Portugal 7 – Aveiro
In between Porto and Lisbon, we stayed in Aveiro, a town that boasts canals and is sometimes called the Portuguese Venice. Our first stop was the fish market around the corner from our hotel. Though small, with no more than 15 stalls, it had charm and the people were friendly. A vendor selling eels (center) particularly caught our attention, when we realized that the eels had already been gutted and cleaned... yet were still trying to wriggle away and seemed very much alive! (bottom center).
As evening set, we wandered around town and the few canals. The system of artificial canals was opened in 1808, and has remained largely unchanged since that time. The primary source of income for this town is tourism.
The next day, we wandered to explore other parts of the town. The boats ("barcos moliceiros") were decorated with elaborate paintings on their bow (lower left) and in the past were used to harvest seaweed. Now they carry tourists around the canals. There were also several murals around town (upper center and right), and many buildings had decorative mural tiles on their facade (the former rail station is shown in the lower center and right).
On our way out of town, we decided to stop by Salinas to see the salt producing flats. This was Sunday though, and work was shut down. We heard some music and laughing from a small hut, and were walking past it to reach the salt ponds (upper left and center), when we discovered a birthday party underway.
A group had gotten together to celebrate the birthday of the man above playing the accordion, who also oversees the salt pond as his day job. This group has been meeting here every Sunday for years for music, Portuguese stew and wine. Another man came over and offered us both a piece of cake and a glass of wine, as we were invited to join the fun. We ended up talking to a woman in the group whom had spent years in Canada and spoke excellent English, as she shared her story with us.
All in all, another example of how welcoming the people are from this Portuguese village...