It’s been an unusual Summer. For the wind has been fickle, sometimes blowing hard, other times refusing to show up for work. And we tried to cook with sea water because of a vague remembrance that Marcel Pagnol said that it was the right thing to do if you lived near the sea. Sardines were thin at first but then they gained weight and we could marinate them in olive oil and vinegar with sweet August onions cut in a half-moon shape. It’s been a wonderful Summer!
It is reassuring to know that even the sun is insecure. On our last day in our favorite beach in Portugal, the star staged an unforgettable sunset. It clearly wants us to return next year to worship again its glorious light. How can we say no?
We had a perfect lunch at Noah, a scenic restaurant in the Santa Cruz beach, with very dear old friends. Our table was so close to the sea that it looked like the waves were taking part in our conversation.
The food was simple, grilled sardines and peixe galo (dory) fillets with tomato and pepper rice. A rosé called Pinta Negra produced nearby by Adega Mãe paired perfectly with the fish.
Time flew while we enjoyed the delicious meal, the eternal beauty of the sea and the precious gift of friendship.
Noah Surf House is on Avenida do Atlantico, A dos Cunhados, tel 261 932 355. Click here for their web site.
Two architects working in Lisbon, Paulo Esteves and Sandra Gomes, went to the Algarve to visit their family. By happenstance, they heard about a competition for the concession of a restaurant at the entrance of the Manta Rota beach. They were tired of their busy lives in the capital and yearned to be closer to nature, so they decided to apply.
A long time passed until one day, when they had almost forgotten about the competition, they learned they had won!
They called their restaurant Chá com Agua Salgada (salt-water tea). It is a beautiful place with a terrace overlooking the ocean. The food is great and tastes even better because the appetizing aromas are mixed with the ocean breeze.
Our meal started with octopus samosas that were crispy and flavorful, seasoned with a curry mayonnaise. Then came carabineiros, large shrimps from Algarve, paired with spinach wilted in oil and garlic. Next, we enjoyed a luminous corvina cooked with lemon and a delicate algae called sea lettuce. The octopus returned to end the meal, this time seared and adorned with migas, a bread-based accompaniment.
The food looks deceptively simple, but it is prepared with great expertise by chef Marco Jacó. The service is flawless, we felt like we were having lunch at a friend’s house. And the location is heavenly.
Chá com Água Salgada is located at the entrance of the Manta Rota beach, tel. 281 952 856. Click here for their website.
Yesterday the elements were tired after so many performances. The wind stayed at home but the waves came, dressed in white linen. The sun was in an orange garb brought from the far east. Seagulls danced to the roar of the waves while the sun kneeled in reverent prayer until the blue curtains were drawn.
Today a new season begins. We wish you a blissful New Year and we hope you’ll come see the spectacle of the sun setting on the Portuguese sea.
Life is like a train trip. We eagerly anticipate getting to the next station but, once we’re there, we can’t wait to move on.
Much of life is a blur, like the views from a moving train. We remember the arrivals and departures of those we love. And we remember some of the train stops, when the pace of life slows down.
For us, many of these leisure moments are spent on a Portuguese beach. We recall the beauty of the seaside, the wonderful weather, the delicious food and, most of all, those who shared these happy moments with us.
In 1786 a Spanish galleon, San Pedro de Alcantara, departed from Peru loaded with a fortune in silver and gold and a precious botanical collection of tropical specimens. The galleon also carried a famous passenger: Fernando Tupac Amaru, an inca whose father had started the most successful uprising against Spanish rule in Peru.
The ship’s captain used a French map that omitted the position of the Berlenga islands. This error had tragic consequences: on the night of February 2, 1786 San Pedro de Alcantara shipwrecked near Papoa, a small peninsula on the coast of Peniche. Almost everybody died but Tupac Amaru managed to swim ashore.
The Spaniards hired divers from all over Europe to come to Peniche help salvage the galleon’s treasures. They also succeeded in recapturing Tupac Amaru.
Today, Peniche’s perfect tubular waves attracts surfers from all over the world. How many of them know that beneath those waves once lied a fortune in silver and gold?
One of the most beautiful beaches in Portugal is Miramar, near Oporto. It has a long stretch of sand bathed by green and blue water. But what makes this beach so special, is an old church built on rocks by the sea on the same place where there was once a pagan temple.
As we entered the church courtyard, we felt surrounded by the sea; dazzled by its sight, soothed by its sound, intoxicated by its scent.
It is easy to understand why this location has been a place of worship for centuries. Faced with such immense beauty, how can we not give thanks to its creator?