‘Tis The Season For Maracujá (Passion Fruit)

maracujá (passion fruit)

Maracujá from my in-laws’ place — specifically, from the fence that separates their driveway from the next-door neighbours. That fence yields an impressive volume of passion fruit! We were given a big bag of it yesterday and it will be our dessert for some days, so I’m going to try and prepare it in different ways for variety. But I have a feeling we’ll just eat them like this, cut in half and scooped out with a spoon.

Speaking of which, if I want to make a dish with fresh figs — which I’m much more of a fan of than dried figs — I’d better hurry up because it’s the season for fresh figs right now in Portugal and apparently they only last a couple of days once picked. We’ll be heading to Fig Central (southern Algarve) on our road trip that’s coming up very soon.

Here’s a handy list (scroll to bottom) of what’s in season in Portugal, by month, courtesy of Catavino.

It’s the last day of August! Are you sad about the summer coming to an end, or are you more than ready for September?

Scenes From Lamego

Avenida Doutor Alfredo Sousa (Lamego, Portugal)

Avenida Doutor Alfredo Sousa with Santuário de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios in the background

Full album still to come, but here are a few scenes from a visit to Lamego earlier this month. (See also: Santuário de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios) Of note: nearby is the tiny 7th century São Pedro de Balsemão Chapel, a Visigothic chapel believed to be the oldest in Portugal (and second oldest in Europe). I’m going to try and visit that chapel next time.

Sé (Cathedral) - Lamego, Portugal

Sé (Cathedral)

Largo da Sé (Lamego, Portugal)

along Largo da Sé

Bolo de azeite (Lamego, Portugal)

Bolo de azeite (olive oil cake? olive oil bread?)

Escadas da Nossa Senhora dos Remédios (Stairs of Our Lady of Remedies) - Lamego, Portugal

Escadas da Nossa Senhora dos Remédios (Stairs of Our Lady of Remedies)

August 15, 2014
Album: Lamego, Portugal (Assunção de Nossa Senhora 2014 Festas)

Porto: Capela das Almas

Capela das Almas (Porto, Portugal)

Remember how I mentioned a few days ago that azulejos (ceramic tiles) are everywhere in Portugal? Here’s a good example: Capela das Almas at the corner of Rua da Santa Catarina and Rua de Fernandes Tomás. It’s a busy spot, since it’s close to Bolhão Market and Bolhão metro station, with pedestrian traffic on Rua Catarina, a popular shopping street. This magnificently-tiled church is quite a sight when coming off the metro escalator. I have some wider-angle photos of it from my visit in May 2013, here’s one:

Porto, Portugal

Capela das Almas – May 14, 2013

Capela das Almas (Porto, Portugal)

I have yet to visit the interior, but I’ll wait for a rainy day over the winter, today was far too nice to be inside.

In other news, today is my 11th month anniversary of living in Portugal!

August 29, 2014
Album: Portugal (Summer 2014)

Orange Is The New Black

Carolina Michaelis Metro Station (Porto, Portugal) (1)

No, I’ve never seen the television show but this sea of popsicle orange amidst the flower beds of yellow and white deserved a better title than Carolina Michaelis Metro Station, which is where I took these photos. I’ve been using this station for 11 months and each time I climb the stairs to the platform I think to myself, ‘I really need to stop and shoot the flowers!’

Tonight I was, as usual, hurrying up the stairs. But this time I decided to stop and take a few quick shots even though the trains run less frequently in the evening, and despite the terrible lighting.

(For the record, Paulo likes the bottom photo better while I preferred the top, so I used both. And HELMA loves carnations, so they’re for her, too. Orange for all!)

I don’t have any orange clothing, but I always like seeing orange clothing on people and objects. It’s such a happy colour, and as I’m sure the people of The Netherlands and Syracuse, New York would agree, the more orange the better.

Carolina Michaelis Metro Station (Porto, Portugal) (2)

August 28, 2014
Album: Portugal (Summer 2014)

Porto: Ribeira By VSCO

Praça da Ribeira / Ribeira Square, Porto

Praça da Ribeira

Porto was like a steam cooker last night! We met visiting friends for dinner and ate outside in Ribeira (waterfront). Porto is still in the thick of tourist season and the narrow pedestrian alleys around Ribeira were filled with tables of people soaking in the atmosphere. Eating around the square gave great views, especially of the Luís I Bridge and night lights across the river in Vila Nova de Gaia. We walked across the lower deck of the bridge to view Porto from the Gaia side and that’s when the light mist began. Rain may sound unappealing but it finally broke the humidity and immediately the temperature began to cool off a little. Relief!

I didn’t have my camera with me (a good thing, since it would’ve gotten wet), only my phone which took this picture in the square. For better summer photos of Porto taken with the DSLRs, check out the Summer 2014 album.

Coimbra: Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha

Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha (Coimbra, Portugal) (1)

Portugal boasts an impressive number of national monuments and this is just one of them in Coimbra, Central Portugal. We passed through the area on a camping trip back in April,  stopping only briefly at the current convent, Santa Clara-a-Nova, because it was preoccupied by a wedding, and spent the rest of our time at Santa Clara-a-Velha. It has a modern visitor centre with artifacts and presentations, helpful to view before exploring the site.

From VisitPortugal.com: Mosteiro de Santa Clara-a-Velha

The Mosteiro de Santa Clara was built in 1314 at the orders of the Queen Saint Isabel of Aragon, replacing a small convent of nuns of the Order of St. Clare, founded in 1286. The building was completed in 1330, having been designed by the architect Domingos Domingues, who had previously worked on the Mosteiro de Alcobaça.

This convent is a fine example of the architecture of that period, being notable for the size of the church and cloister and the stone vault that covers the three naves of the church, all of which are of the same size. Because of its location on the banks of the River Mondego, the convent was subjected to frequent floods that led to the building of an upper floor and the abandonment of the almost permanently submerged ground floor. In the 17th century, the king Dom João IV commissioned the building of a new convent at a high point in the city. This new convent was given the name of Santa Clara-a-Nova, and the nuns moved there in 1677. The original convent, which became known as Santa Clara-a-Velha, was abandoned and left to fall into ruins.

At the end of the 20th century, the building was subjected to in-depth restoration work, which uncovered the original structures and led to the discovery of a vast and diversified range of treasures. Now open to the public once again, the convent offers its visitors a spacious outdoor leisure area in a tour that includes the church and the restored archaeological structures. At the Visitor Centre, besides the exhibition of the objects that were found here, laid out in accordance with their importance in the life of the convent, audiovisual media are used to present the history of the site and its restoration.


Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-7pm
Tickets: €4 (discounts for groups, families, children, students and people 65+)
(as of 2014)

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Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha (Coimbra, Portugal) (3)

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Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha (Coimbra, Portugal) (5)

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Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha (Coimbra, Portugal) (10)

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Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha (Coimbra, Portugal) (13)

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Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha (Coimbra, Portugal) (17)

Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha (Coimbra, Portugal) (18)

April 12, 2014
Album: Central Portugal Camping Trip

A Beautiful Door

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I took these pictures today with my-not-i-phone, filtered nicely with the VSCO Cam app. It’s a door that belongs to a quinta (country house) across the road from my local shopping centre. I’ve passed by it countless times, but the door stopped me today while running errands because of the explosion of flowers above and around it. The burst of colour caught my eye, and I waited for most of the busy traffic to pass before taking a photo across the street to get a wider view.

I’ve been answering a volume spike of email lately from my website, queries about Portugal — visiting here, living here — and one of the recent questions was about flowers. While doing some research to answer the questions, I discovered there’s an Almond Tree Route in the Douro Valley in February/March. It looks gorgeous, I must get myself there!

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