Busto José Rabumba

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    • Day 36

      Menu de Almoço in Venice

      March 28, 2023 in Portugal ⋅ ☁️ 25 °C

      After a quick visit to the Fatima Pilgrimage Centre in the daylight, we headed to Coimbra, a university town and home to the 2nd oldest university in Europe. Coimbra was the capital of Portugal until 1255 and the former royal palace is now part of the university. We toured the impressive library (unfortunately no photos allowed), the former royal palace and the chapel.

      For lunch we travelled to Aveiro, the Venice of Portugal. Many of the restaurants were closed, but we found a cafe in the backstreets where the special of the day (Menu de Almoço) was Spaghetty Chicken Curry - and despite the unusual combination, it was delicious!

      Aveiro has been a centre of salt production since Roman times, and more recently seagrass harvesting in a moliceiro (traditional boat), which are now used for tours of the canals. They are known for their colourful decorative panels with satirical, religious or bawdry images on the bow and stern.

      We made a detour to Costa Nova, known for it's striped houses, before arriving in Porto just after 6pm. As we are staying in the centre of their main pedestrian shopping street, getting near the hotel in a vehicle in peak hour was quite the challenge!
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    • Aveiro: Azulejos & Salinas

      September 15, 2021 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 64 °F

      Took a little field trip up to Aveiro (❤️ how easy it is to get around by train here), another coastal town recommended by locals.

      Right off the train is a beautiful azulejo:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azulejo. These primarily blue & white tile installations are everywhere—in either decorative patterns reminiscent of the area’s moorish influence or hand-painted murals representing people or events of import—and date back to the 13th century as a method to imitate Byzantine & Roman mosaics.

      Aveiro itself is a combination of typical working class downtown + quaint little touristy section with pastel houses and quirky art. Walking along the waterway, you have to run a literal gauntlet of locals hawking boat rides along the canal. (Note to self: t-shirt idea… “No, I do not want your ____!” in multiple languages.)

      As usual, we just kept wandering along whatever path we could find until we stumble across a salinas… a salt works. Donny & I look at each other, shaking our heads in incredulity.

      See, Donny found this book called Salt: A World History (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2715) and since I’ve been missing my book club on the road (shout out to my brilliant, gorgeous book club ladies!), I decided to read it with him. Reading nonfiction (I prefer to listen to the audiobook), particularly history, is not generally my jam so this was good for me and keeping Donny moving through the reading is good for him. Hooray!

      So it was crazy to literally stumble across a salt works when we’ve been reading all about their importance in history. They were finished for the season, but there was a cool little interpretive trail through the marshes and a pile of harvested sea salt to sample. Donny confirms it is “salty salt.”

      Cheers to serendipity!
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