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Posts tagged ‘Portugal’

A taste of things to come

In the next installment from our European Food Tour I explain why I haven’t been blogging as much as I’d hoped, and give a taste of what posts I will share in the weeks ahead.

My Food Odyssey

After 76 days on the road we’ve decided to take a short break from our travels. Much as we’ve been enjoying ourselves, we have a few wrinkles we need to iron out to ensure we get the most from our experience.

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Porto Pantomime

Next on our European Food Tour we stop for lunch at the fish market in Porto. The accidental entertainment provided by the staff was surpassed only by the fabulous sardines!

My Food Odyssey

The fish market in Porto took longer to find than anticipated, principally because it wasn’t where it was meant to be. At least, that is, according to our guide book. Pedalling around hilly Porto in the sweltering heat with empty tummies and lunchtime smells filling the air, we were close to throwing in the towel and opting for one of the many street-side cafés.

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Boundaries

One of the many things I love about travelling is the diversity to be found across our planet – diversity of people, language, culture, food, weather and landscape. So often, our food and culture is influenced by the landscape around us. If you are surrounded by sea you will likely eat lots of fish and seafood, if you have boggy earth you will burn turf. And if you have fields full of limestone, you will build walls. Travelling through northern Spain, close to the border with Portugal, we encountered these stone walls. I was immediately reminded of the stone walls found across the west of Ireland and which I thought were unique to our fair isle. The Spanish construction is a little different – I don’t think I have seen walls constructed around big stones in such a uniform way in Ireland. But the resemblance is striking. Amidst all the diversity there are always similarities. We’re not all that different, really. Read more

The end of an era

Without any fanfare, she drove away from the house. The sky was grey and sleet was falling at an acute angle, spurred on by an intensely cold wind. I watched from the warmth of our conservatory as she rounded the corner and disappeared from view, Arūnas smiling and waving from the wheel. That’s it – she’s gone. Read more

Dialogue

Sometimes silence is golden. I love these two photos taken on our tour round Europe last summer. This was about 2 months into the trip and, being cooped up in the van for several hours per day, we’d had plenty of time for chatting. Here we are taking a well-earned break from conversation. My mind is probably still on our wonderful trip to Porto a few days earlier. Arūnas is fiddling with his phone, sneaking first a picture of me and then a picture of the tree we’re sheltering under. A wonderful little moment of calm – no words needed. Read more

Zigzag

During our food tour last summer we got to visit Porto, home to one of my favourite tipples. After a boozy and interesting visit to Cockburn’s Port House we drove out through the Duoro Valley to see where the grapes were grown. I was fascinated to see the vines planned up the steep sides of the valley in a zigzag manner to make best use of fertile land in an inhospitable space. The result is stunningly beautiful. Read more

On Top

This is one of my favourite photos from our trip around Europe. Taken in Peneda-Gerês National Park in northern Portugal, it captures Arūnas taking a coffee break on top of a small stone shack. Close to the top of the mountain, the vistas surrounding us were superb. The photo completely captures the joy of camper van life – you can take your coffee break wherever you like! Read more

So, how was your trip?

Open roads, rugged mountains, wandering long-horned cows, winding river valleys, terraced vineyards, sparkling seas, ice lakes, snowy peaks, colourful markets, majestic cities – these are just some of the sights we encountered on our recent tour of Europe. Read more

Beyond Bristol Cream

I’ve always loved Port. It reminds me of Christmas, of overindulgence on Stilton and crackers, of spicy pudding and squabbles over Monopoly. Sherry, too, reminds me of Christmas. Someone would invariably give us a bottle of Bristol Cream, which would sit in the cupboard until some elderly neighbour came to visit and fancied a sip of the overly sweet syrup. Brandy (generally cognac) was always considered a luxury and was saved for very special occasions, sometimes mixed with a drop of port for added exorbitance. Read more

A taste of things to come

After 76 days on the road we’ve decided to take a short break from our travels. Much as we’ve been enjoying ourselves, we have a few wrinkles we need to iron out to ensure we get the most from our experience. Read more

Porto Pantomime

The fish market in Porto took longer to find than anticipated, principally because it wasn’t where it was meant to be. At least, that is, according to our guide book. Pedalling around hilly Porto in the sweltering heat with empty tummies and lunchtime smells filling the air, we were close to throwing in the towel and opting for one of the many street-side cafés. Read more

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