her delight there was a stand dedicated to all things Nutella. So the evening was a success and we were not done yet.

Down the road from Evora and on to some private property is the Megaliths. I love going to these sort of spots, as the energy is really tangible. Unlike Stonehenge and Carnac, these ones are a bit out of the way.

It seemed like we were on private property as we made our way to the top of the hill through the cork oak plantation. We arrived to the site as the sun was setting and about 72 hours after the summer solstice, flowers were still at the base of the mother stone. We walked around the up-righted stones and tried to make sense of what it all mean.

We {the girls and I} lied down on one of the stone that had not been up-righted and closed our eyes. I must say it was pretty cool and I could have stayed for a while. But it was getting dark and we had one more stop.

When travelling you don’t always have WiFi, and you can feel like a letch when you find it in a nice café that does and you all site there with your head down in your electronic devices. So a guilt free way to figure out why everyone has a rainbow through their Facebook faces, is to sit and update your news sites and that is why you go to McDonalds. The password “bigmac” will do the job whilst you enjoy a salad and a coffee...

We arrived at our new home in Falcoeiras a commune outside of Redondo. It is situated in amongst acres of vineyards as far as the eye can see. Yes, I think this is going to be good. The coolest thing for the girls is the orange, lemon and olive trees in our backyard. Our first morning was spent around the farm table with an abundance of fruit, bread and brioche. Nothing warms the heart of a mother more than seeing her children gobble fresh food and commenting on how good it taste. Sean and I then ventured off to check out the area and the girls set into making lemonade. Like a scene out of Little House on the Prairie, Portugal style.

The closest large town is 7km away, Reguengos de Monsaraz, in the Alentejo province. This is an area known for its wine. Not pretentious (like Napa) but just centuries of making wine. This is also the area that most of the world’s cork comes from. The Quercus suber (cork oak)

.Dom Perignon the wine making monk revived the use of cork as a tasteless, odourless seal for wine. As we drive along the the motorway, big trucks laden with the strips of bark rumble by. The tourist shops of full of items made from cork everything from a wallet to shoes. It feels much like leather. But you don’t see the locals walking around wearing it.

Our first stop is a hill top medieval town of Monsaraz. You see it in the distance for several kilometres as it is the only hill around. In our travels to places like France one must time their arrival to such sites based on tour buses. But not here in Portugal, the little town is empty. The village looks freshly painted, it is beautiful with its tiles roofs and pepper pot chimneys. The girls are going to love this place.

We head back to find our girls enjoying a plates of fruit and glasses of lemonade. After our 3:00 lunch and siesta we head out to the local pool. Now I am going to go on a bit about the cost of things for a minute. The public swimming pool has a 50 meter pool with 10 lanes, and two other pools with other stuff. Back to the pool with 10 lanes and 50 meters, swimmers love pools like this. Did I mention love? Well it cost 2.80 for Sean and I and 1.80 for the girls. Yes under a 5er for the 4 of us. Gosh, I love this place. After a few kilometres in that lovely 10 lane 50 meter pool. We take the girls to Monsaraz.

Poor Mariah has never taken a very narrow cobbled path up the side of a walled medieval town so the feeling that the car might fall off is heard from the back seat. The cameras are a buzzing, it really is a photographers dream. {There is only one other car here.} The sun is going down and we walk among the winding streets that lead us to the castle built in the 13th century.

After we explore the town it is time for something to eat, a lovely restaurant overlooking the vineyards and orange groves is a perfect choice. We toast to a lovely day and eat a meal of cod, quiche and crepes

Take a million photos of the sunset and head off to the car admiring the town now lit up with a whole new ambiance.

We had a very hot, busy day, after all was said and done Sean, and I went out for dinner. The girls preferred to eat in and watch tv. The owner of the apt we are staying in recommended the restaurant across the street, so off we went. My good friend Susan in Drayton Valley had said she loved the sardines in Portugal. She could not eat enough when she was here. So when I asked our server what he would recommend he happen to say the sardines and the squid. So Sean, ordered the squid and I the sardines. Before the meal arrived a assortment of hor d'oeuveres arrived. We had been told you can just send these back if you don't want them. But hey, we were here for the full meal deal. So we tried the Lima beans, grilled sausage, bread, salad and olives, all of which were great. We ordered a bottle of local Cabernet sauvignon only because we like red wine. It was a silver award winner for 2014 in Brussels, well that sounds fancy! It was 4.50 euros a bottle. I am sure a bottle of water costs more back home. My five sardines arrived with boiled potatoes and Sean's squid had the same accompaniment.

As many of you know I was brought up in Prince Rupert eating a lot of fish. There was a time I stood on the side lines at North Pacific Cannery watching the truck loads of herring arrive. Or the many night shifts on the line at the Co-op fish cannery. My first taste of Sardines took me back to those days. When the fish smell never left your hair, but you were fine with that because you were making a $ figure most people could not imagine in 1980 My dad loved fish and potatoes and would tell us that it put hair on our chest {which I never wanted}. So here we were in a wonderful restaurant that was bursting at the seams with locals, you could not ask for a fresher meal and I was reliving my days outside the reduction plant. Sean thought the Sardines were cooked to perfection and his squid was amazing. Me, not so much but I ate them thinking that the taste would grow on me. What did amaze me that the whole meal for the 2 of us cost 21.00 euros. On a lighter note the girls love Portuguese pizza not a single complaint or left overs.


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