Lousal

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In Zambujeira there’s a big billboard advertising an Intermarché supermarket in the next village, just 3 km away it says, so we thought we’d stop there on our way out to buy some groceries. It was more like double the distance away, and the signage was poor. At the final roundabout it wasn’t clear which exit we should take, and of course we took the wrong one. As is often the case in rural Portugal, there are few side streets or places to turn around on the main roads, so by the time we got back to the roundabout to take the correct exit, we’d done another 5km.

With grocery shopping done, we set off for the Roman ruins at Miróbriga. The visitor centre was closed for lunch when we arrived, but by the time we’d had our own lunch and had a read of our books, they’d opened again. 

In the complex there’s the remains of some shops and houses, a bath house and the forum, and it’s all in an excellent condition. The pavements we were walking on were apparently the original ones. We spent a good hour there wandering around, and had the whole place to ourselves, so it was excellent value for the €3 admission fee. I thought I’d taken loads of photos, but like a numpty I hadn’t put the memory card back in the camera last night, and the camera didn’t give any warnings, so I don’t have any photos to share. However there are loads of images here so you can get the idea. 

We continued on our way, winding through the countryside and tiny villages, most of which seem like ghost towns as there are so few people about. The Portuguese have an excellent way of slowing traffic down through these villages. The speed limit reduces from 90kmh to 70kmh and then to 50kmh. However when it changes to 50kmh there’s a speed sensor, and if you’re going over 50kmh it sets a traffic light to red so that you have to stop. Having been watching this for the past couple of weeks, it seems to work really well, and is far more effective than speed humps or cameras. I guess we’ll never see this in the UK though as there’s too much money to be made from speed camera fines. 

We’re now parked up on a lovely (free) aire in Lousal. It’s an old mining town, and what’s left of the mine has been turned into a museum. We’ve been for a stroll around the area, but gave the museum a miss. 

When we were in Zambujeira, there was a French family on the next pitch who had an outdoor kitchen, so nosey sods that we are, we were watching what they were cooking. They seemed to like cooking one pot dishes, which are great as it’s less faff and less washing up too. For dinner tonight, Carol took inspiration from them and cooked up a one pot meal which we’ve called ‘coq au van’ – basically coq au vin but with rice instead of potatoes. It was absolutely delicious, so we’ll be trying more dinners like this. 

Mike

Coq au van

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