Portugal, Day 13 – October 2, 2017


Nick was disappointed with the breakfast choices because there were no cakes, pies, or other desserts. He satisfied himself with scrambled eggs with bacon and a croissant. My breakfast was scrambled eggs, banana yogurt, and a Portuguese roll.

Mutiny was beginning in the ranks. Some of our companions were saying that they were getting tired of cathedrals. Surprise! There were to be no cathedrals today! Instead we went to a ceramics studio, where we observed all stages of the making of ceramic tiles. We saw the women who, slowly and painstakingly,  yet expertly, apply the various  glazes before the pieces are fired in the kilns.

Then we learned that each of us would  create a tile of our own! We had a choice of choosing a stencil or working freehand. Nick and I, at different tables, chose stencils. Each paper stencil had many tiny holes, on top of which, graphite was sprinkled. When you add your glazes, you can’t see the graphite. I proceeded slowly, using a brush that was very difficult with which to work. I noticed that the women on either side of me did not choose stencils. They were creative, yet diligent. Their  finished tiles were so beautiful that the owner of the studio was impressed. My work was a struggle. Someone at my table offered to exchange brushes with me. I felt vindicated when she asked, “How did you use this awful brush?” Nick had the same brush issues at his table.

After leaving the studio, we went to Conímbriga Roman Ruins at which homes, shops and baths from the second and third centuries can be seen along with amazingly detailed mosaic floors. This was similar to Villa Casale in Sicily, but on a smaller scale.

Back in town, we went to a shop that sells works from the studio we had visited earlier in the morning.  We chose a decorative plate for our kitchen. After that, it was time for lunch. We decided to return to the restaurant at which  had  dinner the night before. We shared an appetizer of carpaccio, a salad topped with prosciutto and cheese, and for the main course, Portuguese bread covered by shrimp broth  with shrimp and garlic. We each drank white sangria. Nick’s dessert was panna cotta, while mine was fruit salad.  The cost of the entire delicious meal was €8.

Earlier, one of our companions said she had purchased too much wine to take home, so she decided to share some  with anyone who wanted to join her on the hotel patio that evening. Of course, everyone wanted to join her! Before we left the restaurant, I asked the waiter where the nearest supermarket was located, and he drew me a picture! We bought some grapes for the wine and cheese party.

At 5 PM, we saw that our fellow travelers must have found the supermarket, as well. Some brought chips, and  others, dips. There were many kinds of cheeses, cookies,  and pastries. They were  happy to see that we had brought something healthy!


The party was followed by a fado performance. This time, the singers were men, a tenor and a baritone. They, too, were accompanied by guitarists, and we were enraptured by their performance. We bought their CD to enjoy at home.

We  didn’t feel the need for dinner, assuming that we would find a gelato shop on our way back to  our hotel. Unfortunately, the shops were all closed by the time we left the fado performance. As we walked, we passed a group of four university students dressed in robes  as in the Harry Potter books.

9610 steps.

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