The plane from Lisbon arrived at the Terminal 3 gate yesterday at 5:15PM. The plane stopped, the engines wound down, passengers started getting things from the overhead bins, and then the pilot announced that there were large lineups in Canadian Customs and that they had been asked to hold all passengers until the lines had cleared.

At 6:30 the pilot announced that there were now nine planes waiting to debark and that our plane was number 3 in the queue. At 7:00 he received the OK to release his passengers. So . . . just about a 2 hour wait on the tarmac.

It took an hour to wind through all of the Canadian Customs lines and pick up our baggage. I was in contact with our limo driver through this and there was not even a suggestion that he would abandon us without a ride to New Hamburg. Cudos to BlackCarWaterloo and our driver.

We arrived home last night about 9:00PM - so this is officially the start of our self-quarantine. It will end March 30th at 9:00PM.

Today we have been unpacking and putting everything back where it belongs. The pile of laundry in the living room is enormous so the washer and dryer will be humming most of the day. I have inspected all of the food stuff placed in the house by Glenn and Bronwen, started soaking some beans, and am trying to figure out what we will eat today. We need a good dietary shake and today is the day it starts. We have been eating too much good Portuguese bread, chorizo and cheese and have been drinking far too much wine - well maybe just drinking too much.

We have been spending a lot of time reading the world news about coronavirus and its enormous humanitarian and economic impact. We will not spend the next 14 days reading everything we can find on the subject and instead try to make ourselves more useful.

We are going to join the Stonecroft jigsaw challenge.

Stonecroft Jigsaw Challenge - the days will get longer and longer for all of us. What to do! Here is an idea - all of you jigsaw puzzlers - take out a 1000 piece puzzle. Turn over the pieces. Take a picture and post it. Start your puzzle and when you finish take another picture and post it. No prizes, no pressure. Just some friendly competition. Any takers?

This was (and still is) to be our last night in Portugal. We arrived by bus from Portimao yesterday afternoon and were dropped off by Uber at Casa do Bairro a great little hotel that we stayed at when visiting Marcia and Jamie. It has the same charm but there is an air of uncertainty about the whole place as a result of the coronavirus.

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Lisbon is officially mandating social-distancing. Restaurants, bars, cafes, and other meeting places are being shut down to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. We had been traveling since before breakfast, through lunch and we were hungry. The plan had been to check-in and walk to the Time Out Market for late lunch/dinner but the market is closed as part of the social-distancing plan. The hotel knew of only one open restaurant and it was part of their sister hotel up the street - Madame Petisca. They called to see if they could get us a reservation (by reservation only because they were only allowing 12 guests at a time from their hotels.)

It was a tapas menu - but a good tapas menu.

menu

We ordered all of the starters and a couple of glasses of house wine. The sheep's milk butter was amazing. We also ordered the cod on a bed of spinach and the organic mixed mushrooms. These two dishes were meal-sized and wonderful. I am certain that the cod was rehydrated dried, salted cod. The mixed mushrooms were in a very tasty thick sauce with some dunking bread. The second glass of wine was in order.

It is now 3:46AM. We slept right after dinner and now we are wide awake. We will have a light breakfast at 8AM and get in the limo to the airport at 8:30 for an 11:30AM flight.

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Many of the meals that we have eaten in Portugal came with a simple yet welcome starter of marinated carrots. Sometimes they feature garlic, sometimes cumin (least favourite), but usually they are simply flavoured with a bit of chopped parsley. Here is the recipe that I intend to try when we return home.

  • parboil 2 sliced carrots until slightly soft, immerse in ice water, drain, dry, and cool.
  • combine with 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp cider vinegar, 1 tsp finely chopped parsley, 1 finely chopped garlic clove, a pinch of paprika, and a touch of salt.
  • cover, refrigerate overnight.
  • bring to room temperature and serve.

The photo above would have been used to serve 4 to 6 people with some wonderful Portuguese bread.

Richard

Faro

portugal

For our last planned excursion away from Carvoeiro I decided that we should visit the Roman Ruins at Estoi (gave up trying to find it after 45 minutes and several sweeps of the countryside) and then drive into Faro to see the 11th century gate into the walled part of the city, Faro Cathederal, the Fado Museum and the convent where the Fado Museum is located.

Carol wanted her salad photographed as one of the nicest presentations of a Caprese salad. I had goats milk cheese with honey and slivered almonds, roast chorizo, and olives. The highlight of the meal for me were the carrot pickles (1/8th inch slices, slightly cooked and served in olive oil with oregano). Then off to the Fado presentation.

Cathedral of Faro From the bell tower of Cathedral of Faro Inside the Cathedral of Faro Caprese Salad, Tertulia Algarvia Inside the Fado Museum Cloisters, Archaeological and Lapidary Museum

We will be returning from Portugal on Monday, March 16 and once we arrive home we will be imposing a precautionary self-quarantine upon ourselves to protect Canadians from any coronavirus that we may have come in contact with while travelling through Portugal and Lisbon and Toronto airports. Although this will be inconvenient, it is the appropriate and prudent action for every traveller at this time and we would not think of avoiding it.

All preparations have been made:

  • Glenn has stocked our pantry with the necessities for a 2 week quarantine
  • my pharmacy and doctor have worked out how to get our needed prescription refills to us when we return
  • barber has been contacted to reschedule my hair cut appointment

When the two weeks are up we will reassess.

Jailhouse

portugal music

I took Carol dancing for the 2nd night in a row. Back to the Jailhouse, a pub owned and operated by a couple of Brits. Mark is also the entertainment rattling off songs from the 1950s though 1990s. On the nights that we have been there about 50% of the audience were Canadians, the rest Brits. Mark is a good guitar player, has a great voice and he engages the people really well. Ali runs the bar, usually by herself, and keeps track of everbody's tab.

Mark and Ali are a lot of fun and make the evening pass very quickly.

Street Mark Ali

Praia da Rocha

portugal

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We drove to Portimao today with friends Don and Cindy. Through the miracle of telecommunications we were able to find Sue and Paul, other friends from Stonecroft for a lunch on the beautiful beach. About the beach - beautiful. The hole in the cliffs is how you get from one beach to another so long as the tide is out.

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We had managed to stay away from the cliffs for a few days and concentrate on some inland touring and walking. But they called and we were weak. We drove over to Lagos, through the town and out to Ponta da Piedade. I knew that there was a staircase down to the water - it would be 185 stairs down and then the real test of getting back. What we did not realize was that there would be a small boat at the bottem that would give us a tour of the cliff faces for 40€. We hopped (somewhat literally) into the bobbing and weaving boat for a very exciting tour. We thought the cliffs good from the top - from the bottom they are spectacular.

I just kept the camera going not knowing where it was pointed at times, hoping to get some good photos. 95 taken, here are a fast 6.

  • 2 is our captain coming to get us
  • 3 is the dock (upper left is a chicken tourist)
  • 5 braver kayakers

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I had been trying to knock-off a potato recipe that we had a week ago in Silves. I tried a couple of variations of cumin, green chilli, onion and ground pepper. Not really close.

Yesterday I went to the cook and asked for the recipe. I do not have quantities but the ingredients are garlic, onion, tomato, carrot, fresh cilantro, white wine vinegar, and garam masala. Now I just need to work on the quantities.

Segredosmouros Spicy Potatoes

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A little adventure tour with Cindy and Don. First a winery, then an eco-park, lunch in Silves (piri piri chicken), some shopping and back home.

Beautiful winery just outside Lagos. The owner is a sculptor so everywhere you turned there were larger than life sculpted animals and humans.

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A small portion of the lyrics from Fred Eaglesmith's song White Rose. Fred is from Port Dover Ontario. He does a great family picnic.

it was all we knew
it was all we had
it was all we wanted
it was good enough