Here it was, our vacation from our vacation, as Nedjo termed it—a break in our walking routine that afforded us some lollygagging as well as catching up on some much needed chores.
We were delighted with the well equipped hostel kitchen and made a wonderful breakfast of eggs, toast, fruit and tea. After days of hotel breakfasts, it was good to be making it ourselves. Next up was doing some laundry and we were happy to find a combo laundromat, wine and beer store and penny candy emporium. While the laundry was washing itself, we found a nearby bar for a cup of cafe com leite on the outside patio.
The hostel was equipped with drying racks and a sunny courtyard, so we returned to hang our laundry in the sun before hitting the beach. I had imagined that I might swim, but it seemed a tad chilly even for this hearty Canadian. But it was lovely to laze on the beach and explore the beach beyond a rocky point that was reached by a boardwalk. We heard that Milfontes grows to 50,000 people in the height of summer and I imagine then the beach would be packed, but now it was a few families out playing and lots of people taking advantage of the calm river estuary and harbour to paddle board. We only later found out that it was a public holiday, the day of national liberation.
We walked home via the market, indulging in lots of fresh fruit, vegetables and prawns we’d cook for dinner. I had spent the previous year trying to learn Portuguese online with Duolingo, and while I was very dedicated in my studies, real world speaking was another matter. English is widely spoken, and in all our hotels and hostels staff were fluent. But in smaller shops and cafes, I was trying to use my stumbling Portuguese. I must have done okay at the market, since I left with my shopping bag loaded and with a pat on the cheek from the friendly woman who served us.
Our home cooked meal was delicious and made even better by the lively and far-reaching conversation with the only other hostel guest, Phillip from Berlin. Not only did Nedjo cook the prawns but he gamely returned to the wine store/laundromat to get them to extract the very stuck cork on my half bottle of vinho verde. Ideal qualities in a partner and walking companion.