Unostentatious Comporta is a State of Mind

As we move through the last official days of summer, my thoughts turn to the beach, or rather, the beach vacations I didn’t take this year. I’m actually not much of a beach person. Or to be more specific, lying on a beach and a swim among the waves isn’t so much my thing as simply the […]

Sisters of Fate – A Fado Playlist

As I’ve been writing this post, Portugal has been commemorating a special anniversary: the 100th anniversary of Amália Rodrigues. Her name may not mean much outside Portuguese-speaking circles, but here she is revered as the “Queen of Fado”, and her anniversary is an appropriate time for me to confess: I am a die-hard fan of this music. Let […]

An Expedition to the Stars

The story I have to tell begins in Portugal in 1881. A team of scientists from the Lisbon Geographic Society gather to undertake an expedition to the Serra da Estrela mountains some 300km away. The Serra, the highest point in continental Portugal (the peak at Torre clocks in just shy of 2,000 meters) acquired its main […]

The Real Portuguese Deal

I’ve long had a fascination for border towns.  Places of transit.  People and wares on the move.  Constantly changing faces that melt together in memory, dingy train stations that scream “end-of-the-line”. Dimly lit border patrol checkpoints staffed by hard luck, disgruntled customs agents still trying to figure out how they screwed up on the job to […]

The Douro Knows

When I’m choosing my preferred wine growing regions, I want more than just great wine, great food, and a decent place to lay my head. I want somewhere that’s going to inspire me. And that’s why, dear friends, should I ever go missing in action, start by looking in the Douro Valley in Portugal. The […]

Let Me Stand Next To Your Praia

Now dig this!  Algarve.  Al-gharb. The name was given by the Moors, and means simply “the west”.  And like the other Jimmy says, the west is the best.  So here’s some tips to find your own castles made of sand. First, and let’s be honest here, the development of the Algarve coast was not Portugal’s […]

A Sandy Love Story

Love is in the air. Mostly because we’re trying desperately to ward off the snowy chill of February, but also because of that heart-shaped holiday awaiting us at the end of the week. Whether you think it’s a perfect time for romance or a total Hallmark sham, you can’t lose if you simply look at […]