Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Peneda-Gerês National Park

 

Before we start on this day, isn’t this snail gorgeous……

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I had so much fun trying to get a “head on” photo but am sure that the snail wondered exactly what kind of nut farm he had stumbled onto…..

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This morning we set out for an area that Michael had visited on his very first trip to Portugal.  This park is the only National park in the country and is located to the Northeast of Vila Do Conde.

It took about 1-1/2 hours to drive there, not accounting for stops to photograph the lovely surroundings…..

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There were grape vines growing all around the area and it was interesting to see that they were trained along wires that put them quite high off of the ground…..

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It was delightful to see the new growth coming off of the obviously old vines…..

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The day was, once again, cloudy and bands of rain moved thru at regular intervals.  On Friday, Wayne had purchased a “stylish” sweater so he would have something warmer to wear.   Since it didn’t rain any of the times that we were out and about, we started calling it the LUCKY  Sweater and would send Wayne out ahead of us so that the rain would stop before we got out!!!   Here is is modeling it for us…..IMG_4698

And of course, since we had stopped for sightseeing, we had to find something to eat as well!!!  We crossed the road to this small cafe/bar…..

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We looked at the menu but decided that we were not yet hungry and just wanted something warm to drink instead so we sat at the bar and had Tea and Coffee and Wayne had a beer. 

We watched as the waitress made HUGE Gin and Tonic drinks for 5 men at the end of the bar.   Remember, this was about 11:00am on a Sunday morning!!!!

We were interested that the ice used in the drinks was punched out of a “bubble wrap” type of container.   I guess that you fill up the compartments and then freeze it.

The  Cafe had a sweet wood fire blazing and we enjoyed it’s warmth before venturing out again……

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We stopped again a few minutes down the road to take a few more photos……

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….and then drove to the Park Entrance.  There were many people milling around the small, door-like entrance to the park.   

This little chapel was in constant motion as people entered and exited…..IMG_4723

Since you could not drive into the park itself and it was still threatening to rain, we opted instead to  find a place to drive around.  I asked a shop keeper for a map and he directed us to a Tourist Information Office down the road.   The young woman there spoke a little English but did a wonderful job of pointing out places that we could drive and the sights that we might see along the way…..IMG_4725

We headed out again, this time aiming for an area with many waterfalls, and we were not disappointed…..IMG_4727

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We laughed at the fact that there were gorgeous outlooks but no place to pull over and then there were places to pull over but the outlook was blocked by trees.  It just didn’t seem quite right!!!!

We also stopped at this particularly picturesque meadow…..

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Michael pointed out the moss covered rock fence surrounding the field……

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That is probably a testament to exactly how much rain they get every year!!!

There were some HUGE and gorgeous Cedar trees as well……

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At this point the altitude was 862 meters (2,800 feet).

The drive back down was thru amazingly green, tree-lined lanes…..

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We decided to stop for a big lunch and make it a “one-meal” day and found a small Cafe that looked interesting…..IMG_4755

You will notice that they have my favorite beer….Super Bock!!!

We carefully worked our way thru the menu, looking each item up on Google Translate to figure out exactly what we wanted to order.   When Michael and I came to “BBQ Chicken”, we knew that we had reached Nirvana!!!!

We began the meal with the usual appetizers of phenomenal fresh bread and Tuna Pate……

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…and then our plate arrived with an entire chicken, smothered in French fries….

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…and a big bowl of rice to boot…..

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We asked to see the dessert menu (because we had OBVIOUSLY not had enough to eat!!!).  I was intrigued that it was the exact same menu that we had seen at another restaurant.  It turns out that there is a company that provides “ready-to-serve” desserts to restaurants, some even in crockery bowls.  They are all ice cream based and are yummy!!

We had missed the restaurant when we had driven past originally and had turned around to go back to it.   During that drive, we noticed an enchanting church down below the road and had planned to visit it after eating.   The problem came when we passed the church and couldn’t figure out how to get to it.   Finally our intrepid driver just turned left and we started winding our way thru the neighborhood, looking for the church!!!

After a few minutes of driving thru ever narrowing roads, we turned a corner and, Voila!, there it was….. IMG_4757

The Church itself was closed, but the area surrounding it was resplendent!!!

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We spent some time taking photos…..IMG_4759

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It was starting to rain again so we hopped in the car and headed back home again.

We had one scare during this trip as a car coming toward us lost control on a curve and almost veered into our lane.  He was able to correct the turn but ended up hitting the rock wall at the end.  We felt bad for him, but were glad that it was a one-car collision and not two!!

After a short time in the apartment, we decided to take advantage of some sun and go for a walk along the ocean wall.   The sea was rough (or as George on Seinfeld says…” the sea was angry that day, my friends – like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.”).  Having said that, it did make for some wonderful “sea-spray” photos……

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….and these Seagulls didn’t seem to mind at all…

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We spent some time wandering around in the Marina…….IMG_4795

….marveling at the size of the sailboats, especially in comparison to these “baby boats”…..

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This photo reminds me of a Mama Duck being followed by her babies!!!

The walk back to the apartment left us covered in sea spray but happy at the way the day had turned out!!!  We spend the rest of the evening telling stories and laughing uproariously!!!   I was glad that we didn’t have any neighbors to disturb!!!

1 comment:

Karen S said...

You do make the most of your day with what you squeeze in. Beautiful scenery.

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