Sunday, 26 February 2012


The countryside is much flatter here, with lots of little plots being cultivated by hand. There’s a few sheep kept too – they tend to tether them (like goats); Brett wants to know if they have ear tags but it’s difficult to see as we’re driving. Still lots of cabbages on stalks being grown plus oranges, lemons, olives and grapes.

The dogs are allowed to run loose around Portugal and Spain; you see them all over the place, even on the motorways - mainly dead, in fact there are quite a few dead animals along the roadside (dogs, cats, foxes). And there’s lots of dog poo around the villages!
FATIMA is a holy town, like Lourdes (France); pilgrims flock here to be cured of illness. Lots of tacky tourist shops (great if you want to buy religious iconography), but no supermarkets; so decided to eat out – I had cuttle fish with potatoes; cuttle fish looks and tastes like squid; it was served with two mounds of, well I don’t know what it’s called it was bread with beans and cabbage ( a winter version of gazpacho?) it was ok....... Brett had pizza.
We’ve been trying to learn Portuguese; we bought a couple of CDs (to help with pronunciation) and some books. In the evenings we’ve been dutifully repeating the phrases (first couple of chapters) so we have ‘mastered’ greetings, ordering and asking directions. Some words in Portuguese are very similar to Spanish but the Portuguese are more nasal and they tend to pronounce ‘s’ as ‘sh’ (sounding almost like you’re drunk). Tonight we tried out our Portuguese, in the restaurant, unfortunately our waiter replied in English! Anyway at the end of the meal we paid our bill, got up to walk out and in unison said “adios” both of us emphasising the ‘sh’ at the end of the word (smugly) – the replied “adios” had no hint of a “sh”?? Now we are perplexed, who’s right our CD’s or native Portuguese?

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