Sunday, 21 June 2015


I have recently returned from our summer holiday and I thought it would be nice to do a post to show you what we got up to during our time spent on the Silver Coast region of Portugal. It was our first time going to Portugal and we decided to stay in a beautiful traditional Quinta, or cottage, in the village of Moledo. The house we stayed in was beautiful, with a gorgeous turquoise pool and stunning orchard garden, the citrus trees heavy with fruits.

As we began our journey away from Lisbon Airport, north through the country it became apparent that agriculture is a huge industry for the people of this area. The farms were very different in comparison to British farms, the fields were smaller, and the farmers appeared to grow mostly vegetables in very small plots. A few rows of corn here, some potatoes near by. We saw many farmers out weeding the fields totally by hand which was fascinating to us, being farmers ourselves. The second thing I noticed when we arrived was how grumpy the Portuguese seemed to be! I always thought the British were as stand off-ish as people come but I have to say the Portuguese out do us! Very different indeed from the people of Spain and Italy.

Our first night was a quick meal out in the local supermarket, Pingo Doce, where we sat amongst huddled groups of locals and devoured three whole chicken's grilled in a jerk marinade, with a Pastel de Nata for dessert (a famous Portuguese custard tart and pretty much 30 seconds of heaven in your mouth). The food in this area is insanely cheap; I think we paid 10euro for those three whole chickens! After a quick stroll through the supermarket I noticed that the meat looked very different comnpared he butchers counters at home. The chickens were for sale with their heads still on and I have to say they did look like healthy little fellows, not swollen with water like we are used to in our own supermarkets in the UK. The best chicken we had all week came from a little chicken shop called 'Churrasqueira So Frangos' in our local town of Lourinha. The locals queued around the corner for this chicken and it really was the dogs bollocks. Think Nando's, but a thousand times better.

The weather during our stay was unfortunately not as you would usually expect in June. We had a mixture of sun, clouds, rain and thunderstorms. In other words, it was pretty much the same as our British weather! In many ways this was a blessing in disguise. Lazing by the pool was less appealing which forced us out and about, and I didn't need to worry quite so much about sun stroke with the children.

Thursday was our first full day, and we decided to head off to Peniche for the day as we knew the weather would be cloudy. I had read a lot about Peniche and my expectations were high; I was fully expecting a picturesque fishing village with a harbour lined with seafood restaurants. Peniche unfortunately didn't exactly live up to our expectations... it was a little more industrial than I was expecting and nowhere near as quaint. Nevertheless, Peniche was brimming with lively locals; one of the highlights was stumbling across a primary school event. I have no idea what was going on but the children were chanting Portuguese songs, skipping rope and generally having a whale of a time, the way kids should! Austin and Bryony thoroughly enjoyed joining in with the dancing and singing.

On Friday we found ourselves at the beautiful medieval walled town of Obidos. This town is famous throughout Portugal and it is not difficult to see why! The narrow, cobbled streets were lined with little bars selling Ginja (local cherry liquor) in dark chocolate edible cups - delicious! The streets snaked up past several churches up to a beautiful castle. The walls were mainly whitewashed, but the odd wall splashed with vibrant marigold and cobalt paint. Obidos is stunning.

For lunch we ate spicy rice and bacalhau (salt cod) with a shot of espresso to finish which are generally about 60cents. Like I said, so cheap!

On Saturday, another cloudy day, we headed off towards the Obidos Lagoon. This is the largest natural lagoon in Europe and is a haven for watersports lovers. Unfortunately, we got rained off the beach after a couple of hours, but we did manage to squeeze in a sandcastle build and an ice cream before the heavens opened!

Sunday was a day we were expecting heavy rain and thunderstorms. Because of this, we of course couldn't head to the beach or stay by the pool, so we decided to head off to Lisbon for the day. Initially John and I planned to take the kids to the Lisbon Oceanarium, but due to unforeseen circumstances (getting lost!) we ended up spending the day in the city instead. The weather forecast did not under promise; the rain we dealt with on that day was probably the rainiest day Portugal has seen for decades! We battled through the constant downpour and saw the sights of Lisbon as best we could. The architecture of Lisbon is very reminiscent of the 1920's art deco style, and tiled walls, or 'azulejos' feature heavily in the city.

As I was walking around Lisbon, It occurred to me that it reminded me very much of San Francisco. John and I travelled America in 2010 and San Fran was one of our favourite spots (more on that trip another day). The seven hills, the trams, the style of the buildings and the cobbled streets, very similar indeed. Lisbon is most definitely a place I would like to go back to; hopefully in the sunshine next time!

Monday, and the weather finally improved, hurrah! Our last two days were spent enjoying the sunshine in the pool and on the beach. The kids loved playing in the sand and watching the surfers and paddle boarders. I buried my nose in a book, and John enjoyed sipping a beer watching the world go by. A very relaxing end to a holiday that was jam packed with Portuguese culture. I love coming home from a country and feeling that I have really experienced the soul of it; tasted and heard and smelled and touched and saw. Not only that, but it is so important for me that my children are as well travelled as I was at their age and while these holidays are definitely not as easy going on us as a package holiday would be, they are rich and fulfilling and I love it!

The local laundrette!

The tree's in the village had coats made of crochet, beautiful

Eucalyptus trees are everywhere and cast a beautiful silvery green shimmer across the landscape.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you had a lovely time despite the weather! Absolutely gorgeous photos xx



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