Days rarely form any pattern here, there are some routines of course, but most days are different and, it seems, most months too. February this year is certainly a change from previous ones and so our time spent here is too. We wake as the sun is just nudging over the hills and usually it’s me who is up first to walk the dog and let the chickens out. The cloudless days we’ve had all this winter means that there’s a frost most mornings so hat, scarf and gloves are always donned before leaving the house. Invariably the chicken water needs to be unfrozen. Slowly but surely many of the plants in the veg patch are wilting under the regular frosts, we had very few last year.
Come elevenses the sun is in the courtyard and the first break of the day from whatever chores we are doing means a sit in the sun. The other day we decided to take the afternoon off and do some geocaching, something we haven’t done so much of recently but the weather was perfect for a walk. First was lunch, we found a great new restaurant in Santiago da Guarda and had the menu of the day: soup, lamb stew, pud, wine, water and coffees for 6.50 euros each. Stuffed we headed off for the walk – a 10km circular hike with 16 geocaches to be found. And what a lovely walk! I was so surprised that there was such wonderful, undiscovered countryside near us. There were meadows with the first of the orchids, glades, covered forests, amazing gorges with rock-climbers braving the heights, steep hills and even a pond or two for the dog to cool down.
In fact the air was so clear it was possible to see Figueira da Foz and the sea from one of the hilltops. You can see more pics and get more info (in Portuguese) from this site here. The pond in the first photo is the same one as above and yes, we did walk up the mountain in the background. Not surprisingly I was completely knackered by the end of the trip, it had taken hours, and as we headed home the sun was calling it a day too. This meant the temperature plummeting and soon, as all nights now, we were relaxing in front of a roaring fire. I’m not sure what tomorrow will bring but am certain that we’ll return to this beautiful spot in the near future.