Welcome to Turkey!
Istambul, Ankara, Antalya, Cappadocia
When your soulmate abducts you from your daily life and takes you on a journey into the middle of the Atlantic. A birthday present hard to beat.
The Azorean archipelago might just be my favourite spot in Portugal. Nine islands of unparalleled beauty and where humans have found a way to be in a symbiotic relation with nature, without disrupting it.
We had a car and 4 days to make the best of our time in Terceira island. Nothing much had been planned ahead (it was a surprise getaway for me, after all…) so we decided things as we explored it.
- Algar do Carvão: right in the epicentre of the island we can find a 2000 year-old nature-made hole that you can explore up to 100 meteres deep; careful not to set an eruption!
- Miradouro da Serra do Cume: great for those inspirational Instagram photos.
- Serra de Santa Bárbara: you can’t get any higher in Terceira than this; make sure you bring a coat with you, it might surprise you on how windy it is.
- Piscinas Naturais de Biscoitos: if you fancy a swim without putting yourself at risk, this is a great place. Plus, the dark volcanic rocks give it a great atmosphere.
- Alto da Memória: the tropical garden that leads you to it is a great place to unwind; climb up to one of the best views of Angra.
- Monte Brasil: no, you haven’t reached South America just yet; right next to the city of Angra do Heroísmo you can find this green site: perfect for a hike or a picnic under the trees;
- Caneta: if you want to try some local delicacies, this is it; go for the Alcatra dos Açores (if you are a meat kind-of-person), the most local dish you can have on Terceira island.
- Pip’s: surprisingly, one of the best memories I will have of this stay in Terceira is having breakfast in our cute little cottage while sipping on some tasty apple juice from a local brand named Pip’s. It felt surprisingly refreshing, even for someone (me) who is not very keen on apple juice. Highly recommended!
Every day we were certain of two things: feasting our eyes on all the green and blue we could take in and resting our souls in a beautiful and secluded place called Pico da Vigia.
A simple, yet incredibly thoughtful house on the foothills of Serra de Santa Bárbara, overlooking the Atlantic, was our home. The green door led to an oasis of tranquillity, where you could find both modern and antique furtinute that gave the space a unique atmosphere. No detail was left undone.
In the morning the ritual included opening the window shutters to take inside the house all the green and blue it could. And then picking up a small woonden basket with fresh bread to prepare our breakfast…
2 // 9
March gave me the chance to be once again in Latvia! This time to take part in a youth exchange as team-leader of the Portuguese entourage.
Responsibilities aside, I genuinely had a great time. There were moments to have fun, to learn, to hear, to play, to discuss and above all to feel like there are no barriers between different human beings. This project, funded by Erasmus+, aimed at bringing youngsters together in Latvia to set aside their differences and work together in what makes them equal.
Never before had I gotten the chance to explore Riga’s seaside resort town, Jūrmala. Beautiful Art-Noveau wooden villas sandwiched between the Baltic sea and a river, it was the perfect fairy-tale-ish venue for a week of bliss. I even got to wander around the frozen beach that stretched for more than 30 kilometres.
My time in Latvia would not be done without a little trip to its beautiful capital, Riga! However, the freezing cold temperatures and wind forced me to find shelter up high in the sky – meaning that I finally got to enjoy the view from the top bar at the Radisson hotel alongside a tall glass of beer.
The first thing I faced upon reaching the Scottish capital was how to correctly pronounce its name. One would think that given the ending – burgh – it would be articulated as in Pittsburgh. Wrong. English wouldn’t be complete without its quirks… Ask a local how to correctly say it: ED-IN-BRUH. Yes, bruh!
The second was the freezing cold temperatures that made it pretty unbearable to spend some quality time outside. Truth be told, when I packed, I took as if I was going to expect mild, rainy weather. Mistakes do happen and I paid the price – a runny nose along with a tenebrous cough.
The third ordeal I had to go through was the accommodation. I thought about doing Couchsurfing due to the fairly steep prices, but a few days before coming to the city I was able to snag a pretty good deal: $13 for 2 nights at a fairly central hostel with average ratings. I knew beforehand I was not in for anything spectacular and it managed to be even worse: dirty floors, uncomfortable mattress, Arctic cold room due to bad isolation, one single toilet for a 12-bedroom and staff that was nowhere to be seen (I waited for about 20 minutes outside the hostel because no one was at the reception). Avoid staying at City Stay Hostel Edinburgh. The price you pay doesn’t make up for all the hassle.
In spite of all this ranting, Edinburgh really found its way to my heart. Inspiring architecture everywhere I looked (from the medieval Old Town to the neo-classical of the New Town), a state-of-the-art museum where spending a full day might not be enough, striking hiking trails that offer great panoramas and at last but not least, affordable prices on food, shopping… (at least when comparing with London!).
Pomelo + mandarine = sweet orange
Portugal and oranges have been tied together for generations… Since the 15th century at least. However if you ask a Portuguese if they have heard anything regarding their country’s connection with oranges, they will most likely raise an eyebrow…
During the XV century, brave sailors from Portugal began wandering into the vast ocean to uncover what was on other side, on other worlds… Today we know these adventures as the Portuguese Discoveries. They ventured into unknown territories along Africa, India and the far East.
Let’s first learn how to pronounce the word orange in several modern Indo-European languages:
Albanian | portokall
Bulgarian | портокал (portokal)
Greek | πορτοκάλι (portokali)
Macedonian | portokal
Persian | پرتقال (porteghal)
Romanian | portocală
Other languages have similar names as well:
Arabic | البرتقال (bourtouqal)
Georgian | ფორთოხალი (p’ort’oxali)
Turkish | portakal
Southern Italian dialects, such as Neapolitan, pronounce orange as portogallo or purtuallo.
I guess you can now sense the similarities between the pronunciation of the fruit orange and the country Portugal!
Portuguese merchants were the first to introduce the sweet orange in Europe. At the time, the orange was an hybrid fruit made from the crossover of a mandarine and a pomelo.
I guess we can thank the Portuguese for giving us the juicy sweet orange we all know and love!
Heading to somewhere pretty soon!
Athens? Dublin? Paris? Madrid? Cherokee?
Ahead of Christmas I came home to find this in the mailbox.
Written in German and addressed to me and my sister:
Liebe Catherina, Lieber Viktor, viele liebe Grüße aus sendet Euch Wilfried + Maia aus Ungarn. Danke für Euren Kartengruß gut zu wissen, dass ihr gut wieder in Portugal angekommen seid. Zu den Feiertagen alles Gute und ein gesundes Neue-Jahr 2018.
Mr. Wilfriend wrote us!