Thursday, 4 November 2010

In Portugal – 4

I went on just a little yesterday about similarities between Portugal and Spain. Well, how about this one?

This is a round building. They may call it a Coliseu but it looks a lot like a bullring to me. It even has one door marked “Sol” and another marked “Sombra”. Enough said.

This morning I went exploring around the Palacio Sotto Mayor, built at the start of the 20th century for Joachim Sotto Mayor, a local dignitary, I presume. It is described as a luxurious French style house with a magnificent façade, set in beautiful grounds. I can vouch for that but not for the excellent furniture and art works that are supposed to be inside it. There was a notice saying, Museu encerrado ao publico: not just closed but locked up!!! Still the outside was worth seeing, looking rather fine in the morning sunshine and there were lizards running about: rather a surprise for November!

Later we went out for lunch with a certain Mr Kevin Spraggett who has been a kind of pen friend / electronic friend of my husband for a while now. They may have actually met years ago at a chess tournament in the Isle of Man of all places but neither has a very clear memory of that. Kevin writes a chess blog which my Phil started to read on a regular basis while we were in Vigo. As Kevin doesn’t just write about chess but includes all sorts of other random odds and ends (including on one occasion a bit of MY blog – very flattering!), from time to time Phil points out things of interest to me.

Kevin is a chess Grandmaster who hails from Montreal in Canada originally but ended up married to a Portuguese lady chess player and has lived in Portugal for about 20 years now and plans to stay. As we knew he was playing here in Figueira da Foz, we looked forward to meeting him in person. So today we strolled along the sea front, stopping for coffee and then beer along the way and sitting and chatting in the sunshine. That was when I had a little trip down memory lane as this rather fine specimen of the classic Citroen DS came and parked nearby. I can remember friends of mine driving cars like this back in the 1970s.

This must be my week for automobile nostalgia as just yesterday I saw what looked a lot like my very first ever car, a red Citroen 2CV. There it was, bold as you like and still looking cute and cheeky, sitting on a car park. Well, I had to go and check the number plate to make sure!

Anyway, nostalgia out of the way, we went on and had another fine lunch, this time at a place called Restaurante Pica Pica. This restaurant advertises itself as serving Cañas y Tapas and has a list of Spanish tapas outside. The lentil and chorizo soup they served for first course could well have been a Spanish dish but the peizinhos fritos I had were served with very Portuguese rice and beans and a generous helping of salad. Phil had grilled fish, once again unidentified – I swear they eat fish in Portugal and Spain that they have never heard of in the UK. All good stuff, washed down with a nice glass or two of white wine: vinho branco da casa.

Let’s see what tomorrow brings!


  1. Will you please stop writing about food - I'm on a restricted diet. Great for weight loss. Lousy for contentment.

  2. oops, sorry. I do hope you get sorted out soon. Of course, you could just take vicarious pleasure in our eating out!!!