Ponte de Lima — a town named after the ancient stone bridge that crosses the Rio Lima here — was bustling on Sunday morning. Across from the hotel is a long walkway bordered on both sides by tall sycamores. Underneath the trees, vendors sold fruits and vegetables, hams and sausages of all descriptions, cheese, dried salted cod, beans and olives and handmade crafts.
The sound of drum and accordion soon drew me to the central largo, where a folklore group in traditional costume were dancing. The women flung their black skirts in the air, and the men snapped castanets in time to the music. In one dance, the women snatched the men’s hats, while the men waved the colorful printed handkerchiefs they’d grabbed from the women.
Next to the musicians, women in embroidered blouses, black pinafores and multicolored scarves served black sausages, boiled potatoes and several different kinds of fritter.
I caught this performance because I wasn’t walking. My heels bled into my boots yesterday, so I’m giving them a day of rest. Judy hiked alone today, 11 miles, and she reported it was the most beautiful landscape yet. She’s a fast walker; she got to town as I was finishing lunch.
One thing we’ve noticed about eating in Portugal: the portions are huge. For lunch I ordered a grilled porkchop. What I received was three porkchops, green salad with tomatoes and carrots, a mound of fries and a big bowl of rice. Three of us could have made a meal from my platter. Cost: €8.
In the late afternoon, Judy and I sat in a small Romanesque church which had been lavishly embellished with rococco frou frou. We inadvertently attended mass. The singing of the nine parishioners filled the barrel vault and echoed through the sanctuary.