It's mid-July and our family is enjoying this summer together in Setubal. Some days have felt like we've been incredibly busy, barely able to see and do all the things we've got planned while many others are much closer to straight up lazy. There's a part of Steve's brain that always feels guilty on lazy days, like we're squandering the time we have in Europe. But in reality this is all going according to plan. We have a great mix of exploration, eating out, beach time and just general walking around as well as time to read books, play cards, watch movies and hand out. Every once in a while I have to remind myself of what I told so many others a few months ago: "We're going to LIVE there for a year, not take a year-long vacation. There's a big difference between the two."

We took some time to walk by the very cool-looking brown building that sits a few blocks East of our apartment. Turns out this is the Setubal Municipal building. While it doesn't have much for the public to see inside, it's a pretty building on the outside and we were happy to finally check "checking out the brown building" from our list.

We've had a while to order gelado from a number of different gelateria's in town and we've decided our family favorite is Eddine's, in the Praça do Bocage. They usually have 15-20 flavors at any given time and we've always been impressed with the quality.

One of the most unexpected highlights this week was the visit to the Setubal library for an art exhibit. We'd seen a post somewhere pitching "Linhas e Aguadas" (Lines and water) by local artist Rui Gaspar and decided to stop by the exhibit on display at the library. Originally this was simply to kill some time (and frankly get out of the apartment because we'd been sitting around a little too much) but much to our surprise parents and kids both absolutely loved the paintings and we spent much longer there than anticipated. The subject matter was street scenes of places around historic Setubal (Praca do Bocage, the Luisa Todi greenway, Parqe do Bonfim) right near home, and everyone had a great time debating the exact location or building. We were so enthralled with the artwork that we may look to buy a piece of Rui's work.

Ever since the first day we arrived and walked down by the water, Henry has been insistent that we must try the "In-spring Noodle Bar" Chinese restaurant. We were initially resistant - it's not that we don't like Chinese food, but more that we're looking to try new things and restaurants down near the water do incur the "tourist tax" and we have a Chinese restaurant near the park that we really like. This week we finally gave in, and it was great. A couple of notable details are that Nora's sweet and sour pork came on a cool plate with an overhanging branch. Steve also used this as his first opportunity to try stir-fried choco frito (fried cuttlefish) which is one of Setúbal's specialities. Henry continued to embrace his newly found love of all things shrimp!

Near the ancient aqueduct is another park we like to call "Turtle park" due to the pond in the middle that is... full of turtles.  The kids love to bop around, play at the playground, and generally inconvenience the turtles.

Rounding out this walk was a visit to Hiper China. The cross-breeze in our 10th floor apartment can be insane and we need some doorstops to prevent the doors from slamming shut in the wind. Hiper China is an asian "supermarket", where everything is generally very, very inexpensive (you definitely get what you pay for in quality though) and versions of these seem to be all over Portugal. We came for door stops and left with new bucket hats, and grill cleaning tools. If that doesn't sum up Hiper China, nothing does.

Last note - we think we may have finally assembled the last major piece of furniture for the apartment, and it was a daybed doozy. This will allow the last bed needed to sleep up to 10! people for an upcoming visit.

Hope you're all enjoying the high-water mark of the summer back home too!

Steve and Erin

Week 6: July 16th - July 22nd