September 4, 2008
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Amarante: Casa da Calçada

After a vexing layover in Paris — much too long to spend in CDG, and much too short to venture into the city, accompanied by too much jet lag and unaccompanied by certain luggage tags and boarding passes that went astray — we arrived in Amarante. So did our excessive baggage, the bags my Swedish cousin-in-laws call “American”. So, naturally, we settled in for a wonderful meal.

For amusement, we have three spoons apiece: a taste of foie gras, a taste of tuna, and other spoon I didn't quite parse. All intricate, all tasty. And then some bass carpaccio, also refreshing. I had a small plate of lightly-smoked fresh sardines, and a wonderful rack of lamb crusted with nuts and olive. And then we had a delightful plate of cheeses, all mild but distinct, rich, and flavorful.

Lunch was Don Rodrigo’s fine smoked ham, some lovely sandwiches with cheese cut from rounds of local cheese, and vinho verde.

In between, we wandered through streets, roads, byways, and archeological detours. It’s remarkably easy to get sidetracked, charging up the airy mountain and down the rushy glen, pursuing tempting signs for archeological sites that may, or may not, have materialized. Navigation is hard, though the Navigation Problem is not.

Amarante: Casa da Calçada
Road signs directed us to archeological sites, but we found vistas instead. Photo: Linda J. Thorsen