Subject: Re:Portugal vacation
Dear Cyndee,

For clothing:it depends on where you go.If heading south,to Alentejo or Algarve,chances are that you can wear a tee shirt or shirt and jeans,but a windshield jacket(does such a term really exist in english?) is essential for the evening(and maybe for the whole day) in Algarve.From Lisbon north you'd better take with you more wool,but ,as always,wearing different layers of not too heavy clothes is a good strategy,because the sun is hot even in early spring.

I certainly agree that the market in Barcelos is a very interesting one;it's lively and it's huge.But the impression I received from my visit was that,since it's mentioned in every guidebook of every language from every country,it's just too full of tourists and so even the vendors are involved in plain business.The kind of goods displayed are by 95% the average low quality things common to most markets...

I would suggest,among the others,that you stop in a small town called Caldas da Rainha;it's not far from Obidos in the Estremadura region.It's a center for traditional earthenware.Especially renowned are the sets of bowls portuguese use for serving the famous caldo verde soup:I leave it to you to discover what they look like.Pure kitsch,but we just couldn't leave without buying some. This small town is bustling with commercial activities,but the central historic sector retains its traditional charme.The market is there daily,it's very simple,but you'll like it.I've also read of a Mondaygypsy market in the Santa Rita area of the town,but I was there on Thursday,so I had no chance of seeing it and no interest in asking information.

Coming now back to Barcelos,which is in the middle of a beautiful area,the real attraction in town is FOOD.You can eat well in most of the cheap,no nonsense eateries(one for all: A Bagoeira)around the central square(the same of the market,as a matter of fact):they're full of locals who indulge on really huge portions of good food,and heavenly vinho verde(try the Alvarinho;be advised,it's expensive). But,if you feel like allowing yourself a splurge(actually it will cost you around $ 18 per person for a three course meal,which is indeed a real bargain),head for the suburb of Arcozelo and the Os Mouros restaurant.This is a modern and classy spot(well,for provincial Portuguese standards),the food is terrific and they always have some of the real traditional fare of this area.Do dare tasting even what could sound to your non european ears as exotic food.You'll be glad to do so.We stayed for 7 days in a village about 16 miles away and we drove to Arcozelo not less than 4 times for dinner.Coming from the west, take a left at a roundabout as soon as you get into Barcelos town,you'll see signs. More on the heavenly pleasures of Portugal on request.This is my first contribution to the list,and gee,it took me 1 hour!God bless the travelling man(and woman)! Yours friendly, Leonardo