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Our final stop in Portugal was really more of a surprise. We were just looking for a place to stop for lunch when saw the fortress and church of Mourão on top of the hill inviting us. Turned out the route we chose was a little too narrow to be comfortable so we parked and walked.

On the way up we saw a man working with olives. We had pickled fresh olives ourselves in California so we were intrigued about this man’s process. Stopping for a moment to watch, he invited us to taste a few. They were delicious, seasoned only with salt and oregano.

The next thing we knew we were inside his house where he prepared a wonderful lunch of barbecued sardines, local cheese, Spanish rice and a very nice red wine.,—and olives of course. He just wouldn’t let us leave.

Turns out that the church and castle on the top of the hill could have been driven to had we taken a different route. In any case, the ruins were not that interesting and the church was closed. So after our surprise lunch with Carlos and his family, we walked back down the hill and drove into Spain.

 

A bucket of fresh olives was enough to make us pause.

A bucket of fresh olives was enough to make us pause.

Carlos showed us how he was “cracking” the olives before soaking them. We had done the same, but his process was easier.

Carlos showed us how he was “cracking” the olives before soaking them. We had done the same, but his process was easier.

The olives on the white plate were just ready to eat. Carlos served them with salt and wild oregano.

The olives on the white plate were just ready to eat. Carlos served them with salt and wild oregano.

 

 

One thing led to another, and soon he insisted we stay for a wonderful lunch of barbecued sardines, local cheese, Spanish rice and a very nice red wine.,---and olives of course. He just wouldn't let us leave.

One thing led to another, and soon he insisted we stay for a wonderful lunch of barbecued sardines, local cheese, Spanish rice and a very nice red wine.,—and olives of course. He just wouldn’t let us leave.

Typical of Portuguese hospitality, Carlos insisted we stay for lunch.

Typical of Portuguese hospitality, Carlos insisted we stay for lunch.

These clothes honing in the sun reminded us that we needed to do the same soon.

These clothes honing in the sun reminded us that we needed to do the same soon.

Crossing an arm of the Rio Guadiana, we were back in Spain.

Crossing an arm of the Rio Guadiana, we were back in Spain.