Saturday, July 12, 2008

Setubal Peninsula - Portugal

It had been a while since we had taken the girls on an "adventure" in Portugal. Matt will be heading to Italy soon for nine days and, shortly thereafter, the girls and I will head to the U.S. to visit and where Olivia will be a flower girl in a wedding. So, we really wanted to take advantage of family time this weekend.

We headed to the Setubal Peninsula. Specifically, Arrabida. The Arrabida National Park covers two beaches that the locals of Lisbon like to head to. We chose a hike that lead to one of the beaches. We found ourselves winding up steep roads overlooking the ocean. The views were breathtaking (though, pulling over for pictures at the most stunning spots was impossible). After an hour of driving, we found our starting point for the hike. The approach was very steep and a bit dangerous, especially when carrying a child on your back. We ended up taking the girls out of their carriers and Matt helped get the girls down to flatter ground. We should have worn pants, because all of us got a bit scratched up!

After the steepest and rockiest parts, kids back in their carriers, we enjoyed the rest of the rocky hike, frequent views of the ocean causing us to stop and admire the view. Eventually, we found ourselves walking down steps toward caves leading into the sea. Olivia pretended that she could hear Gollum talking. When we were out of the caves and finally walking toward the beach and restaurants, she proclaimed, "Daddy, I can't hear Gollum anymore!"

Lila and Mom take a break and enjoy the sea breeze

As we entered the beach area, we realized were were starving, therefore, quickly stopped at a restaurant. Octopus salad was quickly put in front of us, as an appetizer, and Lila, Matt and I gobbled it right up, while Liv dined on bread and complained that she didn't have butter.

Octopus salad and vinho verde

It was over a Euro for each pad of butter so we didn't allow it at our table. Our guidebook suggested that we not miss out on the local dish, caldeirada and it did not disappoint. Matt was hesitant to try it, however, noticing that I really wanted to try it, the foodie that I am, and noting that the dish served two people, he tested it and out and, of course, enjoyed it.

Matt hiked back up to our car, while the girls and I hung out on the beach. The girls made friends with a few locals.

Liv and Matt take a beach stroll

Lila finds a ditch to dig in

Who needs the radio when Lila sings all the way home!

I know that several of my friends' toddlers' no longer nap. I believe them when they tell me that they've outgrown them...yet, I don't quite grasp it because my two toddlers desperately require naps. Today, Lila fell asleep on my back for a good while. As we walked the mile or so to or car mid-afternoon, Olivia fell asleep on Matt's back. She was so sleepy, she was delirious. As we got her into the car, her head rocked side to side, her eyes rolled into the back of her head, and she mumbled sentences Matt and I could not understand. She continued to sleep all the way home. Later, we had little trouble getting her to bed...I guess we can say we all had a full, exhausting day...and tomorrow...the beach, park, dinner in Lisbon...who knows!


The Smith's said...

Hiking with a child on your back can be scary at times.

Looks like a very fun day!

Don't know about the octopus-- was it good? What does it taste like?

Both dishes look yummy.

Have fun tomorrow.

Angie said...

That meal sounds really yummy!

Natalie said...

The octopus tastes a bit like calamari (unfried). This was seasoned with olive oil, white wine vinegar (I think), cilantro, garlic and onions.

Garlic haters would not survive in Portugal. It's in EVERYTHING. In the year I've been here, I don't recall eating a dish w/o it. I don't even know how a chef could accomodate someone who couldn't eat/didn't want garlic.

Kristin & Jeff said...

Pictures were great. Looks like a super fun time with the family. I am not sure about the octopus. Maybe I would give it a try... the other dish looked very yummy. Not sure I would do well in Portugal...Im not a big garlic eater! Im sure I can get used to it. Before we moved to Alaska I wasn't big into Salmon or Halibut - but now I love it!!

Katie said...

So, what exactly is vinho verdo? I would LOVE it there. Garlic is my very best friend. I miss cooking the way I used to (yummy new recipes from scratch). I need to quit the toddler food and get back to making the good stuff again. I miss garlic! :)

My dad is a very exotic cook. We grew up eating squid and octopus...most of the world does. It cracks me up how squeamish Americans are about it! I guess it is a little weird looking...

Your trip looks wonderful!

brenda said...

MY OH MY...So, when do you want visitors??? It looks GORGEOUS! I love your photos of you and the new best friend!