Monday In Warsaw

2014-09-30_01-44-01

I have a stack of unedited photos and some video from today’s activities, but the wi-fi connection buckled under the strain of two videos and I daren’t try to upload any more and just call it a night. The two clips from today:

At Large* In Warsaw

Warsaw outside my hotel room

Warsaw outside my hotel room

It’s a nippy 12C in Warsaw, but I decided to put myself in a Canadian frame of mind and open the balcony door, anyway, to take this photo. I’m definitely not in Portugal anymore! Time to buck up and embrace some chill and some new-frontier spirit. I have to remind myself it’s practically October.

I arrived in Warsaw late, after connecting through Amsterdam, where I discovered the airport’s social media team are really on the ball. I’ve been to Schiphol plenty of times but the last time was a good while ago, before social media really took off.

I was met at the airport by our Polish event co-ordinator and put in a taxi to the hotel with another Canadian who also lives in Portugal! And as it turns out, we have even more in common — he’s a fugitive from mainstream Canadian society, too:

http://www.manonthelam.com

Yes, Gail at Large and Man On The Lam, seen in Portugal and now on the loose in Poland.

This is going to be an interesting week!

* I’m typing this week’s posts on a tablet with a Portuguese fixed keyboard and uploading photos without editing them first. It’s like trying to design a brochure using Microsoft Word, but I’ll survive! * whimper * whimper *

Sobre Rodas @ Festival Internacional de Teatro Cómico da Maia

Sobre Rodas @ Festival Internacional de Teatro Cómico da Maia, Portugal (10)

Last night we saw the high-energy comic theatre troupe Sobre Rodas (‘On Wheels’) from Galicia, the opening act for Festival Internacional de Teatro Cómico da Maia tonight. It was 70 minutes of very physical comedy!

Sobre Rodas’ show turned out to be perfect for me because it wasn’t heavy on dialogue. In fact, they didn’t speak Portuguese, or any sort of intelligible language, it was a sort of hybrid pseudo-German with the occasional Spanish word — I heard chorizo! chorizo! — or maybe some Galician.

I took a LOT of photos of their show, but I’m only posting some of my favourite images here. Check out the album for the videoclips of their performance.

Sobre Rodas @ Festival Internacional de Teatro Cómico da Maia, Portugal (1)

Sobre Rodas @ Festival Internacional de Teatro Cómico da Maia, Portugal (2)

Sobre Rodas @ Festival Internacional de Teatro Cómico da Maia, Portugal (3)

Sobre Rodas @ Festival Internacional de Teatro Cómico da Maia, Portugal (4)

Sobre Rodas @ Festival Internacional de Teatro Cómico da Maia, Portugal (5)

Sobre Rodas @ Festival Internacional de Teatro Cómico da Maia, Portugal (6)

Sobre Rodas @ Festival Internacional de Teatro Cómico da Maia, Portugal (7)

Sobre Rodas @ Festival Internacional de Teatro Cómico da Maia, Portugal (8)

Sobre Rodas @ Festival Internacional de Teatro Cómico da Maia, Portugal (9)

Sobre Rodas @ Festival Internacional de Teatro Cómico da Maia, Portugal (11)

Sobre Rodas @ Festival Internacional de Teatro Cómico da Maia, Portugal (12)

Sobre Rodas @ Festival Internacional de Teatro Cómico da Maia, Portugal (13)

Sobre Rodas @ Festival Internacional de Teatro Cómico da Maia, Portugal (14)

Sobre Rodas @ Festival Internacional de Teatro Cómico da Maia, Portugal (15)

Sobre Rodas @ Festival Internacional de Teatro Cómico da Maia, Portugal (16)

Sobre Rodas @ Festival Internacional de Teatro Cómico da Maia, Portugal (1)

Sobre Rodas @ Festival Internacional de Teatro Cómico da Maia, Portugal (2)

Sobre Rodas @ Festival Internacional de Teatro Cómico da Maia, Portugal (3)

Sobre Rodas @ Festival Internacional de Teatro Cómico da Maia, Portugal (4)

Sobre Rodas @ Festival Internacional de Teatro Cómico da Maia, Portugal (5)

Sobre Rodas @ Festival Internacional de Teatro Cómico da Maia, Portugal (6)

Sobre Rodas @ Festival Internacional de Teatro Cómico da Maia, Portugal (17)

Sobre Rodas @ Festival Internacional de Teatro Cómico da Maia, Portugal (18)

Sobre Rodas @ Festival Internacional de Teatro Cómico da Maia, Portugal (19)

September 26, 2014
Album: Sobre Rodas @ Festival Internacional de Teatro Cómico da Maia

Casa Aguiar, Pierogi Factory

homemade pierogi, by our Polish couchsurfers (1)

Last night Casa Aguiar’s kitchen was transformed into a pierogi factory, thanks to our Polish couchsurfers who arrived in the evening (and flew early this morning).

We’d actually met them last weekend on our road trip around the country, they were hitch hiking on a national road on the west coast where Beja District turns into Setúbal District south of Sines. They were best-dressed hitch hikers I’d ever seen (I didn’t look a bum when hitch hiking, but I never wore a dress!), and they weren’t travelling with backpacks, but roller bags. I was curious, so we went around the roundabout to ask where they were going. They were heading north and we were heading to the beach, to visit Ilha do Pessegueiro, but we drove them to the junction so they could at least get past the divided traffic. In that short — one kilometre? — distance, we asked where they were from and at what point this was in their trip. It turned out they’re from Poland, and I asked if they needed a place to stay in Porto on their way out of Portugal. (I assumed that if they were hitch hiking, they knew about Couchsurfing, where we all have profiles and references.) I also told them I would make my first trip to Poland a week later to learn about their food, which leads us to this post… about pierogi!

The whole situation sounds very random, which it is, but also hilarious! That’s one thing I love about this kind of alternative travel: it makes room for serendipity.

That’s how we ended up with two hours of pierogi-making in our kitchen last night. I felt it was very ambitious of them to offer to make pierogi from scratch, but that’s exactly what happened. I stayed out of the fray to take photos so the rest could do their thing; my contribution to the evening meal was hummus, and Paulo’s was peixinhos da horta, at the bottom of this post. Paulo also helped out with closing the dumplings, which you may or may not be able to notice. (Hint: his look more like a dragon’s spine. Could that be FC Porto?)

homemade pierogi, by our Polish couchsurfers (3)

homemade pierogi, by our Polish couchsurfers (4)

homemade pierogi, by our Polish couchsurfers (5)

homemade pierogi, by our Polish couchsurfers (6)

homemade pierogi, by our Polish couchsurfers (7)

homemade pierogi, by our Polish couchsurfers (8)

homemade pierogi, by our Polish couchsurfers (9)

homemade pierogi, by our Polish couchsurfers (10)

homemade pierogi, by our Polish couchsurfers (11)

homemade pierogi, by our Polish couchsurfers (12)

homemade pierogi, by our Polish couchsurfers (13)

homemade pierogi, by our Polish couchsurfers (14)

homemade pierogi, by our Polish couchsurfers (15)

homemade pierogi, by our Polish couchsurfers (16)

homemade pierogi, by our Polish couchsurfers (17)

homemade pierogi, by our Polish couchsurfers (18)

Paulo’s peixinhos da horta (fish of the garden)

September 25, 2014
Album: Portugal [Autumn 2014]

Praia da Falésia, Central Algarve

Praia da Falésia (Algarve, Portugal) (4)

You may know Portugal for its beaches in the Algarve, but we were pretty selective about those, to avoid the mass tourism. Our favourite Algarve beach on this trip was Praia da Falésia, between Albufeira and Vilamoura. With 6km of red cliffs and golden sand, Falésia reminded me a lot of Torrey Pines in San Diego, California. Paulo loved it, he went straight down the stairs and jumped in the water :)

Praia da Falésia (Algarve, Portugal) (5)

Praia da Falésia (Algarve, Portugal) (2)

Praia da Falésia (Algarve, Portugal) (1)

Praia da Falésia (Algarve, Portugal) (3)

September 18, 2014
Album: Portugal Road Trip (SEP 2014)

Magnum Shortchanged You, Canada

Olá ice cream with champagne (Luso, Portugal)

25th anniversary ice cream with champagne

While I have made the occasional complaint about not being able to find certain food items in Portugal, today I present the opposite situation: items freely available here that I do not recall ever seeing in Canada.

Case in point: ice cream bars with booze.

Sure, there’s wine ice cream in Québec (leave it to the Québeckers to find a way to expand their alcohol market activity beyond the dépanneurs), an expansion of an American brand that’s available in Montreal. But what if you don’t want a tub of ice cream, just a stick of it on a hot day?

That’s what was on my mind a couple of weekends ago when we were in the central Portuguese town of Luso. Lo and behold, beside our outdoor café table was this sign with not one but two boozy flavours by Olá, which is the Portuguese equivalent of the Magnum brand in Canada and shares the same Anglo-Dutch parent company, Unilever. However, Magnum carries far fewer flavours than Olá, and none of the boozy ones, which makes me wonder whether Magnum decided to carry only a short line of “impulse ice cream” products (seriously, that’s what they call this market segment!) or if the national food industry regulator (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) has a policy about keeping “impulse ice cream” alcohol-free to keep them out of reach from minors. A question to be researched another day, methinks, right now I’d better continue researching Poland and Polish food

Olá mojito ice cream with rum (Luso, Portugal)

mojito ice cream with rum

September 13, 2014
Album: Portugal Road Trip (SEP 2014)

Almourol Castle: A Preview

Almourol Castle / Castelo de Almourol (Portugal)

Portugal has a lot of castles — I counted at least 180 on this list! I lost track of how many we visited last week, but I do remember the first one on Day 2: Castelo de Almourol which sits on an island in the middle of the Tagus River in Central Portugal. We had to take a boat to reach it, a tour that was sponsored by the annual Ciência Viva no Verão (national summer program of science and nature activities). I’ll post more pictures of the castle when I’m back from Poland.

Almourol Castle / Castelo de Almourol (Portugal)

September 14, 2014
Album: Portugal Road Trip (SEP 2014)