Our second day in Aveiro could have gone a couple of different ways. There is a (purportedly) fantastic museum/shop dedicated to local ceramics manufacturing, a craft for which Lisa has long had a special admiration. There are also multiple beaches within easy reach; we had even packed bathing suits for this very reason. However, after a nice long sleep in the coolth of the coast, we found ourselves in the mood for a mosey, and so the agenda simply became “wander around and see what we see.” This turned out to be a lot more fun than it sounded when we first agreed to it.
The fellow at the front desk when we checked in, to his eternal credit, pointed out that while the hotel offered a breakfast buffet, we were in fact surrounded by better options. Remembering this in the morning, we walked ~2 minutes from the front door of our hotel, scanned the sandwich board menus of 3 likely candidates, and settled in back at candidate #1 for omelettes and fresh squeezed orange juice. As I have said elsewhere, on the list of small things that bring large pleasure here in Europe, the ubiquity of fresh squeezed orange juice is very high on the list. The proprietor of this particular shop was Spanish and, somewhat amusingly, doesn’t seem to have made any effort to transition to Portuguese despite running a restaurant in the middle of the country. Still, he was a nice guy and the omelettes surprised us by being particularly good – in general, omelettes seem to be one of those foods that are named the same thing as a food in the US and bear some resemblance, but you’re well advised to approach with an open attitude of “let’s see what’s behind curtain #2!” These might have upset the locals but we enjoyed them tremendously.
After breakfast, the entirety of our agenda was “let’s go that way” while one of us points a finger. This turned out to be quite a lot of fun. The homes in this area of town are mostly kept up very well, and while there were plenty of examples of traditional tile work there was also some experimentation that we haven’t observed in Braga. There’s not a lot to describe in a moment-by-moment fashion the way some of our blog posts turn out; fortunately, Lisa took oodles of pictures. To wit:
Those photos represent several hours of just trundling through the neighborhoods, partly sight-seeing and partly idly drawing up a pros and cons list of living in Aveiro. (It’s doubtful we’d move there, but after all everything is new to us and we’d be fools not to even consider it.) While it was much cooler here than it was back in Braga (by 10 degrees C, give or take), that was still walking around in the sun on a summer day, so we were a little pooped. Fortunately, every inch of the lagoon that can support a tavern has a tavern, so in short order we were having a cool glass of vinho verde and catching the breeze under an umbrella. Thus refreshed, we went back to our room and freshened up for dinner.
After last night’s fabulous meal at Laguna, we felt like it would be a home run to go to a sister establishment; Cais do Pescado (which means ‘fish pier’; ‘Cais’ is a very popular word in naming things in Aveiro’s tourist area). Somewhat disappointingly the meal “only” rated a B, maybe stretching to a B+. That’s not a bad meal at all, of course, but Laguna had been an ‘A’ and graduating with honors, so we’d let our expectations get away from us. That’s on us, of course, but still. One funny moment – as we sat down in their outdoor seating area, directly on one of the lagoons (but I didn’t need to tell you that, now did I?), a fairly stiff breeze had come up. Between that and a comfortable evening temperature in the high 60s or so, and it was pleasantly cool. This caused the manager to scurry over to Lisa and ask her if she needed a blanket. She laughed and said ‘no thank you’, only to then look over at her dear, shorts-wearing husband who was catching more of the breeze and was in fact a bit nippy. Alas, Portuguese machismo clearly disdains things like blankies when it’s chill-chill, so the manager didn’t even bother to ask him and he, like a champ, endured.
It was late-ish by the time we were finished so it was back to the room and then back to bed. We shan’t bore you with a whole additional post about Day 3, as all we did was wake up, partake of the thoroughly mediocre hotel breakfast (to be fair, we had been warned!) and then retraced our route from our arrival to hop a train back home. All in all, the trip to Aveiro was a win; it would have been a cute getaway all on its own, but the escape from the heat back in Braga was worth it all by itself. 10/10 would go again.