The food and wine Portugal alone was worth the trip. Being at the wide mouth of the Tejo river and right on the Atlantic shore, whose cold water produces some of the finest of fish and seafood, we took full advantage and tried a little of everything including sardines (big difference from those wee beasties in the tins), Seabass, Dorado, shrimp, snails, the works! Also bread baked daily, olives, lamb, and beef and all kinds of vegetables. At one restaurant the waiter brought two freshly caught Dourados (looks like red snapper to me) to the table for our approval, then took them back to the kitchen to be cooked. We also got to see the vineyards where the grapes for the famous Portuguese wines were grown, and we saw miles of rice patties along the Tejo river. Surprisingly rice was a frequent accompaniment of meals in Lisboa. It is truly amazing that there don’t seem to be many obese Portuguese people with all this wonderful food. But then if you have to walk up and down those hilly streets every day, maybe that makes the difference.Then there’s the coffee! Like in Spain, there are these machines that dispense at the push of a button, espresso,café Largo, latte, cappuchino – you name it! And even better, the cooks and waiters at restaurants take great pride in presenting their food and drink, and most of them speak English, at least enough to make sure you’re happy with the meal. One waiter even told wonderful stories about the castle at Sintra, that the king wanted to please his newly wed queen so he brought trees from all over the world to landscape a rocky mountain-side below the castle. We were getting fed, educated and entertained all at the same time.
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