I discovered internet blogs in the later half of 2004. My whole life changed when I was diagnosed with cancer while on holiday in Portugal in June 2004. Bryan and I had just completed the 800K Way of St James walk across Spain and ventured down into Portugal to experience some of the wonderful wine and food I had read so much about - grilled sardines,flaky pasteis de Nata with creamy custard fillings, the famous semi sparkling vinho verde, the honey nutty tawny ports. Within 24 hours the food became hospital food, I was in no mood to drink wine and now back home in Auckland I am nearing the completion of 7 months of chemotherapy treatments.
On our last night in Portugal we ventured out to the restaurant near Bryan's hotel and I ordered my grilled sardines. They arrived, seven in total, arranged alongside each other like tall soldiers on a plate. These were the big brothers of the canned sardines. Is there a biblical reason for serving seven? The taste was sensational. You recognise the taste of sardines immediatley but it is improved by the texture of fresh fish. I'm told it is customary to eat sardines with your fingers but with my Mother's voice in my head I proceeded with knife and fork. Four was all I could manage. As the waiter removed my plate he enquired if madame did not like the meal could he bring me something else. In Portugal the portions are huge and the price is low.
Sated, we left the restaurant, to be greeted by the streets of Viana do Castelo alive with tooting cars full of happy soccer fans. Portugal had just beaten Spain for the first time in 20 odd years. Portugal was still celebrating as we flew out of Oporto the next day on our way home to Auckland.