Azeitão – Friends on the Road, Portugal 9/13
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.