Blog Posts

Sunday, October 13, 2019, 15:07 | No Comments »
Friend L treading black grapes in a huge vat

Living the dream: it's what most of us plan to do at some time in our lives, isn't it? That is, we tell ourselves we'll do it when we retire or if and when we can afford it without disadvantaging the family or... well you get the drift. Actually putting the theory into practice, though, takes real dedication and lots of us chicken out. We make excuses about being too old – "My knees are not what they were..."; no longer having the energy- "Just look at those young folk! How I envy them their get up and go!" Or just needing to be sure we can access healthcare.... and so on.

Above you can see someone who, along with her husband, has had the courage of her convictions and taken the plunge. To see more of L and R's adventure and to investigate what the locals do during the grape harvest in the Minho, click here.


Monday, September 30, 2019, 17:19 | No Comments »
The Palace of Giela in a state of ruin

We first visited the Paço de Giela more than ten years ago. In spite of its status as a national monument this modest cross between a castle and a manor house was then crumbling into decay and we were, as far as we could tell, among its few visitors.

To find out how the Paço de Giela received a second lease of life and the renactment of Portugal's early history, click here.


Monday, September 23, 2019, 23:52 | No Comments »
carved grey stone dragon with a ball on a gatepost

That title is an odd mixture of words, phrases and ideas, isn't it? Have a look at this photo of a dragon outside a house on the way to the Peneda Geres National Park and see if you can tell why I've used it.

The dragon has its tail wrapped round a ball and seems to be giving a V for Victory sign. Don't you think that is unusual? So, what is going on? It has nothing to do with the boy wizard of children's literature nor with the bloody struggles for supremacy in mythical kingdoms so recently a TV hit. Nothing indeed like that. Think about famous institutions in northern Portugal and see if you can divine why the dragon is there.

To find out – if you haven't already guessed – why this family has chosen dragons to tell the world what matters to them, click here.


Friday, September 20, 2019, 23:00 | No Comments »

A view over the bay of Vila Praia de Âncora from the fort

Let's suppose that you don't have a swimming pool – after all most people don't, do they? Nor do the majority of hotels and AirBnBs. So, when it is hot in the Minho, what do you do?

"Ah but..." I hear you cry before I have a chance to explain, "We're talking about the north of Portugal. Surely it doesn't get hot there?"

Well, you'd be surprised. Despite the mistrustful opinions of prominent climate deniers, global warming seems to be affecting the north of Portugal just as much as elsewhere and it can get pretty hot. So, when the temperature is in the high 30s and you are sweltering, where can you go to cool down? Clearly from my picture you can hope it's a cloudy day in Vila Praia de Âncora and go there!

To find out more about this seaside town, and to see a more encouraging picture, click here.


Monday, June 24, 2019, 15:34 | No Comments »

U-shaped glacial valley of the Rive Zêzere
The glacial valley of the River Zêzere
What would you say if I told you that a good place to learn about how the ice ages altered earth's landscapes was Portugal? I expect you'd think that the confusions of old age were getting the better of me. Nevertheless, in this case, I would be right and you wrong.

To read more about the Serra da Estrela, its inhabitants and their traditional woolen material, burel, click here.

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