The Fun Stuff

As we wrap up our whirlwind week of house hunting, I thought I’d post some other pictures from our adventures. It wasn’t all heavy lifting and viewings. We took some moments to see other things and to take a deep breath. I’m in love with the house we chose but it’s not in Spain – which feels weird right about now. I really did think we’d end up somewhere in Galicia – and more specifically Pontevedra or Vigo areas. Both are stunning places where I’d have been happy to settle if the right house had come along.

We spent a couple of days in Oia on the coast south of Vigo. It’s right on the Camino Portuguese – the route from Porto to Santiago de Compostela that Emilie and I were slated to walk this summer. Surprisingly, even in a pandemic there were loads of Peregrinos walking the trail and the roads along the coast.

We took the tour for the Real Mostreiro de Oia (the Royal Monastery of Oia. It’s been there a very long time and seen its share of conquests. Even Napoleon held it for awhile. And it was used as a concentration camp during the Spanish Civil War. 4500 people were held there and the etchings they made on the walls to mark time and to leave messages for loved ones were in evidence.

While monks occupied it for centuries it had fallen into private hands after they were expelled for the final time and the building had fallen into disrepair. Finally, a group banded together and bought it from the private owners and they are slowly restoring the building with the hopes of opening a hotel there to support further restoration.It’s right on the quay in the main part of Oia and the grounds are extensive. But while we were touring – we came upon sheep and goats inside the walls who had decided to visit on their own and use the shady interior on a hot summer day.

Of course, we headed south again to stake our claim on our dream house. Here are some pics from the area. The little town near by is ‘A chocolate box’ village – as the Brits say. Yes, there are tourists in the season. But it’s retained it’s charm as it’s mostly Portuguese people who live there or have holiday homes in the village. Most Brits and American’s seem to favor other places so it has this feeling of being untouched.

We drove home to Valencia on a different route than we arrived from the north. Straight across over the mountains that separate Portugal and Spain. WOW! We had never been to this area of either country. On the Portuguese side, it was like driving through Northern California on the 101. Miles and miles of mountains and pine trees. On the Spanish side it was like driving through Nebraska or Minnesota on I-80 or I-90. Miles of fields of wheat or corn.

Growing up in the NW, we would see logging trucks regularly. Passing these on the freeway, it’s very scary because if the logs break free from their cables it will crush your car. I’ve been on a freeway when this happened to another car and it’s deadly. But in Portugal you see trucks carrying loads of cork. I imagine they weight a lot less than Douglas fir logs. Yes, cork comes from the bark of cork trees but they’re dried in piles to release any moisture. This makes them much lighter. And the trees are protected. Portugal loves their cork. I stopped and took a couple of photos.

Some of the mountain towns we drove through were like postcards. I didn’t get a photo of it perched on the hillside but if you’re ever in Western Portugal on the N246-1 you should check ou Castelo de Vide. It’s a town with a castle on the top of the hill and the whitewashed red-roofed houses clutching the hillside below it. Based on what I saw the town makes it’s living on the cork piled up drying, the olive groves by the mile and wine grapes. It was over 100 degrees out – but it’s a dry heat. Ha! While it was a warm day, the vegetation gave it a lush feeling. And there was plenty of shade to enjoy a cold drink on a hot summer day.

We are home now. Tomorrow we begin gathering the documents we’ll need to continue the purchasing process. We were sad to leave the area where our new home sits waiting for us. But we’ll be back there very soon. Ready to write the next chapter. I can’t wait to see where it leads.

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