Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Really Black Coffee

Day 399
Beja Rest Day

We spent a very mellow rest day in Beja. Our lodging is quite comfortable so we weren’t in a rush to get up early this morning. Breakfast was our only appointment and you can bet we were on time. We’re always excited to see what new things are available to eat in a new country. Lucky for us, most everything was on the table and Chris was spared being the linguist guinea pig for one meal. The coffee was very essence-like and we immediately understood why the milk carafe was just as big as the one for java.
After breakfast we walked a few of the streets and visited the castle in the historic part of town. This part of southern Portugal has quite a long and exciting history from what we’ve read. You know how it goes; inhabited by Celtic people, renamed by Julius Cesar, then again by Augustus Cesar. The Visogoths and the Moors did their thing. Later, the Spanish came to fight the Portuguese and then Napolean wanted a piece of the action as well. Unfortunately, his crew massacred everyone in town. Today Beja is an important city of about 35,000 people.
The most interesting tidbit is the story of a series of love letters written in the 17th century by a Portuguese nun to a French cavalry officer. As the story goes, Sister Mariana Alcoforado saw the officer from her window and fell in love immediately. She then wrote him five passionate love letters. The original Portuguese version of the letters no longer exists, but were somehow translated into French and published in 1669. Despite a great debate of the authenticity of the letters, they were wildly popular. The word “portugaise” even became synonymous for “passionate love letter”.
Tomorrow we’re back on the road and headed south. The weather looks like rain and we’ll be digging out those warm and waterproof layers that we had in France. After 400 days on the road we just take it in stride. Hopefully some warm and sunny days are waiting for us in the Algarve.

Here’s to love at first sight,


ELGEE said...

how's the SQUIRT holding up?
Looks like the dream continues!

CK and LK said...

The Squirt Lube is holding up great. I arrived with one bottle and will probably use it all before we go home. So far we have gone 3000+ km and I lube chains eery 3 days or so. It is nice to be able to clean up with soap and water. No gummy, no chainring marks on the calves, no endless kilometers of squeeks. We love the stuff. Thanks for the goods.

ELGEE said...

Awesome! Travel safe, blogging is awesome!

JennSean said...

Here is a late "fist bump" for love at first sight.