Yesterday we did a little road trip I had read about in a travel article. We headed west from our house in Praia da Luz to the village of Salema. The cobblestone decor made it obvious we were in a place that is dependent on the sea for its livelihood. We went for a walk along the beach. Although in summer the beach is said to be extremely popular and crowded with tourists we shared it with only a flock of gulls and a group of fishermen who were repairing their nets. Our friend Rudy got into quite a conversation with one of the fishermen and Dave and I listened as he explained in his limited English that their main catch was octopus. He showed us the terra-cotta and steel pots they use to catch the octopus. This fisherman owns literally thousands of them. The pots are all roped together on lines that can stretch for 20 kilometers or more. The octopus like being inside the pots because it is safe and secure, kind of like a cave for them, so once the fishermen have reeled the pots in they put a spot of bleach into the pot which chases the octopus out. They sell the octopus to restaurants.
I had read one needed to stop in Vila de Bispo to taste the goose necked barnacles, so we found a tiny restaurant there for lunch. Our helpful waiter David brought out a plate with a goose necked barnacle for us to look at. It made Dave and I decide to eat something else so we ordered sandwiches. Our friend Rudy was more adventuresome and asked the waiter for suggestions. He ended up ordering the fried moray eel. Rudy said it was good but there wasn’t much of it so Dave and I shared our sandwiches with him. While we were eating a couple came over to talk to us and asked if we were from Manitoba. They had noticed Dave’s Winnipeg Jets hat. Turns out they were from Manigotagan and ran a campground there. They were traveling through Portugal and checking out the Portuguese campgrounds. Rudy who has been an avid biker in the past, also stopped to chat with a group of bikers from Great Britain.
The cook kept coming out from the kitchen during our meal to check on us. She couldn’t speak English but her cheery voice and smiling face made it clear she hoped we were enjoying our food. We didn’t order dessert but she brought out a small slice of some lemony kind of pie for us to share anyway.
After our meal we got back into our rented car and headed off for more adventures. We’d learned how to catch an octopus and what a goose necked barnacle was… two things we didn’t know before our road trip began.