We woke in Estremoz. Finished business then took to the road. Stayed on the white and green roads, must say I thought of dad as I drove those roads (Amy navigates) and got to shift/downshift as we made our way, perfect driving and no one on the road.
Lunched in Castelo Branco, finished the day at our northern favorite, Belmonte. We are now away from the land of cork and terracotta. Tomorrow we go to a factory for Burel, boiled and carded wool – the new addition to our line – up on the Estrella Dosa, the “mountains” of Portugal and the land of the tastiest sheep cheese one can have.
Boa noite.photo-2We have left the mountains and are now in the central part of Portugal. Stone buildings, rivers, small clustered villages, pastoral beauty. Not to say high speed freeways and modern times are not visible as well. That just wouldn’t be Portugal, too small a country for both not to be side by side.

Yesterday we met with the two Louroso brothers who make the Barro Negro. Had lunch at another favored restaurant that serves their dishes from the Barro negro – broad beans, small pieces of pork with rice, and a type of bitter green fresh at this time, like collard.
Large mushrooms and asparagus, both found in the fields, not cultivated, were a part of the menu further south. Here spring is a little slower coming, though we did see lilacs yesterday.

Our night brought us back to Quinta de tres rios, a large stone manor home, turned “English b&b” by Hugh and Jane. We hear the rivers and birds from our high ceiling room with tall French doors wide open overlooking their fields. We were asked to share their dinner with them and other guests. This is the couple I want Chuck and I to learn how to smoke meats from, that has always been their line of business. We drank their own wine as well (rose and red). They have created quite the life. Politics, ooh, stay away from that area of conversation though, a bit conspiracy theorists.
Today, Wednesday, we head further north to the city where the cotton and linen factories are, embroidery is done, and where Portugal began, Guimaraes.

Atalago, until later.photo-3Today was the weekly market in Barcelos. We found what we came for, a bolt – 25 meters – of linen for our future bag project (shoes, bread, toiletries …). My sewing machine given to me years ago for my birthday will finally be put to work. We also decided to pursue two other options for the Bitters Co. line: a basket style (size to be determined) and a style if glazed pottery that is fresh and utilitarian. All to be tested.
It is Thursday night. Carol is with her family, Michelle holds down the fort in Fremont. Tomorrow Meaghan brings fresh air into the barn studio. Thank you all.
Family, we love you.
We head into Porto tomorrow, a new city for us.
Boa Noite.photo-4We are here in the other city, already missing the country. A tighter city, more tourists, well we can say we favor Lisbon, but maybe too soon. Arrived at 6 p.m., wandered down to the Douro.
Dinner in one of the older cafes of the city. Then entertained serendipitously in the street with fireworks and a symphony set in open windows of an apartment building.
Now to sleep with the songs of college students in the streets. We think we might go back to the country tomorrow night, our last here this trip.
K and A