Thursday, 10 September 2015

Holiday in Portugal - além do Tejo

In the middle of all the family gatherings, we planned a trip to the south of Portugal. No, not Algarve, Alentejo. More specifically the part near the Atlantic coast, the Costa Vicentina and thereabouts

We spent a few days in a casa de campo (country house) not too far from the coast, where we could experience a bit more of the Alentejo, in the middle of its vast open countryside of hills and plains, cork oaks and big country houses, its hot weather and clear star-filled nights.

A typical Alentejo scenery
Alentejo has a lot to offer. Quaint little villages to explore, interesting museums, etc. We went to the Museu da Farinha (museum of flour) in São Domingos, a family-run museum, where our guide was the heir to an old converted mill. It was a pleasure to listen to his childhood stories of times past.

A small selection of what you can see at the Museu da Farinha
Vila Nova de Milfontes was for me the occasion to see the ocean for the first time this year. Here you can actually choose between bathing in the ocean or, if you prefer calmer waters, in the Mira river.

One of my favourite things about Alentejo is its very characteristic use of colour in architecture. You typically have little white houses with coloured borders around the windows, doors and main walls. Lots of bright yellows, blues, greens, etc. Even churches have adopted this style. 

I just stopped mid-track and had to quickly sketch this quaint little church
Adopting the Alentejo rhythm also means to take it slow and have leisurely siestas during the strongest heat of the day.

Luckily the hotel our country house was attached to had a swimming pool with beautiful parasols, so we could enjoy the hot afternoons chaparro-syle.

Under these parasols, it almost felt like we were in the tropics
Or we could choose to lie down in the hammock, slowly rocked by a pleasant breeze.

Not easy to get proportions right when lying down in a hammock
Stay tuned for more Alentejo impressions soon.

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