Azeitão – Friends on the Road, Portugal 9/13

October 31, 2013

After a final look at Lisbon from the viewing area at the Christ monument, we headed south to the small community of Azeitão. Soares Periquito had seen my name in Overlander’s Handbook I had contributed to and had been following our blogs for over a year. He had repeatedly invited us to visit when we reached Portugal. It would be hard to imagine a nicer gentleman or a more hospitable family.

Allowing us to stay in his guesthouse, we visited some of the interesting attractions in the area, including the fabulous Bacalhôa winery, museum and palace with their amazing collection of art. On other days, with Soares as our guide, we explored along the coast to see some of Portugal’s beautiful beaches, stopping to taste regional specialties like the creamy Tortas de Azeitão. One morning we arranged a fun meeting with some of the members of the local four-wheel-drive club Soares belongs to. We gathered at a nearby park and invited them to come and see our expedition truck.

During our stay at Soares’s beautiful home, we thoroughly enjoyed getting to know his wonderful family. His wife Rita insisted on treating us to some of her gourmet cooking and we managed to offer them a couple of our favorite dishes from California and Mexico. Soares is an avid four-wheel-drive enthusiast and traveler so he was interested in learning a little of Gary’s experiences on four Camel Trophies. Going over our maps, he showed us some of the places we should visit. As an IT specialist he also spent hours helping Monika sort out our Internet and phone connection problems.

Our brief stay in Azeitão gave us an opportunity to catch up a little bit and get off the road for a few days. The hospitality by Soares and his family was really overwhelming. We can only hope they will visit us in California someday.

As much as we would have loved to continue and see more of southern Portugal, after looking at the overall map of Europe, we realized how far away Turkey was. We still had many countries to visit on the way. Despite our motto: “Don’t take the trip. Let the trip take you”, we knew we had to be in Turkey with time to organize our most difficult leg of the trip and to arrange visas for all the Stans and China.

One of the specialties of Portugal we always wanted to learn more about was the cork region so we pried ourselves away from the coast and headed east. Fall was in the air.

Soares Visit 01

Being a 4X4 enthusiast, Soares got a big smile when he saw my Madagascar Camel Trophy “You Made It” machete.

 

Soares Visit 02

Monika and Soares checked our maps, marking many spots we could visit on our way south in Portugal.

Monika and Soares checked our maps, marking many spots we could visit on our way south in Portugal.

As an IT specialist Soares was able to solve some of our Internet and phone connection problems. Our VodaPhone Europasim-card is an ongoing problem.

As an IT specialist Soares was able to solve some of our Internet and phone connection issues. Our VodaPhone Europasim-card is an ongoing problem.

We enjoyed many fabulous meals with the Soares’s family. Rita was a gourmet cook.

We enjoyed many fabulous meals with Soares’s family. Rita was a gourmet cook.

Soares Visit 05

A short tour down the coast gave us views of some beautiful beaches to tempt us later.

A short tour down the coast gave us views of some beautiful beaches to tempt us later.

More than a great winery, the Bacalhôa museum had among other items a fabulous African art collection dedicated to Nelson Mandela.

More than a great winery, the Bacalhôa museum had among other items a fabulous African art collection dedicated to Nelson Mandela.

Soares Visit 09 Soares Visit 10 Soares Visit 11

Once a private palace, the gardens and mansion of the Bacalhôa winery and museum have been restored to their original beauty.

Once a private palace, the gardens and mansion of the Bacalhôa winery have been restored to their original beauty.

Soares Visit 14

A previous owner of the Bacalhôa winery had acquired this classic statue of Abraham Lincoln.

A previous owner of the Bacalhôa winery had acquired this classic statue of Abraham Lincoln.

Soares Visit 12

Rescued from a flooded valley of the new dam and lake on the Portuguese/Spanish border, this olive tree was over 300 years old.

Rescued from a flooded valley of the new dam and lake on the Portuguese/Spanish border, this olive tree was over 300 years old.

Soares insisted we had to try the locally famous Tortas de Azeitao. The recipe dates back to 1901.

Soares insisted we had to try the locally famous Tortas de Azeitão. The recipe dates back to 1901.

Soares Visit 18

Some of Soares’s 4X4 club members were excited to come for a quick tour of The Turtle V.

Some of Soares’s 4X4 club members were excited to come for a quick tour of The Turtle V.

The Editors of the Portuguese magazine REVISTA 4X4 & AUTOMÓVEIS XXXXX did an interview with us. The Turtle V may be on the cover of the next issue.

The Editors of the Portuguese magazine REVISTA 4X4 & AUTOMÓVEIS Manolo & Gloria Oliveira did an interview with us. The Turtle V may be on the cover of the next issue.

 

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