We scheduled a car hire for the transfer to the Lisbon airport to pick up the rental car. The driver showed up 30 minutes early, so we weren’t ready. We scrambled to get to the car before they left. It turns out, the driver knew she was early and left the car to have a coffee. I sent a text and we synced up. Traffic to the Avis rental at the Lisbon airport was light; we arrived in about 40 minutes.
- While in the Avis extremely slow queue, a Microsoft contractor I worked with queued up behind me. Small world. Avis gave us a Fiat 500XL; a small SUV with automatic transmission. We were glad we programmed the Garmin GPS the night before. We also walked through the route to our Evora and our guest house (Valeriana) using maps.google. The hardest part of the drive was getting out of the airport and to the highway. It was very confusing.
- We rented a Via Verde toll sensor (like Seattle’s Good To Go)
- Portuguese tolls are automatically billed to associated credit card
- We should get a final statement a week or two after we return the rental car
- It was a two hour drive to Evora
- We found the guest house parking garage, but garage door locked.
- I walked to the guest house and they opened garage via a phone app.
- I walked back to garage and waited for Marty to appear, but the garage door had opened for someone else. Marty had entered, parked the car, and dragged all the luggage to the garage door 🙁
- We checked in to the guest house, got settled, and tried to book tour of local megalithic sites but all were booked. Sunday is national voting day and Monday is a national holiday like our 4th of July. We have plenty of things to do in Evora itself.
- Dinner was at Taberna Tipica Quartra-Feira and was great.
- Marty booked before we left for Portugal, lucky to get reservation.
- Single seating, chef decides what is served (no menu), many courses and very filling.
- Recommended red wine was inexpensive, Euro 20, and great. The wine maker was with a group dining at the restaurant so we got to talk with him. Too bad we will never find this wine in Seattle.
- Dinner was great, creative, tasty food in a friendly environment. It was fun to eat the good food. We walked slowly back to the guest house.
Évora (Rick Steves)
Évora’s Old Town, contained within a medieval wall, is surrounded by the sprawling newer part of town. The walled center (where you’ll spend virtually all your time) is large and quite hilly—it takes about 20 minutes to cross from one end of town to the other, on cobbled streets that are anything but straight. The major sights—the Roman Temple and the cathedral—crowd together at the Old Town’s highest point. A subtle yet still-powerful charm is contained within the medieval walls. Find it by losing yourself in the quiet lanes of Évora’s far corners.
$$$ Taberna Típica Quarta-Feira (Rick Steves)
Taberna Típica Quarta-Feira is a rustic 14-table tavern, festooned with patriotic Portuguese decor, where Zé Dias and his family proudly and expertly serve country cooking, including rabbit and partridge in season. Don’t expect to order from a menu—they usually serve just the food they felt like cooking that day. Sit down and enjoy the “Trust Zé Special”—he’ll bring out the works, offering fun samples of whatever’s in season, including his house wine (there’s no wine list…just one decent house wine), fine desserts, dessert wine, and coffee. This is no place for vegetarians.
Paulo Laureano (Wine Maker) (Salt of Portugal)
Now we know how it feels to go from purgatory to heaven. After many hours of delays in Newark, we arrived in Lisbon and drove to Vidigueira to meet with Paulo Laureano, a famous Portuguese enologist. The encounter was five years in the making because he is a busy man and our schedules never intersected.
Paul greeted us at the door of his winery with the easy smile of a man who has found his place in the world. Many harvests ago he graduated in enology in Évora. After an internship in Australia, he was invited to teach at the university. But soon he became involved with so many wineries that he left academia to practice enology full time.