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Wednesday, November 25, 2020, 21:54 | No Comments »

Walking down the road from Froufe village to the river

At the height of summer, when the hold which Coronavirus had had over the people of Portugal began to weaken, we were at last able to choose a new place from which to start our walks. We and a group of our friends drove up the Lima valley towards the Spanish border. Before we got there, however, at Entre Ambos os Rios - literally between both the rivers – we turned inland towards the village of Froufe, where a walking trail follows a little river of the same name.

To read what the walk is like and see something of what we saw, click here.


Monday, October 19, 2020, 16:34 | No Comments »

Someone standing on scales which tell people their weight in cork stoppers

"Why the awful spelling?" you may ask. "And what on earth is that picture about?"

Well, let me tell you. There's a new, multifaceted enterprise in Porto called W.O.W. Though the letters stand for World of Wine, that is only the start of the experiences on offer. There are exhibitions, museums, cafés and restaurants all belonging to the same venue. One is the Cork Museum and, as some of you may remember, I make things from cork fabric: (www.quercki.com  or https://www.instagram.com/querckidesign/ on Instagram.)

To read more about the cork museum, click here.

 


Wednesday, July 15, 2020, 13:08 | 2 Comments »
Decorative sardines made out of cloth

Many years ago we used to visit Portugal with our sons. As well as visiting the beach, playing tennis and eating ice cream down on the waterfront, a favourite occupation was eating in traditional restaurants. (Let me advise you always to choose the restaurants where the Portuguese themselves eat. In my view, the food is tastier and they are much better value for your money. In short, the posher the food the less good it is!) At this time of the year, starting around St John's night, grilled sardines seasoned with sea salt and accompanied by a crisp green salad is a popular choice of main dish.

In fact, as you can see above, the Portuguese have gone totally crazy about sardines. Those above are stuffed fabric ones but there are ceramic ones too - there's a series of about 50 different designs.

To see more about sardines and a special sardine shop in Porto, click here.


Saturday, June 20, 2020, 03:28 | No Comments »

A view of Vilar do Monte from the hillside above

Come with me to a village at the end of a long, winding road, which climbs ever higher up the mountainside from Ponte de Lima. The first time I went to Vilar do Monte was some 10 to 15 years ago when it looked run down and half empty. Indeed, it probably was since in 2011, the last date I can find for a census, the population numbered only 106 people. Up to 1970, there had been over double that figure but hardship and lack of opportunity had driven the young and adventurous to the cities or overseas.

Today, new red roofs and the occasional posh house with a swimming pool have transformed the appearance of the village. Maybe returnees from abroad have invested, as they so often do, or perhaps some weary city banker or entrepreneur from Porto has bought a hideaway here.

For us, it's where we shall park the car and start a splendid walk. Later we'll return for a glass of good vinho verde or a coffee in the shopcumcafé opposite the church.

To read more of the walk to the roof of the world from the end of the world, click here.


Saturday, June 20, 2020, 03:23 | 2 Comments »

A selection of ice creams at the ice cream shop in Ponte de Lima

Going out into town: it's such a simple thing but these days it feels like a treat doesn't it? OK! So you have to wear a face mask when you enter shops but when you visit Trisabores, the ice cream shop, after you've ordered you can go outside to eat and take your mask off. There are fewer tables than there used to be and those there are have been more widely spaced but hey! The sun is shining and at last all seems right with the world. What then could be better than to celebrate the partial lifting of lockdown with a scrumptious ice cream?

Now, as a diabetic, I am not supposed to have sugary things but the end of lockdown is special. It demands a celebration, doesn't it? The only problem is what to choose. There are so many kinds of ice cream: rich dark chocolate, mango, cheesecake, hazelnut, banana ....

We were told that there was a truly celestial new flavour made from lemon and ginger but it wasn't available when we went. We are assured that it will be back but only next week. Boohoo! Or maybe not. Perhaps it just means we'll have to make another visit. We'll be misbehaving twice!

The ice creams we chose

These were our choice this time. Lemon and coffee for me: lemon and passion fruit for Steve. Next week we'll probably both have lemon and ginger. But who knows? Maybe there'll be another innovative flavour.


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