Tuesday, October 12, 2010

September 23-25 - At Home in Viano do Castelo

It was only a matter of time before Tracy found somewhere she "would like to live", and so we've found our first potential home in Portugal.

In no particular order, the reasons Tracy likes Viana do Castelo are:
1. It has a beautiful beach – our campsite was right next to a wild golden sandy beach, good for surfing and windsurfing.
2. It's close to Spain, just over an hour to Galicia – we wouldn't want all our (now almost forgotten) learning Spanish to be in vain.
3. It's a pretty place – this was a boom town in the 17th century, when all the riches from Portugal's far flung empire were pouring back to the Mother Country. So there's lots of old sea captains' mansions and ornate churches from these times.
4. It's green and there's lots of grass – fortunately, we didn't see any of the rain that must cause this greenery.
5. It's cheap – everything seems about one-third of the prices in Spain.
6. It seems like a lively town.

In fact, Number 6 was based on our first trip into at around 5pm, when the streets were packed with people. When we went to the Tourist Office and asked them if there were any events going on, he said that there would be folkloric singing and dancing in the main square at 10 the next day – perfect for a night out. So, the next evening, we went out for the night, to have a meal and a drink before the show. However, the place appeared deserted – all the restaurants were like the Marie Celeste. We eventually found one place we liked the look of, but were told that everything we chose was "finish", and then they put the closed sign up on the door at 9.30. Then we looked in the local paper, and saw that the dancing had in fact already taken place at 10am – this is not a late night town. Eventually, we found a restaurant that had food, and had customers (all 7 of them) – when asked where all the people were, the waiter replied that, "in Portugal, people like to sleep".

Maybe this is a town to retire to.