About 2 years ago, Vic & I made a trip to Portugal with her parents, David & Honor. The memories have begun to rust a little but they’re no less sweet. We took a car from Porto down through Lisbon and finished in the Algarve, with a brief stint out in the countryside of Aljezur.
I broke my foot on the first day (nothing exciting, just a lapse in coordination met with unforgiving sidewalk) and this slowed things down a bit. Annoying, but maybe all for the better in a country as mellow as this. In spite of the crutches, I saw a lot — thanks in no small part to the patience of Vic & her family.
Portugal’s a beautiful place. Arabic influence reigns supreme and its collision with European culture is visible everywhere. The cities are a wash of crumbling stone and pastel, and the coastline is as wild and rugged as ours is back home.
We made a trip out to Sintra, a playground of castles and estates just outside of Lisbon, and it was staggering in both age and beauty. It was an odd feeling to stand in castles built centuries before New Zealand was even discovered.
My injury had one small fortune in that it absolved me of all the bag-carrying duties a son-in-law might expect on holiday. Vic’s folks put me in charge of navigation instead, but this quickly proved to be a bad move. We made many circles on our way out of Porto, and things did not improve much from there.
Down south in the Algarve we were joined by Peter & Liz, Vic’s Uncle & Aunt from the UK, and a fastidious survey of local bars and restaurants was made. The Algarve is a handsome location but it felt a lot like a British retirement village. Restaurants served bangers & mash and we found more English fare in the supermarkets there than we’d ever seen in Germany. Vic & I made sure to fill our suitcases with Marmite for the trip back to Berlin.