Food and family rules in Costa da Caparica

Sharing a meal, eating like a local, and getting know the people of the place you are visiting is one of the best things about travel. Our trip to Costa da Caparica delivered this experience in a big way for us.

In Costa da Caparica we ate most of our meals at a nearby restaurant named O Golfino. The freshest fish caught that day, grilled on an open fire and seasoned with simple sea salt, was prepared and served. Meals started with a traditional appetizer of crusty bread, a hard salty goat cheese, and olives. We would wash it down with cold white wine from the region and freshly squeezed juices. Our very first meal was Portuguese all the way – grilled sardines and Portuguese sausages.

Breakfast was just as good. Hot cups of coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice, and huge donuts filled with orange cream or chocolate and covered in sugar. It reminded me of the malasadas in Waikiki but these donuts were much better.

Within a day we were part of the family. Our kids played together in the sand and surf. We learned how locals try to keep mosquitos away from kids. The best ways of preserving found starfish. How to handle a soccer ball on the sand. We shared stories of our own lives and created a personal connection that made our trip more memorable and more meaningful.

Dorothy Hoffman is the creator of the travel blog, Squirts and Seniors. She is a Gen X-er who writes about traveling at home and abroad with her young son and aging parents.