Freixo de Espada à Cinta
Gordon: We had a lovely ride through hilly country today. Part of the day was spent on almost untraveled secondary roads. They have more challenging grades, but gave us glimpses of rural life in the area. Reaching the crest of the final hill, we were treated to the sight of the town of Freixo da Espada à Cinta, nestled in a valley and surrounded by vineyards and olive orchards. We had no advance information regarding the place and I was frankly expecting a nondescript modern farming town. While it has this component, it also possesses a castle, a Manueline church, and a well-maintained historic centre. It is truly a delight. We are staying in a bed and breakfast located in a 600 year old house, complete with several fig trees laden with ripe fruit. We have spent some pleasant hours wandering through the town. Many of the residents are sitting in front of their homes in the narrow streets, smiling and greeting passers by. Tomorrow is a festival (the Assumption), so the town is decorated and the religious statutes readied for procession.
For those following the saga of Ruth and her multitude of small blood-sucking friends, she has counted over 40 bites on every part of her body. Benadryl and topical analgesics help, but the bites are intensely itchy, particularly those on her hands and feet.
Ruth: When the brass band started up at 9pm Gord and I headed out to watch as the villagers made their candle lit procession with the Virgin through town. One local dog claimed a front row seat and sang along with the band.