We arrived in Caldas de Rainha not long after our stop at the beach in Nazaré. We met up with Laurent’s friend Carla, who showed us to the local hotel, the Sana Silver Coast Hotel, which was located right across from a beautiful park. After checking in, we ambled through the side streets and went to have coffee. We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening together and cooked dinner at Carla’s. She gave us a short list of places to visit during our stay in her region, and we made note of places to explore the next day.
After breakfast at the hotel, we set out to explore the nearby beach towns and went to Santo Martinho do Porto, a tiny fishing village that seemed to be very very sleepy when we arrived. We strolled along the bay and checked out the sites. We drove a
bit through the region and then decided to go back to the hotel so that Louis could nap before our lunch date. Louis has a hard time napping unless he is in his own bed; we tried to encourage him to sleep in his stroller, but he wasn’t having it. For lunch, we met up with Carla and went to a little café that offered just a few lunch plates, but we each had a different one and they were very good, and only 5€ per plate.
For the afternoon, we went to Foz do Arelho, another beautiful beach town and had a drink in a little hut by the sea. The view was perfect looking out over the Atlantic framed by cliffs off in the distant. A few brave surfers were paddling about in the waves. The light was golden and perfect; Louis played in the sand while we had a drink. After the sunset, Carla directed us to a little village in the middle of nowhere to eat a traditional Portuguese dinner. The décor was busy and kitschy with a horse theme everywhere.
There was a huge fireplace that doubled as a barbeque pit in the area where we were sitting. The meat and seafood was cooked directly over the flames. We were again served copious quantities of food, little appetizers of olives, a cheese similar to feta but creamier with a delicious pumpkin spread eaten with bread. The main course was grilled octopus with potatoes and broccoli. One order was enough for three or four people to easily share. Carla warned us that unknowing tourists sometimes order one plate for each person and they wind up with mountains of food that they could never eat by themselves.
A common practice in Portugal is to order a half order, or in the case of this restaurant, a quarter of an order. The three of us didn’t even finish our whole dinner. Dessert came out on a large tray and everyone could choose their own. Laurent and I shared a custard, but I was so full from dinner that I only had a few little bites to taste it. We returned to the hotel after dinner to rest up for the next leg of the trip…Lisbon.
To be continued…