But first, we'd walk along the ancient cobbled road, past beautiful stonework, well-tended vegetable gardens, and, everywhere, grapevines. We'd pass the villagers who would walk each morning from their homes clustered together in the village (not wasting any of the arable valley bottom) to work their fields, and we'd call out Bom dias (good day) or, after noon, Boa tarde (good afternoon, often abbreviated to Bo'tar). One day, I called out Bo'tar to two women working together and chatting, and one of them laughed and corrected me -- it wasn't yet 11:30, never mind afternoon. I got the gist, laughed, and modified my greeting to Bom dias, but she carried on in Portuguese, clearly wanting to chat, until I managed my "no falo Portuguese" (I don't speak Portuguese). She nodded her understanding, but then marvellously, through a mixture of gesture and simple words, she suggested that even though she and I couldn't speak the same language, we could communicate in many ways.
Outside the village, we could walk through the verdant country along roads rarely shared, passing beautiful ruins like this,
or again, this,
We weren't brave enough to step inside this probable shepherd's shelter, especially since the opening was about two feet above the road level so some scrambling would have been required. But we did admire the stonework. Here's another one.
And everywhere, beautiful wildflowers. I was especially impressed to see so much Lavendula stoechas, or what we call Spanish lavender and buy at the nursery as a bit exotic, just growing roadside.
So much more I could show you, and a few more things I probably will over the next few weeks. A week in this beautiful rural area was a perfect complement to our busy urban days in Paris, and we would happily return to Portugal. What about you? Have you ever been? Would you like to go?