Friday, February 4, 2011

On the road again

We're so used to NOT having a car now, that we forgot we still had the keys to João's car and could use it again this past weekend.  Finally on Saturday night, it occurred to us that we could go for another nice drive.

So Sunday morning we headed for the mountains. Once again we zipped past the beautiful Peneda Gerês National Park (we WILL get there someday!) along some very windy roads that brought back memories of long, queasy childhood car trips.  João had mentioned a restaurant in the minuscule town of Bouro that serves homey, hearty Portuguese food and that's exactly what we found at Restaurant Cruzeiro.

The cross for which Restaurant Cruzeiro is named
Eric enjoyed enormous and soul-satisfying portions of papas and rojões and I had the leitão which is roast suckling pig. While waiting for our meal and waiting for my stomach to settle after our twisty car ride, I made the connection between the Portuguese words for milk, leite, and leitão, which is the not-yet-weaned piglet that I was about to enjoy.  Oh dear.  Fortunately, the meat was so tender and delicious that I forgot all about the separation anxiety the piglet and its mother must have experienced. 

Yes, that bowl of brown goo, papas, is actually a
very tasty Portuguese specialty!
The BVM & Jesus watch over Eric
as he eats
We were both pretty full, but the lovely dessert table at the front of the restaurant was calling our names.  We couldn't resist the rabanadas and sonhos.  Sonhos means 'dreams' and these sure were dreamy.  They are soft spherical doughnuts made with shredded pumpkin and rolled in cinnamon & sugar - the perfect sweet treat after our heavy meal.

The cloister at Santa Maria do Bouro

After dessert we were torn between napping in the car and strolling around town.  We opted for strolling.  On the main street, there is a beautiful old church and the 12th century Cistercian monastery of Santa Maria do Bouro.  The monastery is one of many Pousadas which are palaces, castles, monasteries and convents that have been restored by the Portuguese government and converted into luxury hotels.  We couldn't afford to spend the night there ($$$$) but we could afford a drink in cozy chairs in front of the huge fireplace.  

João is still traveling, so we feel that it's our responsibility to take his car out for a spin again this coming weekend.  We'd hate for he battery to go dead or something.  Our next outing is to Feira do Porco - Festival of the Pig in Ponte de Lima.
Stay tuned...

~ Peggy

Maybe Eric will build one of these in our house in Minneapolis?!

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