Old Bastard’s

No the title of this post does not refer to the two ‘young at heart’, fabulous fellows I am sharing my house with here in Praia da Luz. Ol’ Bastard’s is the name of a great little fish and chips place in Lagos just up the road from where we are.  Dave heard it was highly recommended and so we decided to try it last night which happened to be the first night it was open for the tourist season after being closed for several months. 

 Yesterday was an absolutely gorgeous day – our warmest and finest since arriving in Portugal and I headed into town an hour or so ahead of the guys so I could hike the 4 kilometers along the ocean at a more leisurely pace– stopping to smell the pine and listen to the waves….. but also to do a little shopping in Lagos. I have Easter baskets to fill and friends and families’ birthdays to recognize when I get back home to Canada. 

The guys joined me at Ol’ Bastard’s.  The host who opened the door and greeted us looked exactly like the fellow on the sign over the front door, but he was anything but an ‘ol’ bastard.’  He was a thirty something young father who spent our entire visit walking around the restaurant with his six month old baby while supervising his friendly staff who provided us with a tasty meal.  

Dave and Rudy both had American fish and chips (you can also order Australian or British fish and chips) and I had the fish tacos.  Dave and Rudy suggested to our waitress they might want to try offering Canadian fish and chips and serve the fries poutine style. 

They were playing 80s and 90s tunes on the restaurant soundtrack and Dave and Rudy spent some of our dinner hour trying to identify the names of the different artists we were hearing . 

Ol’ Bastard’s lived up to its hearty recommendation.  

Other posts……….

The Walk That Wasn’t and An Authentic Portuguese Lunch

Goose Necked Barnacles and How To Catch An Octopus

First Supper in Lisbon- My Husband Has Great Instincts

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You Call That A Stroll?

boardwalk hikeIt has been unseasonably cold here in Portugal but yesterday it was finally sunny and warm enough that we walked barefoot on the beach.  We did about a 7 kilometre hike along the Alvor Estuary Trail and Boardwalk detouring to the beach for part of the way. Dave and rudy on the boardwalkRudy and I didn’t trust the sunny weather would hold on for the whole hike so we headed out on the boardwalk trail with long pants and jacketsdave points down the beachbut Dave was more optimistic the nice weather and wore sandals, a T-shirt and shorts. 
barefoot at lastRudy got impatient with my slow progress on the beach part of the walk. I was soaking up the day – doing some serious people watching, listening to the sound of the ocean, examining the shells I was finding, tracking the flight of gulls, savouring the joy of finally feeling the sand between my toes but Rudy said my pace could hardly even generously be called a ‘stroll’ so he jogged ahead. sand dunesMany kilometers later Dave and I headed up a boardwalk detour to survey the beach to see if we could find Rudy. rudy on the beachThere he was off in the distance, waving to us. He had jogged all the way to a far rocky outcrop and was returning. Dave and I thought we were in fairly good shape till Rudy arrived to visit. He thinks our hikes are pretty tame and is usually looking for something a little more strenuous.

The Alvor Estuary Walk is very nice-  you see so many different kinds of landscapes- sandy dunes, rivers, marshes, the ocean, farmland, a marina and sign boards along the way to help you appreciate the different kinds of flora and fauna, birds and wildlife that make the area their home. It was quite deserted now in winter but the number of shuttered restaurants and food stands along the way indicate it must be hugely popular in summer. As we made our way back to the car the guys spotted this sign and you can be sure that was a bargain they weren’t about to pass up. So the guys drank their cheap beer while I indulged in a Sangria which they both pointed out was  triple the price of their beverages combined.  I was enjoying the warmth of the sun too much to let their teasing bother me. 

Other posts……………

Visiting A Castle On My Own

Authentic Portuguese Food

Copy Cats




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Alone in the Castle- Those Guys Don’t Know What They Missed

Meet King Sancho who wrestled control of the Silves area of Portugal from the Moors for a brief two years.  During those two years he ruled the Algarve from this impressive castle which I toured ALONE.  After our friend Rudy snapped the photo of Dave and me with King Sancho (1154-1211) outside the Silves Castle the two guys decided they weren’t interested in seeing what was inside. I was not deterred by their lack of enthusiasm however so I toured the castle by myself.The Castle of Silves was primarily inhabited by the Moors who occupied Portugal from 711-1249.  Silves was a major trading centre and the mighty castle was a necessary stronghold for protecting those trade interests.

These amphora pots are Roman archeological artifacts found on the castle site. They reminded me of the pottery we had on display at the Winnipeg Art Gallery during our ancient Greece and Rome exhibit.

The very first buildings on the site probably date back to the time of the Roman occupation of Portugal (140BC to 212AD.)I looked at the remains of what were once the personal residences of the fort’s governor, his family, military contingents and administrative staff. These will have been two story houses with lounging areas, kitchens, bath houses and gardens. I tried to imagine families living here. Underground storage for grain and water were necessary for times when the castle was under seige. How scary must that have been for the people housed inside? I made my way all around the fort on the elevated walkway. I surveyed the orange orchards and crowded cemeteries from the walkways’ high vantage point. I stopped to read my brochure about the fort and study the various plaques to learn about what life had been like in this place. It was a gorgeous day the nicest we’ve had in Portugal yet so I decided to treat myself to an Indian lemonade, absolutely heavenly with cardomon and ginger and a sprig of pine. I had just taken out my journal to start writing about how the castle courtyard might have looked hundreds of years ago bustling with merchants, servants, farmers, soldiers and citizens…… when some Arabian  music began playing and out came………..two gentlemen with an eagle.  They proceeded to put on quite a show as the trained bird flew from one man to the other and landed on their gloved hands. 

At one point one of the men stood right behind my chair.  “Don’t worry,”  he whispered to me as the bird flew to his arm. That bird passed a hair’s breadth from me and I could feel the wind from its wings tickling my ear. 

By now I was feeling just a little bit guilty about leaving Dave and Rudy outside for so long so I exited the castle only to find them ensconced at a local outdoor establishment enjoying refreshing beverages. I made sure to tell them what an interesting and entertaining experience they had missed by opting out of a castle tour. I’m not sure I convinced them!

Other posts……..

MaryLou’s Castle

Architectural Wonders- Avian and Human

A Great Plains Grizzly Ends Up in a Scottish Castle




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Filed under History, Portugal

The Walk That Wasn’t And An ‘Authentic’ Portuguese Lunch

On Monday we decided to do another road trip I had cobbled together from information online.  Rudy punched all our destinations into his Google Maps and off we went.  First destination we’d head to was Barragem da Bravura, according to my sources a lake created by a dam and surrounded by a nice hiking trail. There was a restaurant at the site which was well recommended.  I planned for us to have lunch there after our walk. 

Despite Rudy’s excellent navigating we didn’t find the lake right away but did find a dead-end.  We turned around and it wasn’t long before we arrived at the lake.  The restaurant was closed for the season and that put a little damper on the hike idea, since there would be no delicious Portuguese repast awaiting us at its end.  Despite this we hiked gamely down to the dam, stopped to appreciate the vistas of the lake it provided, walked across the dam and set off on the hiking trail.  It was a nice morning and we walked along for a while until we met some German tourists.  Our friend Rudy engaged them in conversation and they told him the hike around the lake took ‘three days’.  We were not prepared for a three-day hike so the guys decided we should turn around immediately.  They were hungry and we’d need to do a bit of driving to find a lunch spot. 

We drove all the way to Silves where we planned to tour the castle in the afternoon.  After driving up and down most of the streets in town we settled on a little restaurant that looked ‘authentic’.   We wanted to have some real Portuguese food.  And I think we did.  Dave ordered Cozido à Portuguesa a Portuguese stew that had lots of cabbage, potatoes and carrots, different kinds of sausages, meats and animal fat. It had all been cooked in one pot.

I opted for Frango no churrasco piri piri, basically barbecued chicken glazed with a spicy sauce and Rudy had Bacalhau com Grao which was chick peas and cod surrounded by boiled potatoes and eggs.  The portions were more than generous and we were decidedly full!! We just didn’t have room for dessert.  Later however Dave bought some juicy oranges at a roadside stand. They were so cheap he bought two big bags, so we’ll be having oranges for dessert for a while. 

I did look up the lake trail we aborted and contrary to the German man’s information it does not take three days but rather eight hours to walk around Barragem da Bravura. The restaurant at the head of the trail is opening in the middle of February.  We may have to do this part of our road trip again in the coming weeks. 

Other posts………….

The Mink Bay Happy Jack Trail

The Wave- Art in the Interlake

I Got Lost Twice Yesterday

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Copy Cats in Portugal

bonnie with pottery (1)When our friends Bonny and Jim were exploring the Sagres area of Portugal Jim posted this picture of Bonny on Facebook.  So when my friend Rudy and I passed by the same shop on our road trip last week, we decided we had to stop and take matching photos.  Here we are! sagres pottery rudy

sagres pottery me

Other posts ………….

Hopi Pottery

That’s How Light Gets In

A Reunion With Old Friends


Filed under Portugal, Uncategorized

Having Fun Despite Wayward Paths, Closed Doors and A Chilling Wind

We did a road trip on Friday that I had found outlined in an article in a British newspaper. It would take us right to the tip of Portugal. The trip didn’t turn out just as the travel writer had described it.  First we tried to find the ruins of a fort near the village of Figueira. Following some signs in the village only led us to a narrow path that obviously was not meant for cars. We parked the car and followed the path all the way to the beach.  

We looked at these stone barriers all along the path and marveled at the people who must have hauled all the heavy boulders to build it.

It was lovely and warm, the almond trees were blossoming and humming with bees.  We had to do a little stone hopping across a stream, we passed old farm houses and a vineyard where they sold traditional wine. At the beach way up on the top of a cliff we did see the ruins of what might have been a fort but the walls were covered in graffiti. The walk and not the destination had definitely been the highlight. 

In Raposeira we tried to visit our Lady of Guadalupe Church which the article said was where Portugal’s famous Prince Henry went to pray.  Henry is the guy who got the explorers of Portugal off to sea discovering the rest of the world. However when we arrived at noon the doors to the chapel were closed and when I knocked a guy poked his head out of a building nearby and said it was lunchtime so the chapel wouldn’t be open for the next hour.  We contented ourselves with taking a photo of a mural we found of Henry on the side of a house on a street in Raposeira. 

The itinerary we were following said that in Sagres we were to check out another fort where the famous Henry operated a school for navigators. We could see two forts on the horizon one that looked like a fake tourist attraction and another that looked more authentic.  We opted for the more authentic one.  Turns out Fort Beliche had nothing at  all to do with Prince Henry and the door was locked so you couldn’t go inside.  But Rudy took a nice photo of us beside the castle walls. 

The last stop on our road trip was the St. Vincent Lighthouse which stands at the most southwesterly point of Portugal. Of course it was closed for the season too!  It was extremely cold and windy on the point but we gamely posed for some photos anyway.  There was a plaque at the point in memory of a young man from Germany who fell to his death there in 2001.  It warned visitors to be careful. 

Dave and Rudy in our rented Skoda.

Now we were ready to head home.  Even though we had been met with more than a few closed doors, had been battered by the wind and cold, and had not found the castles we were looking for, you can tell by Dave and Rudy’s faces they’d still had a good time.  Guess I need to start planning another road trip. 

You can read about the first part of this road trip here. 


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Inspiration From Portuguese Artists at the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon

Prudencia by Domingos Rego 2000

I know who I am. When I look in the mirror, I see me. -Tracy Morgan

Family by Sarah Affonso 1937

Families are messy.- Rick Riordan

The Boy’s Lunch by Julio Pomar- 1926

The best inheritance a parent can give their children is a few minutes of their time each day.— Orlando Battista

Untitled by Jorge Barradas 1920

Accept your burden and carry it, with joy. ― John Ajvide Lindqvist

Maternity by José Sobral de Almada Negreiros- 1935

Children are the anchors that hold a mother to life. – Sophocles

The Homecoming by Paulo Ferreira- 1935

Home is people. Not a place. – Robin Hobb

Encounter of  Natalie Correia (poet), Fernado Botelho (novelist) and Maria Joao Pires( pianist) -by Nikias Skapinakis- 1974

Anytime women come together with a collective intent it is a powerful thing. -Phylicia Rashad

Cramped by Hunger by Marcelino Vespeira -1945

We can end global poverty and hunger within our lifetimes. – Barack Obama

No Saying Yes by Rui Toscano -1970
(34 radio/music players each with a voice saying “yes” at different times)

The oldest, shortest words- yes and no– are those which require the most thought.- Pythagoras

Evolution of a Square in a Logarithmic Mesh by Artur Rosa 1926

The human heart likes a little disorder in its geometry.- Louis de Bernieres

Other posts…….

Inspiration at The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec

Hawaiian Inspiration

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