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Exploring levadas in Madeira

This time it’s a family trip. More precisely a surprise trip for my mother’s 60th birthday. She’s always been a fan of Portuguese culture and heritage, hence the idea to go to Madeira. What do you associate Madeira with? For my mother and sister Luisa, this is the “island of everlasting spring” and the cradle…

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Port in Porto

Night panorama of Douro riverbank We park nearby Paços do Concelho, the city council of Porto. Shortly after I befriend a Portuguese woman who appears to be the parking ticket warden, so for that reason parking becomes complimentary. We crawl along Avenida dos Aliados, the main alley leading from the center to the Douro riverside.…

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Fortaleza de Peniche We are too late! This year’s world surfing championship at the beach of Supertubos ended two days ago. We missed Kelly Slater and Laird Hamilton, the world’s top surfers. One of the accidental hitchhikers assured me that last week during the competition there were six meters high giant waves. The atmosphere of…

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Portuguese Odyssey

Sanctuary on the dark Cabo Espichel The winding mountain path is surrounded by the lush green vegetation of Serra da Arrabida nature park. At dusk we arrive at the terrifying Cabo Espichel. The heavy, wet fog reveals only the outlines of abandoned buildings at the very end of the cape. This is a cultic pilgrimage…

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The great explorers set off their romantic travels I admire the dramatic view of sun subtly setting behind the clouds . Sailboats released in the wind, an ocean cruising ship and a few fishing boats cast long shadows on the wrinkled surface of the river. In the foreground there is the monument Padrão dos Descobrimentos…

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The land of Alentejo

Windmill in Odeceixe The road north leads through a small fishing town Vale dos Homens. At the fish market we buy several doradas for dinner. This is a peaceful place, people rarely appear on the streets. We meet an old man sitting on a wooden bench in the shade of acacia lazily reading a newspaper.…

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Mussels and squid

Praia do Amado Cooking squid for not a skilled cook is kind of a challenge. Awkward incision makes intensely black ink  splatter around. I remove the squid’s float, looking indistinguishably like a part made of plastic. Everything around is stained with ink and definitely does not look like anything edible, not to mention being tasty.…

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Algarve tripping

Surfing time Early in the morning I say goodbye to southern Spain and cross the Portuguese border. My first stop is at the tourist information office. Courteous black girl, probably in the seventh month of pregnancy greets me with Portuguese “Bom dia!” and a smile on her face. I collect detailed information on the Algarve…

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