We have been in Portugal for almost three and a half weeks now which means we have a week and a half left. It is crazy how quickly time has gone by but also, looking back at pictures from our first few days here it seems like a million years ago. We have done and seen so much in such a short span of time that our perception of time has been totally skewed.
One of the things we have been doing here in Portugal is called workaway. http://www.Workaway.info is a website that connects travelers who are willing to do some light work for room and board and hosts who are willing to offer rooms and food for people willing to do light work. So, we set up two of these in Portugal. One of them was for just over a week, the other for just under two weeks. It makes traveling to a different country much more affordable and also offers the traveler a chance to see aspects of local life they would never otherwise get to experience.
It is important to note before I go any further that we have not stayed with any Portuguese people during this experience. In fact, both of our hosts have been Dutch. They have however been living in Portugal for numerous years and have a good understanding of the culture. It has also led us to learn much more about Dutch culture. One interesting fact about the Dutch, their word for corn sounds like mice. So, when a Dutch person tells you they are “boiling the mice for dinner” don’t panic like we might have.
Staying with people who know the area, as I said, has afforded us the chance to do things tourists simply don’t get to do. One of these things was a Sardinia. The Sardinia was part of a week long festival celebrating the harvest and a saint who’s name I am not sure of. Every night for a week, in the center of this very small village everyone gathers and feasts on the nights food for the cost of a donation of your choosing. They also serve free wine out of pop bottles. The night we went the food being served was grilled sardines, bread, tomato salad, and boiled potatoes; it was delicious. The way in which the sardines were grilled was very interesting to me as the volunteers had lit a large fire in the middle of the town, which happened to be a round-about. Once the fire has died down they placed over the coals large racks full of sardines. After flipping them once they were stored in Styrofoam containers until it was time to eat. Once the food and wine began to flow it was a mad rush for food. Everyone was pushing in tighter and honestly it felt like you were in…well it felt like you were in a can of sardines. I think it is important to note that this festival has been going on for hundreds and hundreds of years in the same way it is done today.
There have been many other incredible things that we have been able to do since we have been here but I think for now I will leave it at the Sardinia.
Until next time.