Driving Over Oranges

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.


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