We were able to walk down the hill from our hotel with our luggage to the beautiful railway station in Porto but not before a brief visit to a coffee shop over the road from our hotel (breakfast was not included here though the hotel was lovely and central…and had lifts). How come I had been in Portugal for a few days and not one of these had passed my lips? An expresso and a custard tart! Or two! Made in heaven and oh so delicious when freshly baked!
Our trip from Porto to Lisbon was comfortable and then we took a private bus to our homestay near…….
This was something I was looking forward to. You can take the girl out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the girl! I grew up on a sheep farm before being sent off to boarding school for my secondary school education. So sheep were a familiar part of my life. From rescuing orphan lambs and feeding them with dried milk powder mixed with warm water bottles with old soft drink bottles with rubber teats to mustering sheep ready for shearing or the market was part of my childhood. And then our pet lambs were another story.
But I digress…
So I was looking forward to seeing sheep and lambs who were bred for milk and not for wool and meat as was our situation. I can imagine my father turning over in his grave at the thought of milking thousands of sheep rather than shearing them!
The cheese from the ewes (the female sheep) milk was produced on the farm was sold to local supermarkets though we were given the chance to sample it before our dinner. Although it was an acquired taste it was delicious – both the fresh cheese and the aged one.
It was lovely to visit a working farm with geese, an orchard which included some of the most profilic lemon trees I have ever seen. The farm also catered for visitors with a gorgeous outdoor area with a swimming pool and delicious meals. Our host was an interesting and rather glamorous woman who in her mini dress and heels showed us over the milking shed, cheese factory and area where they make their liquors. She spoke excellent English and told us she had translated Raold Dahl’s children’s books from English to Portuguese. Surely it a task to be taken lightly.
Also on the farm were cork trees. Portugal is the largest producer of cork in the world and is still used to bottle wines and ports. I think they thought we did not rate our wines well enough if we used screw tops!