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Our Trip to Portugal Winter of 2002


Nadia in front of the castle Montemor-o-Velho near CoimbraIn the winter of 2002 my daughter Nadia and I took a trip to Portugal. We rented a car in Munich and we stopped in Innsbruck for some fun ski. After we went to St-Moritz in Switzerland and we went to Milano, Italy from there we followed the Cote D'azur to Spain and eventually to Portugal. On our way back we also stopped at the beaches around Perpignan.

After a long drive, we were happy to enter the country in Vilar Formosa, Portugal near Viseu. We usually stop there for a quick lunch to taste the great Portuguese food. We always find that there is more variety in the Portuguese cuisine than the Spanish one.

From Vilar Formosa we take the road from Vilar Formosa Viseu to Aveiro and turn south to Mealhada and eventually to my village. I am not sure if this road Vilar Formosa - Aveiro portion has tolls, but back in 2002, there was none. When our holidays were done in Portugal we took the same road back. We had a major incident, maybe I should say minor, but it could have been costly for our car rental. I wanted to take pictures of the mountains near Guarda. I stopped the car in one of those runaway truck ramps also called an emergency escape ramp, it was filled with gravel. I thought was a normal road from far. I was stuck with my wheels covered gravel almost up to the door. I could not get out on my own the wheels were spinning. Nadia started to cry, not far there was a phone for emergency. I was going through my options when many cars stopped to help us. I did not wave at anybody and here they stopped. I was hoping that nobody would get injured because people were crowding the highway and people were driving like maniacs. One pulled a cable and pulled my car out, I was praying that the rental car the Opel will not get damaged. Once we were out of trouble, I checked the car, there was not a scratch on it. Praise God, that was a miracle. I was so proud of how the Portuguese people came to our rescue. I was proud of being Portuguese. We had so many rocks everywhere. I could hear rocks stuck in the engine and other places all the way to Germany.

We had a great time visiting my parents and my other relatives. Nadia enjoyed spending Christmas in Portugal for the first time. We stayed at my parents in Serredade near Cantanhede. My dad worked at the church, giving communion to older folks who could not attend church. Dad often brought Nadia with him on his motorcycle. He loved her very much. Nadia was her first granddaughter.

Nadia also loved going to the little bump cars in Mira back then it was still pretty cheap. The weather in winter can be quite pleasant but there are some days when it rains. But, there is not much you can do in winter outdoor in Mira and in our region. All the water sports are out of question, the water is too cold. Some brave souls surf in Mira in the winter, but they wear wetsuits.

In the mountains in the Serra d'Estrela you can ski and snowboard. I was tempted to go there, but the narrow mountain roads, icy conditions and distance made me change my mind even if I had winter tires.

We also visited my cousin Mario Espada and his wife in Anadia. We had an excellent meal. My cousin Isabel Cruz was also there. There was also a Portuguese girl, from New-Jersey with her Cuban husband. He got along well in Portuguese. During the supper out of the blue my aunt Altina said that my Portuguese was awful. This was the first time that somebody told me something like that. I asked my mom and she told me my that Portuguese language skills were great. I felt better.

I think this is the year we went fishing with my cousin Mario, Rui and my grandfather in Figueira da Foz. We caught a lot of fish thanks to my cousin Mario, it rained a little bit, Isabel could not believe that we will be fishing in the rain, but we had a lot of fun. I think this is the trip when my grand-pa came with us.

We also had some other excursions to Bussaco, Coimbra and Montemor-o-Velho. Nadia loved to visit the ramparts of the castle. We also went to the old church. Overall this was an excellent trip as usual it is very heart breaking to leave my parents. There is always so much crying when we leave. My heart aches for days.



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Relatives of my cousin Mario Espada in Anadia
Relatives of my cousin Mario Espada in Anadia

Myself withe my daughter  Nadia, Patricia and Melissa Cruz
Myself withe my daughter Nadia, Patricia and Melissa Cruz

At my uncle Alcides Candido, Ana Bela's son
At my uncle Alcides Candido, Ana Bela's son

Se Velha de Coimbra cloister
Se Velha de Coimbra cloister
Nadia by the tower of Coimbra University
Nadia by the tower of Coimbra University

Nadia in Costa Nova
Nadia in Costa Nova

Celeste, Mario e Jessica Espada
Celeste, Mario e Jessica Espada

Nadia in the Sunday market in Febres (a feira)
Nadia in the Sunday market in Febres (a feira)

Myself at my house in Serredade
Myself at my house in Serredade

Nadia at the airport showing illegal items
Nadia at the airport showing illegal items

Nadia looking through a window of Montemor-o-Velho Castle
Nadia looking through a window of Montemor-o-Velho Castle

Nadia eating and drinking at a the restaurant right on the sand at the Praia de Mira
Nadia eating and drinking at a the restaurant right on the sand at The Praia de Mira

Praia de Mira Chapel, the church of the fisher-women
Praia de Mira Chapel

My daughter Nadia standing on the big Praia de Mira sand dunes
My daughter Nadia standing on the big Praia de Mira sand dunes

Nadia Candido standing in front of the massive waves of the Atlantic (Praia de Mira)
Nadia Candido standing in front of the massive waves of the Atlantic (Praia de Mira)

Nadia standing on top of the fortress of  Montemor-o-Velho near Figeira de Foz
Nadia standing on top of the fortress of Montemor-o-Velho near Figeira de Foz

Near Guarda, leaving Portugal going towards Spain
Near Guarda, leaving Portugal going towards Spain

Nadia helping grandpa
Nadia helping grandpa

Nadia in front of our Christmas tree
Nadia in front of our Christmas tree

My Mom, Nadia and I enjoying the winter weather in Serredade, Portugal
My Mom, Nadia and I enjoying the winter weather in Serredade

Praia de Mira restaurant, what a view???
Praia de Mira restaurant, what a view???

Nadia having a lot of fun with the bump cars in Praia de Mira
Nadia having a lot of fun with the bump cars in Praia de Mira

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