Feeling badly that Garin had been cooped in the house for so long, yesterday, Pedro, my late-cousin Sylvia's husband, suggested that we take a trip out to the countryside, where he has a house, Since Pedro had Covid recently, he felt more comfortable being around Garin (with masks on, of course).
It was an absolutely lovely day. It was nice to venture out of town and "not see any more Portuguese churches" as Pedro put it. We drove along the Atlantic ocean as well as some beautiful rivers, of which there is an abundance in Portugal.
After some sustenance from one on of our local bakeries, we headed out in the morning to pick up Pedro at his flat, not far away from where ours is. Garin was excited to spend the day out of the house and finally see some of the north of Portugal.
Okay, Pedro sort of lied. We did visit one church (Santa Luzia, Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Viana do Castelo). But the views of the Atlantic Ocean and Limia River were so breathtaking from high atop the hill, that it didn't count as just another church visit. The church was stunning as well, by the way, and well worth the visit.
From there we went to town and had pastries, of course. You work up quite an appetite when you're visiting churches. Pedro treated the kids and me to some goodies from a well-known bakery in this charming town. We also got lucky and happened upon a local band, along with a group of traditionally dressed Portuguese girls (accompanying the band) in the town center. The town center was filled with beautiful old buildings dating back to the 16th century. https://porto-north-portugal.com/viana-do-castelo-portugal.html
From there we continued to drive up the coast and enjoy the views until we reached a restaurant for lunch that Pedro had in mind for lunch. It right on the water with the freshest seafood imaginable and breathtaking views of the Atlantic ocean. They brought all the available fish for the day right to your table to see so we could choose which one we wanted and then took it away to be freshly grilled. It was delicious!
After lunch, we headed to Pedro's house in Caminha. Pedro and my cousin Sylvia built this summer house, about an hour outside Porto, with sweeping views of the Minho River and Spain in the distance across, nearly 40 years ago.. The house was filled with love, family memories, and an incredible feeling of serenity. Pedro and I sat on the porch together and reminisced about loved ones who are no longer with us (his wife Sylvia, my mom and dad, as well as both my dad's siblings). While we talked, the kids ran around his expansive and perfectly cared for garden (filled with fruit trees, hydrangeas, roses and so many other of my favorite plants), all of which he has planted himself over the years. The weather was indescribably perfect, with a sapphire blue sky, a gentle coastal breeze and the temperature hovering around 70 degrees. It was so magical that I found it quite difficult to leave.