Where you last joined me...
Part 2 : In Belem that is a must is 2). Tasting a pastel de nata at the Pasteis de Belem. Helpful hint: unless it is necessary do not stand in the take out line, but head right back into the restaurant and sit down and enjoy the pastel with a coffee. (a serious note: we also had a pastries from another bakery which has a location in Time Out Market.. This bakery opens before all the other restaurants in the Time out market.) and I like that pastel best. And the 3). thing to do is spend some time by the water walking from the monument of the Discoveries to the Belem Tower, even if you don't go up either. A very interesting 4th thing to do if you are into coaches and things ornate is to have a quick visit to the Coaches Museum. Probably the most ornate coaches I have ever seen!
So the road calls and our time in Lisbon has been too short, but we must keep on schedule!
A note for anyone thinking of a road trip of over a few weeks that includes dropping off a car in a different town or country, we found that leasing a Peugeot was the way to go! So now behind the wheel of a brand new Peugeot we head toward the Algarve!
The stomach calls for substance and so we make a stop in Sines... with only our faithful (and hated) navigation system, named Elizabeth, for her proper British accent, it brings us to the middle of town and a small fortress, however, low and behold right there next to the fortress ruins is a very busy restaurant. Bravely, we go in (mostly because I'm in need of facilities), to enjoy some of the best grilled fish ever! Friendly service and loads of local families also enjoying the great food on a rainy Sunday. The owner drifts from group to group smiling and loving his restaurant. This place also had a specialty beer that everyone seemed very proud of serving.
As we continue to make our way down the coast on the highway, instead of the coastal road that slowly goes thru every town, I think that this is a great place to return on a not so wet day.
We finally make it to our evening stay in the small Algarve town (one RS recommended) called Salema. I really can't say enough about Salema... well, there isn't much to say, but it is a SMALL town. We had a terrific view of the sea, a beautiful clean room (with only 3 stairs to the room, not 3 flights of stairs) and a chance to share watching the match between Porto and Benfica (one of 2 Lisbon teams). Having had the primer on football while on our food tour (our guide was a member of the Benfica assoc, whatever that means). We were naturally Benfica supporters. Unfortunately, they lost, but not before we met a fantastic Brit, who lives some months in Salema and also met a food and travel writer from a Lisbon paper who was writing about a huge new resort just outside of Salema. Thankfully, the writer gave us a recommendation for lunch the next day.
We stayed 2 nights in this sleepy little town and enjoyed it all. The beach was deserted the next day and we wandered around before heading to Lagos for a looksee... Unfortunately, Mondays are the closed day, so after our trusted and despised nav system took us driving thru the narrow one way lanes of the old Lagos old town, and after our phone GPS took us to an area we did not wish to visit, we finally found a car park (free!) and walked thru the old town and to the beach... Leaving Lagos was easier than arriving. So were on a hunt for the recommended lunch stop in the small town, Vila do Bispo (and I mean small) we arrived to this mom and pop restaurant where we we're not sure what we ordered, but we sat there in the silence; no music or hardly anyone speaking. Finally, the food arrives, the only sounds are of cutlery hitting china and the mother/owner comes out to see if we like... well, we liked and she finally cracked a smile! .... next the Sagres point, best shrimps ever, beach walk and taking stock of the catch of the day before heading north to Alentejo!
Where you last joined me...