Although not inexpensive at 120euros a person this full day walking tour introduces you to some of the delights of Lisbon food and local markets. The tour takes you to small back street restaurants and cafes that you would definitely miss on your own.
If not, you're missing one of the true delights of Europe.
It has been dedicate as a World Heritage Site.
Imagine entering a fairy tale, with castles, palaces and forts literally around every corner.
Beautiful tree line windy roads and mossy paths through majestic forests. This is the magnificent Sintra. It's hard to believe it still exists.
See it before it succumbs to modern change (hopefully it won't).
Alentejo is the largest region of the country and is located in south-central Portugal. It comprises the Évora District, Beja, Portalegre, part of Setúbal and pat of Santarém.
Well known for its hearty appetizing cuisine and especially for the production of some of the best wines in the country (many of them recognized and awarded internationally). Also known for their black pork, angus beef, olives and production of cork.
The best months to go for country walks in this area are from September to late May, after which time it becomes absolutely too hot in the day.
To see the spring wild flowers, including tiny wild orchids, go from mid March through April to May.
It is tricky to tie down the absolute best times for the wild flowers since a lot depends on the rains. Wild flowers spring up almost overnight once it has been raining for a week or so.
A Sensational Walk, Vale Centianes to Carvoeiro
Photos and text by Phil Harbord
This is a medium difficulty walk of about 1 hour, one way. For a circular route, you may choose to walk back via the road (another 45 minutes).
This is the walk I dream of when I'm freezing in the middle of another Canadian winter. I especially look forward to the spring flowers and the smell of wild thyme and rosemary in March, April and May.
The area where the violent seas crash against huge rocky cliffs along the coast of Costa Vincentina are the home of the highly sought after
Percebes. In Portugal they are such a delicacy they can cost 3 times the price of Lobster. Highly sought after for a lunch or dinner,
it is a true feast to eat them!
The Portuguese'coffee culture' is like no other. IF you take the time, you can learn to appreciate whatrealcoffee is all about. Most of Portuguese coffee beans come from Brazil, a former Portuguese colony, now grower of some of the best coffee beans in the world. So starting with great coffee beans gets us half way there. After that its a matter of care and service to make the normal coffee into something really special.
There are well over 18 different ways to order coffee, some of which include
Bica,(expresso, served in a tiny cup), Bica Cheia (expresso with extra water), Bica Pingada (expresso with a drop of milk), cafe duplo, Double expresso...blast off!), Galão (a milky coffee served in a glass), Galão claro (very weak milky coffee), Galão claro & morno (weak coffee not too hot), capachinho (yes cappachino!),
Café com leite: Large coffee cup, half coffee, half milk.
Galão: served in a tall glass, half milk and half coffee topped with foam.
Meia-de-Leite: Served in a cup and saucer half milk and half coffee.
Garoto: expresso with foam
Pingado: expresso with some cold milk
Carioca: very weak coffee
Carioca de limão: Hot water with lemon rinde
Descafeinado: decaf, can be expresso or any of the other coffees
Duplo: Two normal expressos together - Blast off!
Bica with brandy and for the woman Galão with' pasteis'(one of the fabulous Portuguese pastries, made fresh daily!
Northern Europe for the last few months has been inundated with lashing rain, wind and even heavy snowfalls.
Serious flooding has affected many areas in the UK with the worst rainfalls in 240 years, since the record taking began.
At the end of February it rained for more than than ten days without stop in the Algarve. The Algarve is not equipped for such heavy rain, drivers not used to rain, aren't thinking of slowing down, there are more accidents on the roads. Yes the Algarve did get some rain but nowhere near these flooding conditions throught the rest of Europe. Storm Hercules roared across the Atlantic straight to Europe especially to England and the Algarve.
STORKS are springing up all over!
Many would say that wine was the nectar of the gods. But in the Algarve there is stiff competition from the remarkable orange.
Oranges with their juicy sweetness often grow to the size of grape fruits here.There are fresh oranges almost 9 months a year. It takes only 3 to 5 oranges to make a brimming glassful.
Sweet as Heaven, full of Vitamin C and Fibre.
At the side of every main road you will find local farmers selling their bags full of oranges usualy about 1 per kilo. Somtimes getting even cheaper further down the road.
When you think of Carnival you probably think of Rio or New Orleans, but in every part of the Algarve
mini carnivals are held for the children! Every town and school have their own traditions but the village of Loulé outshines them all.
On the last day of school before the Carnival break, children gather in small groups at the municipal auditorium. Each class usually has a theme ie circus, traditional dress, etc.
Some of the classes still make the costumes using recycled materials, others have the parents put together the costumes at home, some being incredibly inventive. Teachers follow the children to the auditorium which is bursting to the seams with excited children and the adults are treated to a parade of hundreds of children in colourful costumes dancing to lively music.
A mini version of what is happening in Rio over the whole week!
The story of the princess and the King is well known in the Algarve. The King's beautiful Nordic Princess was crying away the long winter nights
as there was no snow on the ground to give joy to her heart.
The King ordered thousands of Almond trees to be planted across the realm and soon the gorgeous white blossoms fell gently to the
ground, coating the earth like snow. The Princess was happy and the magic returned to the kingdom.