Castelo de Vide, Portugal


February 29 & March 1, 2000

We have arrived in Castelo de Vide under the fall of night and it reminds me a lot of what Iīd imagine a town in Mexico would be like. There is no hostel here and as far as I know, thereīs not a hotel, but there are a few bed & breakfast arrangements which is where the Aussie dude and I stayed.

We had dinner in the restaurant below us. There was a German couple a table over and the television was fuzzily tuned in to a soccer game. Actually, thatīs what just about all the televisions Iīve seen in Portugal are locked into. Soccer.

The owner of the restaurant/B&B is happy we are here and wants us to eat everything! He starts by showing us the menu and knowing we donīt share his tongue, pulls out some raw meat, shows it to me and putīs it under my nose! The German guy is looking at the guy like heīs crazy. The blobs of blood and bone donīt look so hot, but they smell pretty good. I nod approvingly and pick out steak or pork or something else that only lives here. My friend does the same and we are asked if weīd like anything else. Before a moment goes by, our host starts grabbing everything he can from his wife in the kitchen and starts waving it in front of us. An unmarked bottle of wine he waves before us... "Australia vino!"

Hmmm. Then comes the refrigerator next to our table. We get to smell old cheese, dried fish, radiated milk and something in a green container.

I get some warm milk and my friend asks for some water. He doensīt want to peel for the mineral water so asks for regular tap water. The host looks around and I catch him picking an old water bottle from the trash (it was on top, so it should be clean) and shrugs with his tail between his legs when I catch his eye and proceeds to fill it with water and serves it.

The food was good. We are done and the food pimp is waiting with his wife behind us. This time they are juggling deserts. We pass and call it a day.

Our breakfast, bread and a strange molasses with like jam and warm milk and coffee is simple but good. Time to explore!

We climb around the old ruins and get ready to head out to Marvão. We planned half a day for each. Thereīs not much in Castelo de Vide and I wouldnīt come here again unless it was on my way to somewhere, but I donīt see how that could happen... because thereīs NOTHING around here.

We take a cab to Beirã where the train is to check the schedule before heading off to Marvão. Time rolls by and we realize we are stuck here. The train to Madrid leaves at 1am and there is no train to where I want to

So we hang out in the train station. No food. No money (except a little for a ticket out of here). No thing to do. Hunger sets in and I lick my lips at the chickens across the street with an evil grin. We dump our packs for anything edible.

Heīs got a sandwich and a desert roll. Iīve got vitamin C, oatmeal, Rutgers tomato seeds (these were going to be a present for a gardener should I come across one and have a nice chat), and rice. If only I could cook this stuff.

Tomato seeds taste horrible, but I eat them anyway. Did you know oatmeal tastes pretty good dry? At least when you are hungry! We eat the sandwich at a time that is exactly half way between lunch and 1am.

With three stones off the tracks, a candle from my pack and a small tin, I cook the rice. The tin holds 6 spoon fulls and through the rest of the evening, the whole bag was cooked... each of us getting 3 spoons every so often.

I tried making tea, but that didnīt work out at all.

The tolietīs are squatters (no seat, just a hole in the ground). This I expected, but thereīs no toilet paper... I told you there was nothing here! Thereīs not even a place to hang it. I use up the last of my tissues.

The Aussie leaves at 1am and I sleep in the train waiting room. Itīs freezing. The clicking clock reminds me of each second past and each hour left to go.

I have learned that an assumption I made. Aussies and Kiwis (know for travel/backpacking the best) donīt know the best places or routes to go any more than a wandering American.


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