Portugal is pretty awesome for a bunch of reasons, but I have to say that the cost of living is amazing. My priest was doing a church service in a stunning little town an hour and a quarter away from Lisbon. He goes there monthly to attend to the English speaking community in the town of Caldas da Rainha. My girls and I hung out in a beautiful park, complete with a small lake where you can row a boat on, until he came back.
I researched a place to eat dinner near the historic center of the town. I found a highly recommended Italian place situated on a beautiful square. We were the first people in the restaurant, which made me nervous, except we were eating at 7pm and the Portuguese don’t even think of eating until 8pm at the earliest.
We ordered appetizers: garlic bread and cheese knots and a massive caprese salad. All were delicious. By the time we finished our appetizers, the restaurant was full and lined out the door into the square.
My priest and I had drinks. Beer and sangria. The girls each had soda. For the main course, both girls had a margherita pizza. I had a fabulous spinach and Gorgonzola cheese penne and my priest had a seafood linguini, so full of fish it was crazy.
Finally, we finished the meal with tiramisu for the adults and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream for the girls.
What do you think this abundant meal set us back? I know in Canada or the US, it would have been at least $100…if not much more. Did you take a guess? Wait for it…the whole meal including tip was €43. That is about $50. Hard to believe. Now, I think I want to drive to Caldas weekly, just to eat like royalty for pennies.