Monday Rest in Milfontes
Casa das Hortensias
Since this is a holiday and not a race, we have taken some rest days. This is one of them.
Notes about the Rota Vicentina: the trail is marked with green and blue stripes which closely match flora and sky. I think some volunteers from the Bruce Trail could highlight the trail with a white stripe. According to the Vicentina website, the trail is well marked. Not as well as the Bruce Trail! It was not uncommon to find signs that read, “Skirt the dunes. The next marker is in 2 kilometres (or 3 km!)” This would be okay if the path you were walking did not have several paths crossing it. The good news is that you always want to keep the Atlantic on your right. With a little luck, you will not fall over a cliff or find yourself at high tide with no beach left. It is useful to download a GPS file that some kind soul has uploaded to the net. Carry extra water. We each went through 1.25 litres. The whole trail system which includes the historical way and several side loops is four hundred kilometres. We are not doing all that! This hike is through a national park. There are very few habitations between stopping points. We did not eat much while hiking but it is a good idea to have some food with you: nuts and fruit is what I like best.
We walked six kilometres this morning in Milfontes, admiring small courtyards full of trees and flowers including birds of paradise, palm trees, hibiscus. Mandevila, roses, bougainvillea and many I do not know. We walked the beaches on the shore of the River Mira. We will be hiking the beach on the far shore tomorrow. We sat in the sand and watch the waves crash at the mouth of the river until they were high enough to reach us. None of the three churches was open. They are all relatively small.
We walked back into town to our favourite cafe/deli. After four visits there we think we are recognized patrons. Pao Cafe is a very busy place. You pay for what you want then you hand your numbered order to a server who is behind a very long counter of delicious pastries, cakes and tarts. We shared chocolate almond cake with espresso for our dessert last night. This morning we had our breakfast of bacon quiche and cafe com leite. For lunch we had a hamburger in a baguette with cafe com leite and came away with a caracol: a specialty that looks like a twisted cinnamon roll but it is made with port. We could not taste port but it was sticky delicious. We have browsed the shelves of the deli/mini grocery store a couple of times.
We ate our shared plate of mixed fish at Tosca da Vila last night. The chef grilled everything at the wall of charcoal. Very good. Along with salad and drinks, our meal was 17 euros. We had a beer at the neighbourhood bar. We are “spreading the wealth” where the locals dine.
Our cleaning lady just removed all the sheets from the outdoor lines since a few drops of rain are falling. It is probably the first rain in months. It was not forecast but we are completely overcast. Highly irregular. A good thing the hammock is under shelter.
The Forte Sao Clemente was built at the end of the sixteenth century to defend the mouth of the river from pirates. Although classified as a building of public interest, it is a private home, not for public viewing on the inside.
The buildings here are nearly all painted white but the trim is varied: bright yellow or blue or red mostly. One newer set of condos stands out with a mosque look: domed roof tops and many tall narrow chimneys, all in a yellow sand colour with no trim.
I am intrigued by the variety of chimney tops throughout town.
We went ahead and booked our next few nights of accommodations as along our hiking trail, there are not many places.