Heritage

On a sunny yet cool Sunday afternoon at my grandparents’, I decided to take my sister for a little stroll around our homeland. What’s the point in venturing around the world when there are so many hidden gems to discover right under your nose?

We began with a visit to the main church of an unassuming town not far way, named Válega. It would be an ordinary church, just like hundreds scattered around the country if it wasn’t for its gorgeous facade! Covered in bright colourful tiles, it depicts

Gate

Facts:

  • The manor house has 154 chairs! A lot of cleaning needs to be done 😉

 

 

Nobel

Egas Moniz

Facade

Ria

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Under-the-table II

Another foray into the underground world of not-so-legal restaurants in Martim Moniz. I ventured into a new place, right at the main square. Look for number 12 and don’t fear having to walk upstairs from the entrance door, you’ll find it easily. I came to try out a €5 Chinese noodles soup, with a pork chunk drowned on a beautifully flavoured broth.

Once we entered, the place was not so crowded and we were the only westerners in there. That’s always a good sign! 😉

Noodle Soup

The biggest challenge was deciding how to approach the soup: chopsticks, spoon or fork. We had all these at hand and within an hour of hard labouring I finished most of the bowl. Despite not having a sweet tooth, I shared a plate of fried banana to finish our travel through the East.

This is Portugal

Portugal is not only made of postcard-like cities, pristine beaches and breathtaking natural areas unspoiled by men. Every summer of every year, wildfires ravage the country, engulfing trees, forests, animals, villages, people… It has become such a commonality that people are no longer surprised, like the news of another shooting somewhere in the US.

This year was no different. Besides what was lost as part of the ecosystem, more than one hundred lives were taken alongside. O.N.E. H.U.N.D.R.E.D.

Is this the future we want?

Affections

We’ll always have Paris!

My friend Mafalda and I bought the plane tickets to the city of Love without much thinking. It was one of those “let’s do it now or never” moments. It would be a weekend getaway to celebrate her 23rd birthday on Saturday.

Early on Saturday morning, while the city still slept, we found ourselves at Lisbon Airport.
Our adventure had already began the evening before, with Mafalda celebrating her anniversary with a late dinner at a Nepalese restaurant (quite a good one!). Of course, the candles were only blown once the clocks announced midnight.

Biz

Once we landed, off we went straight to the Eiffel Tower. Going up was not in our plans (I have been already) since it was quite expensive and we were on a low-cost mindset. Paris’ recent history with terrorist attacks, the city was on defensive mode… plenty of military strolling around, the ground area around the Eiffel was limiting the access only to paid visitors who had to go through a tight security check. We’d better enjoy the view from a bit further.

Hidden

We crossed the Seine to the Trocadéro area. Sun was high and warm. Laying down on the grass, treating ourselves to a sunbath sounded plausible, but we had to keep on going. Resting only once we’d be back in Portugal!

We try to chase down all the freebies. Checking out my square and avenue was one of those. Arc de Triomphe soon followed.

Triomphe

From the top of the Arch, I saw a skyline of high-rise buildings further down one of the main boulevards (later learned to be part of the Axe historique). In between those glass towers stood the Grand Arche de La Défense, a modern, 20th century reinterpretation of the famous old Arch. Having a knack for modern architecture and having heard of it before, I immediately wanted to go there.

PicNic

Soon it was time to grab something to eat. We found a supermarket where we bought some goods and went towards the cube. Along the way we found a park, Bois de Boulogne, were we decided to stop. I put out my blanket (one of the perks of flying business class…) and we had an healthy meal together. The only things missing were baguette, cheese and wine, in order to make it extra French.

Grand Arch

With our energy levels restored we walked down 5km to La Défense. This modern neighbourhood was bustling with people, commerce… life! I have always been fond of modern architecture, having in the past the dream of becoming an architect even, so I felt welcomed in this place, trying to breath in as much as possible. Once we cooled off (we had walked for long under the Parisian heat) we headed to the subway to get to Montmartre.

Mafalda had always been hooked on Amélie but she never had the chance to visit the café were the movie was

Nous

Rouen