Portugal – Part One

200Having arrived in Portugal (Porto) I was picked up at the airport by my daughter and immediately immersed into her daily life. First stop was her boyfriend’s family home in (Moure, Vila Verde) to bring some of the horses in for the night and feed all of the animals (5 horses, 7 dogs, 1 cat and 3 pigs) and of course to meet his family for the first time. They are lovely people and immediately welcomed me into their hearts and home.Very few people speak English in this region so I have been learning Portuguese online. I thought that I would be able to have a short conversation but the Portuguese that I have been learning is Brazilian Portuguese and a lot of the words are different and it seems that the pronunciation is very different. However by the end of the week I was able to have a short conversation.

This is a busy time of year here with lots of harvesting of different produce going on. Farming is very old world here in that everyone helps out with the harvest and most farming is still done by hand. When you see the landscape here it is easy to see why they still use old style methods. Fields are small and the area is all mountains so large machinery just isn’t practical.

It is so nice to be able to pick fresh fruit straight from the tree. Unfortunately I was just a little late for the figs and a little early for the oranges however I was there for the chestnut picking. It seems that dogs and horses like chestnuts too. Whenever I was picking them the dogs and one of the stallions would be there stealing all the best ones away from me. 252

Horses play a very important part of people’s lives in Portugal and especially so for my daughter. Portuguese horses are like the other animals and the people there in that they are very calm and relaxed. I never thought I would see the day where a stallion would follow me around like a puppy or that they could be taken to a show mixing with others stallions and not cause a drama.

My main reason for visiting Portugal was to spend some time with my daughter and to meet her boyfriend’s parents. Most of the food that I cooked was food that she missed but I did get to taste some traditional Portuguese dishes. Arroz de Pato is a duck rice with incredible flavour. Another dish that is extremely tasty but does not look particularly appealing is a local dish called Papas de Sarrabulho or sometimes just called Papas. Don’t confuse it with the more common Papas dish which is actually a porridge as this Papas is pork stewed with bread in pig’s blood. There was another dish that I tried with roast cubed potatoes and a variety of meats including blood sausage and tripe but I can’t remember what it is called.

Join me next time for Portuguese wildlife.