Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe and has a population of 10.5 million people and is the nation with which Britain enjoys its oldest alliance dating back to the late 1300’s.
Stretching from Lisbon in the south to Fiqueira da Foz to the north, Portugal’s Costa de Prata (Silver Coast) is a gem of largely undiscovered beauty and gets its name from the effect of the sun on the waves of the Atlantic Ocean.
We’ve been here for six weeks now and settled in quite nicely in a small villa overlooking the Obidos Lagoon on the Silver Coast. Unlike the more popular, and warmer, southern part of Portugal known as the Algarve, this area is less populous and retains much of the character of Portugal before the Northern European tourists discovered it and started arriving in ‘plane loads.
We have found the Portuguese to be extremely charming and friendly. Although we have struggled to learn a few words in the short time we have been here it is nice to know that a good many people speak very good English and are keen to help us improve our pronunciation. Another few years of practise and we should be quite competent enough to order at least two beers and say ‘thank you’ (Obrigado).
Wednesday mornings are taken up by a walk with a group composed of Brits, Germans, Dutch and Portuguese who live in the area. A route is worked out and posted online with the details. We all meet up, walk through some wonderful scenery and end up at a cafe where possible, not too far from where we parked our cars. Another walk was undertaken by the ex-pat wives and girlfriends to raise money to aid in the recovery of those in the area who had undergone breast cancer treatment.
The holiday season will soon be upon us and the nearby seaside towns are getting ready for the influx of tourists. We’ll stick to our terrace and a few beers.