Beach Day Pig Day

This is my final post on our trip to Portugal last month but, hopefully, it will not be long before our next Portuguese adventures.

When we’d booked our flights to Portugal back in August, we’d intentionally selected the dates so that our stay specifically coincided with the annual Festa do Leitão held in the city of Águeda which entails, among other activities, five days of eating roast suckling by day and enjoying live music entertainment by night. The region known as the Bairrada, which encompasses many of the local civil parishes, is famed for its vineyards and wine industry as well as its suckling pig.

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The morning after our arrival in Bolfiar, we woke up to overcast skies, but a day at the beach had been planned the previous night, so we decided to risk the weather, packed everything into Patrick’s car after breakfast and headed to Costa Nova. By the time we reached Aveiro, the skies had cleared and this endless blue was what greeted us upon our arrival at the beach.

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Oh, joy! The Aveiro Light, also known as Barra Light, is an active lighthouse that opened in 1893 and the tallest in Portugal. On a side note, Una is one of those people who radiates positive energy. Her spirit is infectious and I’m so happy her work schedule got cancelled at the last minute so she could join us on our trip.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOH YEAHHHH. Two happy kids ready for a bathe in the Atlantic. The thought of home is far and away.

SAMSUNG CSCOh look, a bar.

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And, look who’s at the bar. That right there is Joe’s happy face. From a scale of one to ten, that’s a ten right there. Also, that standard 300ml local draught (fino) costs one euro.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABeach time. Everyone brings their own parasols here.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter some sun and a deliciously cool dip in the ocean, it’s finally time for pork. We headed over to a restaurant that specializes in suckling pig owned by one of Joe’s distant relatives. So exciting.

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Local pastry shaped like suckling pigs filled with the meat of roast pig. YUM. These we found at a bakery in Águeda.

SAMSUNG CSCWe decided to take out half a pig and eat it at home. We paid  50 euros for the pig which the five of us feasted on that evening and still had enough leftovers for two more meals.

SAMSUNG CSCLisette cutting up the pig with a pair of shears. I can still hear the skin go crackle crackle crackle.

SAMSUNG CSCAs was expected, the pork was tender, juicy and seasoned to utter perfection.

SAMSUNG CSCIn Portugal, it is tradition to serve roast pig with freshly sliced oranges. Here, oranges are to roast pork what kimchi is to samgyeopsal and bossam  in Korea. They both help cut the richness of the meat in a way that works so well.

SAMSUNG CSCAnd some cheese for dessert because there is always room for cheese. This is fresh local cow milk cheese that is similar to the Italian mozzarella. It’s really good with a sprinkling of salt and fresh pepper.

SAMSUNG CSCOn our last day, we walked to the river, the heart of Bolfiar, just down the road from Joe’s place where he spent many a childhood summer days swimming with his cousins and friends.

SAMSUNG CSC Having moved around so much growing up, I can’t help but envy this–a place where he can return to time and again and everything is still the same.

SAMSUNG CSCThe village church, whose bell goes off every half hour, no matter what time of day. Like Joe said, one gets used to it. By the time I did, it was already time to leave.

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But, not before a visit to the village cemetery to say hi to Joe’s grandparents.

SAMSUNG CSCJoe and Lisette.

SAMSUNG CSC Joe and Patrick.

SAMSUNG CSCThe family.

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See ya later, Portugal. We’ll be back.

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3 thoughts on “Beach Day Pig Day

    • Thanks, Tanya! I thought about you when I was eating the pig. Remember the time we had that amazing suckling pig roast with your parents in Bangkok? I forget which hotel it was but it was SO good.

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