Ola from Vila do Conde
We traveled to this town along the Portuguese coast by secondary roads. The speed limit on the main roads is 120 km/hr but most cars travel much faster. I am a bit nervous at these speeds in an unknown area so we took the old road to Porto from Geres, taking a break to walk around the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus in Braga. We stopped for lunch just prior to Trofa at a small café. The family was just sitting down for their large afternoon meal. A truck driver who had just finished his meal and one of the sons who was anxious to try out some of his English skills set up a table for us and brought us a light lunch of soup and bread. As in Spain the mid-day meal in Portugal usually involves a meat and French fry extravaganza complete with considerable wine. We are considered odd with our desire for a light lunch. I cannot imagine drinking a bottle of wine then driving along these roads with their round-a-bouts, cars parked on the roadway and confusing signage. At Trofa we turned toward the coast in town, stopping in a small town that was surrounded with vineyards and dairies. We walked around and visited the cemetery. The number of fresh white lilies and other flowers on the graves was impressive.
Vila do Conde is a great coastal town only about 20 minutes from the airport at Porto. We stopped at the tourist information and picked up a map and list of accommodations. We chose two modestly priced hotels to check out and fell for the first one - a house from the 18th century that has been converted to a small hotel. The tourist season is not yet here and the hotel desk person showed us their largest room and gave us a phenomenally low price. Clyde quickly calculated that we could give up our apartment in Claremont and save money by moving into this hotel. I pointed out that although we have three palatial rooms here we have no kitchen. There are bicycle and walking paths along the ocean. –May 31, 2007