June 26, 2014 § 2 Comments
In Portugal, June is devoted to celebrating the popular saints. In Lisbon we celebrate Santo António on the 13th, in Oporto São João on the 24th, and in Sintra São Pedro on the 29th.
There is an old custom of writing a verse and offering it with a “manjerico” (a pot of miniature basil) to our loved one. According to tradition, if we smell the manjerico with our nose, it dies quickly. We should instead pat it gently with our hand and smell the hand. Then, the manjerico will last and, presumably, so will our love.
May 29, 2014 § Leave a comment
We can be artists without drawing, painting, dancing or playing music. All we need is to see the world with child-like wonder. Here’s how Lourdes de Castro, a great Portuguese artist, demonstrates the art of seeing:
“When the tide is low, I hear the sound of the waves pouring over the stones, rolling them day and night, for years, centuries until pieces of basalt become smooth. A pebble is a work of art!”
Portugal’s landscape is an immense canvas inviting you to become an artist. Come and see!
February 14, 2014 § Leave a comment
Perhaps you found your true love and would like to propose in a romantic, unforgettable way. If, after watching numerous black-and-white movies you still have no ideas, we have a suggestion.
Invite your loved one for a weekend in Lisbon. Without revealing your intentions, drive to the location in the photo in the end of the afternoon, an hour or two before sunset. Take a bouquet of flowers tied with a ribbon that has two pieces of lead (one to use and the other to keep as a memento). Each piece of lead should have your two initials carved.
Find the perfect moment to say: “When ancient Greeks made eternal vows, they threw a piece of lead in the ocean and promised to keep their vows until the lead floated. I want to do the same; I’ll love you until this lead floats.” Throw one of the pieces of lead in the ocean with a dramatic gesture. Take some beautiful photos and celebrate with some great Portuguese espumante.
The gazebo in the photo is part of the Casa do Gato Cinzento estate, located between the Consolação and the São Bernardino beach. It is private property, so please ask the caretaker permission to let you in.
November 14, 2013 § 2 Comments
Peter Mayle, a British advertising executive, moved in the 1980s to Ménerbes, a tiny village in Provence. There, he wrote “A Year in Provence,” an entertaining account of his experiences that became a global bestseller.
Frances Mayes, an American writer, moved in the 1990s to the Tuscan country side to renovate Bramasole, an old villa. She told her story in the inspiring, bestselling “Under the Tuscan Sun.”
The success of these writers reflects their ability to put the reader on location, feeling the thrill of living in a place where every day is a new adventure.
There are currently so many Portuguese houses in great locations selling at very affordable prices. These beautiful homes are waiting for the right person to come along and make them part of their story. Hurry up!
September 22, 2013 § Leave a comment
The places where rivers meet the sea are often blessed with great beauty. Troia, a peninsula off the coast of Setúbal, near Lisbon, is no exception. It has the vast Atlantic ocean on one side and the majestic Sado River on the other. Between the two shores, you find pine trees and immaculate white-sand beaches. The weather is perfect and the water temperature is wonderful for swimming.
The Romans, who loved great locations, settled in Troia in the 1st century. Back then, the trip from Lisbon to Troia was long and arduous. Today, there’s a ferryboat that gets you from Setúbal to Troia in just a few minutes. As a result, Troia has started to attract its share of celebrities. José Mourinho, the well-known Portuguese soccer coach, just bought a house there (please don’t tell the paparazzi).
Click here to check the Troia ferryboat schedule.
September 19, 2013 § Leave a comment
September 5, 2013 § Leave a comment
September 3, 2013 § Leave a comment
Baleal, a beach in the Peniche region, used to be an island but it is now connected to land by a thin strip of sand. Its name comes from the Portuguese word for whale (baleia) for, in ancient times, whales were hunted nearby.
Baleal has many charming houses with beautiful ocean views. But its hallmark is a dramatic rock formation sculpted by the sea.
In his 1923 book “The Fishermen,” the writer Raul Brandão singles out Baleal as the most beautiful beach in Portugal. Surfers, who flock to Baleal every Summer, seem to agree.
September 1, 2013 § 2 Comments
We really enjoy going to farmers markets. We always imagine we are in a museum and study the whimsical shapes of the vegetables, the exuberant colors of the fruit, and the amazing aromas.
Most of these fruits and vegetables cannot withstand long distance travel or extended stays in supermarket shelves. But what they lack in endurance they more than make up in taste and smell.
We love talking to the fruits and vegetable vendors. They always have interesting insights about their produce as well as about life. So, if you see a sign saying “Mercado,” follow it. You’ll find food for your body and wisdom for your soul.
The photo shows three generations of wonderful fruits and vegetable vendors: Dona Natividade, her daughter in law and her granddaughter.
August 12, 2013 § 2 Comments
Daedalus, a Greek architect, designed wings so that his son Icarus could fly. This early venture into extreme sports did not work out, but great progress has been made since then.
One of the most thrilling new sports is kite surfing. Powered by large kites, surfers dance to the music of the waves and the choreography of the wind. Their feats look impossible. Surely these are Olympic athletes or Bolshoi dancers taunting us mere mortals with their effortless acrobatic elegance.
As it turns out, kite surfing is much easier than it looks. Spend a couple of weeks in one of Portugal’s many surf schools and you too will be able to glide.