On the highway we encountered a truck transporting sheets of cork on their way to be transformed. Portugal produces 50% of the world's cork, used in many industries that make wine bottle stoppers, shoes, flooring, bags and other household products very much in fashion nowadays.
Another interesting thing we saw on the highway was this type of sign a few kilometres before the petrol stations, advising the brand of the petrol provider, their distance and the price of petrol (which was the same for all of them).
First stop, the village of Carregal do Sal, where we lived before we emigrated to Australia, situated in the District of Viseu, about 40 km south of the city of Viseu and 60km north east of Coimbra.
The main church (photo from net)
We loved meeting up with old friends and some of the family, and were greeted warmly by people who hadn't seen us for a few years.
I found quite a few changes, some good, some not so good - I saw very few people on the streets and the lack of young people was worrisome, many seem to have either emigrated or moved to bigger cities, looking for work.
|Brazilian Black Bean Stew (photo from the net)|
We couldn't leave without buying cheese from Serra da Estrela, (highest mountain in Portugal, not far from this area) to take to Lisbon. The cheese is made of made of sheep's milk, and although the original cheese is from the mountain, you can also find a cheese factory in Carregal do Sal - Flor da Beira- and they won a prize for best cheese in 2014.
We should have bought cheese to bring to Australia, as it was utterly delicious, still runny in the middle, just wonderful to spread. When the cheese is cured you can easily slice it.
|Serra da Estrela cheese (photo from net)|
The three days were over too quickly and we headed further north to Braga.
On the way we found a farmer selling his fruit and vegetables by the side of the road and we stopped to buy 2 boxes of the biggest strawberries I had ever seen.