Yes I know, it’s been a while since I last was here on this platform but now I’m back and with new things to share with you! New stories to dive you into with my break from reality.
Last month I travelled to Portugal, a country I kind of left in the back of my mind since I visited as a kid in 2004? So my storytelling will start backwards, meaning with the last place I ended my trip at, while it’s still fresh in my head.
Before I left, I was reading some articles from different travel magazines (Condé Nast, Travel + Leisure, etc.) and in every one Portugal was mentioned as one of the top travel destinations for 2017/18. A coincidence that I was travelling there this year, I hadn’t planned for it so far ahead but thanks to the company I am working at, their convention for 2018 was in Lisbon. So that’s when I decided I should take this opportunity to explore further up the country in Northern Portugal.
Our last destination on the trip was Porto. After much debating on whether to fly to Barcelona from Lisbon or stay in the country and relax a bit around the ocean, I chose to reside around the Porto region and I’m grateful that I made that decision. I found this unique and cozy chalet which use to belong to our Airbnb host’s grandfather, interesting to step into someone else’s past and in some way, be a part of it too. Within just a short walk away from the ocean, as you open the windows of the house, sometimes you could hear the sound of waves crashing against each other.
Before I choose any place to stay, I always create a picture in my head of what I want to see from my window, where I can walk to and what type of area I want it to be in. Call me picky but I think you have to be in a certain type of place which accommodates to the purpose of your trip, inside the big city or outside to enjoy a break from all the hustle and bustle.
So I found this cute, little Airbnb (Airbnb cottage) in the small town of Granja (I will show you a bit around the house here). The Northern part of Portugal is well known for their meters-high waves, a desired destination for all surf lovers. One night as the sun was slowly setting, we decided to go for a walk on the shore and as we do on every beach we’ve ever walked on, collected handfuls of rocks that were left behind from the tides. I’m always amazed at how nature designs so uniquely every rock, every shell, you will never find one alike. It’s funny because ever since I returned home, in each bag I was with I keep finding a rock or two from the ocean, a constant reminder of those calm, long walks on the beach in Granja I will never forget.
Our Airbnb host, Joana (truly a great person and turned out we had so much in common:), recommended some great little towns to visit in the region, and also suggested we see the local open market, which is held in Feira de Espinho on Mondays. I have been to many local markets across Europe so I had a good idea of what to expect; cheap everyday clothing, shoes, rugs, hand weaved baskets, fruits, vegetables, anything you can imagine pretty much. In this particular market, for the first time I saw a variety of live chickens, little ducklings, roosters, and rabbits. I was too overwhelmed by how adorable these creatures were, especially the tiny, baby ducks all covered in a yellow ball of fluff. I was walking back and forth between these birds, thinking whether to buy a couple fresh eggs from the basket (because I always want to have my eggs as fresh as possible, even with a few feathers here and there), mind you we were leaving back to Canada the day after tomorrow. So I asked the lady sitting beside her birds to buy just a few eggs, I don’t need a whole carton. Of course she did not speak a word of English so I tried to explain with hand gestures for her to give me only 6….. so I got 12 for 1 euro! Not a bad bargain 🙂 what was left I gave to my Airbnb host to indulge in some fresh market eggs.
I am not one to complain about the weather but during our stay, most days were cloudy with a chance of heavy rain. Skies were often covered in dark puffs of cotton, nothing wrong with a little dramatic touch to my photos. It’s a strange coincidence that every time I am about to leave from Europe, the day before it always rains on us, as if the place is trying to tell us to stay a bit longer. Something from within convinces me that everything has a feeling, whether it’s an object, animal, or even place….. not really sure why this is but I guess it just is 🙂
Before I even left for my Portugal trip, I really wanted to visit this little church sitting on the beach of Miramar, it was called Cappella do Senhor do Pedra. I actually first saw it on Marta Gerber’s blog “What’s for Breakfast” from her stay in Porto. I visited the church during the day, when all the sun shined its bright rays upon its majestic white top, waves crashing on to the rock structure protecting the church. Something about it’s small size of a church and the fact that it sits just perched upon a rock in the centre of the long ocean shore, makes it look magical and holy in itself. On the evening before our departure, I decided to capture the same church under a different light, a different atmosphere, and in the rain. Somehow I always get lucky with catching these cloudy, dramatic days as I travel, but those are some of my favourite moments to capture because most often you always see the sunny side up of a place, but who says you can’t see the beauty within a little bit of darkness?? And coincidentally, I also caught Porto under the weather, rain and all but she was still as authentic and beautiful as in the light. Here are a couple photos of Porto on a rainy day.
I still have a lot more to show you of this beautiful old city, share an easy summer recipe and lots more from Portugal to come! Please feel free to share your comments here about anything; if you want me to share more photos in my posts, about your visit to Portugal perhaps or anywhere in that matter, please write away : )