We had decided to treat ourselves to lunch out on New Years Day at the Lagar da Mesquita, a wonderful restaurant we have frequented a few times over the years. It’s a renovated olive mill, gorgeous and the food, always sublime. It turned out to be an excellent decision, a special day for the three of us.
We drove to Mesquita a few minutes early in order to have a little walkabout, specifically, I wanted James to see the outdoor laundry. Turned into a funny little incident!!!
Our meal, as mentioned was amazing. We enjoyed a lovely cocktail and relaxed simply taking in the environment. Marc and James had a roasted tomato soup to start, I skipped a starter, and then our marvelous mains.
We enjoyed ourselves very much for about two hours. The owner remembered us and stopped by for a visit and when we left she chased us outside to give us New Year hugs. We’ve told her that we have other friends visiting and we will be back again before long.
Today was a totally different experience. My neighbour and friend, Harald has been a wealth of information for me regarding the many hikes and walks available, not only in this area but in much of the Algarve and even into Alentejo. He had invited me to join him in a hike in the mountains above Alportel and I was thrilled to have this opportunity. Marc and James were both up to a day at home and with a guilt free conscience, off we headed after breakfast.
We drove for about 45 minutes, high into the mountains and eventually arrived at our destination, the tiny village of Parises. To say the views were breathtaking is simply not enough of a description. I will post several photos, which don’t do it justice but it’s the best I can do. The trail, which was about 11 kms by the time we finished. We climbed as high as 500 meters, slowly! Up and down the many ravines, across rivers and streams, through cork, eucalyptus and some pine forests. I was left speechless at times.
I was quite filled with mixed emotions during this hike as the area had been burned out during one of the big fires in Portugal, 2013 to be precise. To see some of these majestic corks trees, burned black from the ground up to about 10 – 12 feet and then to see the top of the tree still thriving, it moved me. I’m so impressed with how resilient Mother Nature and the Portuguese people are. How they rebuild and move forward despite those kinds of catastrophes.
I can’t wait to head back to this place and explore it, and several of the other nearby trails. There is another close by that I am hoping to do with Harald in the next little while.
In the meantime, lunch…….what a wonderful experience. Picture this, sitting at a roadside patio that looks like your family garden. Birds are so loud that it’s almost deafening. You’re all alone (well the two of us). Our food arrives……fabulous jardineira de borrego (basically lamb stew) and you are enjoying it immensely when suddenly, right on the road beside you…….an entire herd of sheep!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It was a day I won’t soon forget. After lunch Harald was chatting with another couple who had arrived and I walked over to where the sheep and one lone goat were, just to enjoy watching them. I sat in the grass and stayed still and I think curiosity got the best of somebody……..this is without zoom.