Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Sunday 8th October: uphill all the way.

Our day started at 7:40am inside a cloud. Everything was damp and misty and quiet, and we found a long, long line of very busy ants transporting eggs across the road. It was about 10-12m of ant - quite impressive, apart from the fact that there was a little puddle in the middle of a manhole cover which was messing things up for them big time. A few would just fall in and drown - but more than half of them would get confused, turn around and go back the way they came - apparently ants have no sense of direction. The rest went around it, so at least some progress was being made.

The cloud lifted, the sun came out, we packed up and, careful not to interrupt the line of ants, left the campsite. We climbed up to Valpacos, seeing some very nice houses along the way in Possacos, and Valpacos itself turned out to be quite lovely too. We looked out for a padaria (bakery) but they were all shut, as were all the other shops - then we remembered it was Sunday. So we stopped at a cafe and had some nice pastries, lemonade and ham and cheese sandwiches.

We continued with a climb up out of Valpacos, to Vassal, followed by a climb to Algeriz (are you detecting a theme here?) then we found a nice lookout point to sit down for a while. There was also a sign to a rural tourism centre about 1km away - so, despite having only been fourteen miles today, it had been a ridiculously tough 14 miles - nearly all uphill and in baking heat.

The "rural tourism centre" turned out to be a lovely little farm in a quiet village, overlooking a fantastic view. A bit expensive at 50euro but well worth it. We went to sit by the pool and take in the view and a bit of sunshine, and the owner brought us out a bowl of delicious home grown grapes. This was followed by a full tour of the fruit trees, and sampling of real live delicious figs. We've never had real figs before, only in fig rolls. We tried to explain the concept of fig rolls but I think the impression we gave was that England has the most fabulous fig cakes. Since there were no restaurants around, they cooked us a fantastic dinner for 5 euros a head - homemade bread and super-strong wine, vegetable soup, then bean and seafood stew, followed by more fruit. They were very friendly and we had an excellent stay.

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