It’s time to drive north through Portugal’s mountainous interior in search of meat and liquor. Melt-in-your-mouth “piglet cooked in wood oven” starts things off perfectly in the town of Monchique.
José, the proprietor at our guesthouse Casa Mirante, shows us the fruit he uses to make medronho, a local brandy/moonshine, also known as “firewater.” Private distilling is tolerated, keeping this Portuguese tradition alive.
The fest continues late into the evening with peri-peri chicken and more medronho moonshine. Oops, suddenly even the street statues aren’t safe!
We’d do well to regroup the next morning with sardines for breakfast.
Perhaps it’s time to seek spiritual healing with a visit to the megaliths outside the town of Evora. Appearing around the sixth to fourth millennium BC, this large circular stand of stones represents one of the oldest monuments of humankind. Nobody knows exactly why they are here. Theories abound. If that’s not spiritual, what is?
A drive through groves of olive and cork trees brings us to the medieval town of Evora.
Relics from Greeks, Romans, and Moors appear here.
Our good fortune continues, as we happen to visit during the annual street fair. Who cares if we can’t find the hotel, while the GPS lady yells at us due to road closures? Bring on the street food! We’ll leave the moonshine alone tonight.
Continuing to the northern coast, the city of Porto greets us with beauty and delight.
We spend two nights in a renovated castle, and feast on the local traditional dish of pork tripe with beans.
Cafés line the river and streets in this friendly city.
We make friends while sharing glasses of Port (we are in Porto).
Francesinha, a sandwich of egg, meat and ham smothered in melted cheese and sauce, is the local hangover cure.
Back on the beach, the town of Ericeira grabs our heart.
Known for sun, surf, and seafood, it’s a smaller town, close to Lisbon, and offers a laid-back atmosphere.
This would be a perfect place for an extended stay.
For now, it’s off to Lisbon to wrap up our Portuguese adventure.