Another Day in Bragança!

(From the walls of the castle in the old town)

Yesterday was hot in Bragança but as it’s Portugal (thank you, Portugal!) there are numerous picnic tables placed near the camping car parking. As they are all placed strategically under olive trees (not actually trees but that’s a different story) it’s possible to move from one to the other as the sun moves and stay in the shade. That’s what I did.

(More scary stairs to climb)

First though, I went to the supermarket, we are down to emergency supplies again. This time not because we weren’t taking every opportunity but because we are moving in the early morning every day and pretty much occupied when we arrive. Also we are staying in small towns and villages. There hasn’t been an opportunity to go to a supermarket. Fortunately, there is a small one just across the junction from here so off I went with my list.

(I counted six old crosses in the short distance between our parking and the old town walls)

When we started travelling one of our favourite things to do was go to the supermarket. Yes, quite strange. (One of my least favourite things to do while at home…) They were interesting, so many odd looking products, so much art on the sardines, so much food we’d never seen before. Then we got used to them. We recognised the food, we became familiar with the layout and we stopped being in awe.

(Statue of D. Fenando outside the walls of the old town)

Except… when we go into small local supermarkets. For one thing they are often in darkness or at least dimly lit, so you have to strain your eyes to see what you’re looking for. It becomes like looking for treasure in a cave or sea glass on the beach. Also, the layout is totally different and it might even span two or three separate rooms. The products are totally different too so you have to pick up more tubs or jars or cans and examine them closely to see if they really are butter or tea (the green tea has finally run out!)

(Flowers in the streets of the old town)

To top it all some of the products are behind the counter and you have to ask for them. This doesn’t happen at the big supermarket. There you can be anonymous and never speak a word until your farewell obrigado as you leave. Here in the small dark supermarket you have to make a stab at communicating. It always turns out well. Mainly because each of us is highly motivated to be understood. I want the food and the shopkeeper wants to sell me the food. It’s a perfect match.

(Narrow gate into the old town)

I got tea, butter, bread rolls, and water all by myself but had to ask for cheese and ham from behind the counter. Way back in Santiago de Compostela (you remember that’s where I got to meet my friend?) in a small shop where everything was behind the counter, I was asking for cheeses but couldn’t make myself understood. I couldn’t see any cheese so pointing wouldn’t work instead I had to look it up on my dictionary app. The shopkeeper took my phone to look at my app because I was doing such a bad job of pronouncing it. Then she taught me how to say cheese in Spanish. I remembered and this is another great thing about Portugal if you know any Spanish the Portuguese will be able to understand you.

(Imagine. I love this balcony)

Cheese is queso in Spanish, I was pronouncing it queso (qway-sew), it is pronounced kay-zzo. The shopkeeper in Bragança understood me.

Our cupboards are full, Mairead.

(Bragança, free parking, motorhome facilities, toilets nearby, great location near the old town. Great restaurant just inside the walls.)

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