Day 39 - A Serenada

20 January 2022

Good night sleep. Buffet breakfast. Three return trips. Cutting back. There is an Australian at breakfast. Football player. His contract didn’t work out so he is off to Turkey.

Another ferry. Knocked back on the sporty catamaran. Relegated to the car and truck ferry. Beautiful day for a ferry trip. We cruise along. Disembark at Cais Sul. A short 40 km ride to the A Serenada winery.

The ride along the peninsula is nice and flat. Straight road. No wind. Occasionally get a glimpse of the ocean. Tidal flats. Quite stunning. We round the peninsula and find ourselves in rice farms.

Stop for a coffee at Comporta. There are huge birds nesting on the roof of the buildings. Huge birds with huge nests. They are good company for bad coffee. Back on the road.

Riding in straight lines is a mind game. When the GPS has you turning here and there the trip is broken. Chunked into pieces. Interesting. Today it is 36 km. One turn. You have arrived. I exaggerate. It is 30 km to the first turn though.

Shell pulls over for a photo. I have also noticed the trees. My mind is piecing together what I am seeing. Finally. Cork trees. The world's cork for wine closures comes from Portugal. Cork trees in every direction as far as you can see. They have numbers. Explanation to follow.

We turn off. Only 4 km to our destination. Google takes us off-road. Dead end. Again. We can see our accommodation. Backtrack. A few more kilometers and we are there. Call someone. It is 1.30 pm. Check-in is not until 4.00 pm. They let us leave our bags and we head off for some lunch. Two options, 3 km to A Taberna das Sobreiras Altas or 8 km to Grândola where there are a few options. We take the 3 km option. It is closed.

We head off. 5 km to Tia Rosa. As we coast downhill the entire way I am thinking of the return trip. Uphill. Full stomach. The wine will get me there. That is what I tell myself.

It was worth the ride. Tia Rosa was excellent. We have upgraded to 1 litre jugs for our wine. A selection of black pig sausage. Duck broth soup. Slow-cooked lamb with potato. Black pig cooked over charcoal. The soup was the best I have had. Shell’s lamb was the pick of the carne.

We head home. It was a fair ride but not so bad. Check-in. Shower and sit on the balcony for our complimentary wine tasting. Our host is knowledgeable on all things Portugal. Shell’s red is from 60-year-old vines. The vines were planted when Portugal was at war with the colonies. The region was poor during this time. The man who planted the vines planted all he could afford. Random cuttings. The vineyard is a mixture of Portuguese indigenous grapes. My white is a Verdelho. The wines are well made and complex. Not a wine blog.

“Alcohol makes other people less tedious, and food less bland, and can help provide what the Greeks called entheos, or the slight buzz of inspiration when reading or writing. The only worthwhile miracle in the New Testament—the transmutation of water into wine during the wedding at Cana—is a tribute to the persistence of Hellenism in an otherwise austere Judaea.” - Christopher Hitchens

We sit out there as the sun sets. Our host tells us the numbers on the cork trees are how many years are left before the next bark is removed.

Communism is a thing here. There is an election this month. The left cannot get their financial policy through. They do not have the majority. Back to Communism. I have seen communist posters. There is a party here running. Apparently, it is a hangover from the Communist regime which was overthrown in the mid seventies. I am assured they will not get the votes.

“The skeleton in my closet carries a hammer and sickle.” ― Vera Caspary

Done for the day. We need to plan tomorrow. The trip inland is a little light on places to stay.

Read. Bed. Great day.


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