one of the good things of going all the way to the top of alentejo for the boy’s flight, was the opportunity to visit évora, an oasis of history and culture in the middle of the region’s golden prairies. naturally, we couldn’t let the occasion pass without trying some pão de rala — a cake that the nuns in a local convent used to make. it’s a rather deceptive cake, as it looks just like bread and olives from the outside…
… but when you break it open…
… magic! :D the little “olives” are made of marzipan and cocoa, and the bread’s filling consists of tons of egg yolks, sugar, almonds and chila (fig-leaf gourd).
as you would expect, it was a-ma-zing, really delicate and soft… though a bit on the heavy size, as sweets go. ahem. turns out, in our naive enthusiasm, we bought a whole pão de rala, which i suspect was meant to be shared with a group of people.
“perhaps a small slice would have been a more sensible portion”, said the boy.
i regret nothing! :)
p. has a soft spot for planes… so this year, for his birthday, i offered him a flight on a glider. the teacher was very nice and let me sit in on the pre-flight lesson too, so i got to learn about the four forces keeping the plane in the air (weight, lift, drag and thrust!) and how gliders go up (using thermal columns). some of the things we learned were actually quite technical, and i took lots of notes.
there’s a lot of physics involved in flying a plane, as you’d expect, but i loved every bit of it! it also brought back fond memories of listening to cabin pressure. so anyway, after the lesson, the boy strapped on his
life-jacket parachute, pushed the glider onto the runway, hopped in and off they went!
a plane towed the glider to a decent altitude, and then suddenly let them loose to do their thing, up and down across the sky, and then slooooowly back to the ground…
after an hour or so, he landed safe and sound (whew!), and quite happy! :)
afterwards, we went for some peas with poached eggs with the flight instructor — the perfect ending to a great day! :)