America discovers Portugal

Americans discovered France, Italy, and more recently,
Spain, as vacation destinations.  But Portugal has remained terra incognita. That is changing. The New York Times has written a steady stream of articles about Portugal. Most are about Lisbon; about the places to go, the culinary renaissance, the new restaurants, the new museums, the relaxed atmosphere, and the art scene. But the Times has also discovered Cascais and Évora. The Wall Street Journal tells its readers that “In Portugal you can pack seven days worth of castles, clubbing, seafood, shopping and luxury hotels into one perfectly affordable long weekend.” Now, perhaps Woody Allen will consider directing a movie about a writer who comes to Lisbon and discovers that the secret to eternal youth is a daily bath of piri-piri sauce.

Fog

When we walk on the beach on foggy days we always have a sense that something special is about to happen. In the XVI century Portugal had a young king, D. Sebastião, who tried to conquer the north of Africa. He failed with terrible consequences. Much of the country’s elite died in battle or in Moroccan prisons. The king vanished and Portugal lost its independence to Spain. But the Portuguese did not loose hope. They believed that D. Sebastião would return on a foggy day to restore the glory of Portugal. So, if you are walking on the beach on a foggy day, keep an eye on the horizon. This could be the day.

The tide tables

During beach vacations life follows the rhythm of the tides. Low tide is the best time to walk on the hard, moist sea sand. The sun and the moon regulate the tides with designs that only physicists understand. Luckily, Portugal’s Ocean Institute publishes tide tables, so we don’t have to study physics to know the perfect time to walk on the beach.

Click here to see the tide tables.

Bem vindo!

It means welcome in Portuguese. Welcome to our blog about places to see, food to eat, wine to drink, poetry to read, and whatever else comes to mind. The Portuguese navigators discovered much of the world four hundred years ago. But the world has yet to discover Portugal. So the country remains the last secret of Europe. A place of castles and palaces, of mountains and valleys, of sand and sea. All bathed in warm light, all cooled by the breeze that carries the ocean’s salt, the salt of Portugal.