Discovering Portugal (4)

The lure of superior cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil brought us to Cuba. The exquisitely rich Manantiz olives are grown on the left bank of the Guadiana River on land that has belonged to the same family for over a century. We met family member Lucilia, who lives in town and has a cozy retail space from which to purchase the liquid gold the Herdade (“Homestead”) de Manantiz produces. Highly animated, she was eager to show us information about the oil, especially its inclusion in a coffee table book of the world’s most impressive olive orchards.  After visiting for over an hour, we loaded our purchases into the car, paid a quick visit to the nearby bronze statue of Christopher Columbus (who legend says was born–or at least lived–in Cuba) and moved on to…what else? More ruins.

Manatiz Oil Cropped

Columbo in Cuba

The Roman Villa of Pisões was discovered by farm workers in 1967 by accident. It is only a few kilometers away, off of IP6. and although we were following signs to it, they unexpectedly stopped appearing. Just as we were about to give up, we discovered a solitary man standing in a neighboring field. He kindly gave us directions.

Pisoes Directions

Since the area has not been fully excavated, we weren’t sure if we’d be able to see anything of interest, as some of it is now fenced off. That was enough to keep Carson out, but we were rewarded for our persistence by viewing exquisite monochrome and polychrome mosaic floors with both geometric and naturalist designs.

Carson in Pisoes

Pisoes Tiles

It was time to head further south to spend our first night in the region known as the Algarve. Driving back to the main road we looked for the man who’d assisted us, but despite the fact that he’d had no car, he had disappeared as mysteriously as he had appeared, leaving us to wonder if we’d really ever seen him at all.

Pisoes Directions without man

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About Tricia Pimental

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Tricia Pimental's second memoir, A Movable Marriage, has received 5 Star reviews from both Epic Book Quest and Readers' Favorite. It's available on Amazon in both Kindle (amzn.to/1RtRBwp) and print (amzn.to/1OiGlUU) versions. She is also the author of two Royal Palm Literary Award Competition-honored books: Rabbit Trail: How a Former Playboy Bunny Found Her Way, and Slippery Slopes. Other work has appeared in International Living Magazine; A Janela, the quarterly magazine of International Women in Portugal; and anthologies compiled by the Florida Writers Association and the National League of American Pen Women. A member of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and a former Toastmaster, Ms. Pimental resides in Portugal. She can be reached at www.triciapimental.com and on Twitter @Tricialafille.
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