Posts Tagged 'Portugal'

Looking at Food in a Different Light in Lisbon, Portugal.

Food connoisseurs, foodies and just for those who want nothing better than to have a chance to expand their culinary horizons; head to Lisbon this fall.  Get your palate ready for action and while at it, there is an added bonus. Lisbon’s streets and monuments will be more colourful than usual. 

The Luzboa Festival, takes place on “even” years and since it is 2008, it is once again time for the renowned street project. Beginning November 8th to January 11th, Lisbon becomes a city of brightness, color and contemporary art thus transforming it into a public gallery throughout the streets every evening. What’s more the lights are environmentally friendly LED and illuminate the city upon dusk until midnight. Of course weekends will stay lit up a little longer and a total of 40 diverse examples by artists from Portugal and other European countries are on display.

Stay out as late as you wish. You are walking distance to home.

Stay out as late as you wish. You are walking distance to home.

This festival aspires to bring people outdoors in the fall and early winter evenings to partake in the event and enjoy their beautiful urban space. While outdoors exploring the city during this two month festival of lights, try some of the specialities found only in Portugal. Many wonderful dining experiences are available  and once you’ve sampled your way through several, you will want to savor these flavors and tastes. As soon as you arrive into the quaint capital city of Portugal, aka Lisboa, you will immediately start to smell the fresh aromas within it.

Don’t  worry about being out late; do as all the inhabitants do, walk before dining, eat, walk once more and then rest your head after a scrumptious feast in your own vacation rental, such as the Casa Lapa, right in the center of the city. This 2 bedroom duplex apartment sleeps 4 and you will not miss a night of Luzboa.

Begin your evening viewing the monuments under their natural light, then head towards the port, which becomes magical with the sun setting upon the western horizon. This is really a fascinating city to just stroll and soak it up. As you get hungry, let the gastronomic adventure begin.

Everything is walking distance to your Lisbon vacation rental.

Everything is walking distance to your Lisbon vacation rental.

Try the “Sardinhas,” one of the most popular dishes in Portugal, consisting of fried sardines usually served on a bed of rice. Codfish known as “Bacalhau” along with shrimp and mussels are also very common choices.

If you are not a fish fan, then turkey may be more your fare. A dish called “Bifanas de Peru” which is turkey cutlets in a cream sauce is quite popular. Just remember, that in Portugal, they kick their sauces up a notch. To sum up Portuguese food, one can say that it is delicious, inexpensive and fresh.

Afterwards, check out the monuments, under their new lights strategically placed, while obtaining a new perspective on the centuries old capitol.  Lisbon is the place where many nautical discovers had started, and now is the time for it to be discovered by you under the lights of Luzboa.

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Lagos, Portugal is the Land of Discoveries.

The Algarve region in Portugal is dotted with many villages along its rugged and sandy coasts. One of the most striking is an attractive waterfront town on the Algarve, Lagos. Here you are in the middle of the cliffs of the most South-westerly point of Europe jutting into the Atlantic Ocean.

The Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans and Moors all settled here. Henry the Navigator launched the age of discovery and arranged Vasco de Gama to set sail for what was to be his discovery of Brazil. There are several interesting statues erected to Vasco de Gama and other famous figures of the past that are associated with the history of this town and their past sea adventurers. The old town of Lagos is still surrounded by the medieval wall. Today visitors and the artists who remain only have found something special about Lagos beside the delightful beaches.

The family will be right at home in their vacation home.

The family will be right at home in their vacation home.

Lagos is popular with visitors for several reasons. The first being it is relatively diminutive in area. This makes it large enough to nurture activities yet small enough to feel quaint. Known for its miles of sandy beaches, Lagos is the ideal place on the Algarve in a holiday home such as this 3 bedroom with unlimited views facing the Atlantic.

It is easy to do nothing at all by lounging on the beach or venture into the numerous hidden gems of the area.  Lagos is a perfect escape for the entire family.

Everyday there is probably a festival of some sort going on in Portugal with its rich cultural heritage and religious roots. The windows of Lagos look towards the Americas, where at one time the view was considered to be the End of the World. That was of course until the discovery and European colonization of the Americas.

That is just what the upcoming Festa dos Descobrimentos (Festival of Two Discoveries) celebrates. It is the pinnacle for both locals and tourists looking forward to each year in Lagos. This year’s event begins near the end of October, running into the first weeks of November. What a wonderful way for any visitor to absorb Lagos’s culture celebrating the discovery period. You have chance to witness the bands, floats and costumes of this popular festival. 

The striking long park-like cobblestone and mosaic-patterned promenade runs along a section of the old city’s stonewall. The promenade stretches directly to the new Marina, totally pedestrian-friendly.

In the Marina visitors will find different boat tours, deep sea-fishing outings that can be arranged in advance. One of the best outing is to take is the grotto tour by signing-up with one of the vendors near the front of town. Observe from the water, the distinctive and magnificent cliffs that surround the Lagos and remember your camera.

A favorite among children and adults is Zoo Marine featuring dolphin interaction in an aquarium setting of over 8 acres. The theater presents One World – One Future a 4D animation concentrating on global warming.

Walk for miles along the coast.

Walk for miles along the coast.

If you are looking to get away for a quiet area within Lagos, consider taking a hike up the coast. There are trails that run along the coast for a couple miles and leads to a nice lighthouse and eventually to some of the “grottos”. It is a great walk and even if you don’t go the whole way you can still get great views of the cliffs and rocky islands.

Nazaré for Seafarers, Legends and More

One event that takes place yearly, in this quaint fishing port along the Atlantic Ocean located in Nazaré, Portugal, is the Our Lady of Nazaré Festival (Nossa Senhora da Nazre Romaria). The festival begins on September 8 and is the biggest celebration in Nazaré to include great food, wine, singing, bullfights and folk dancing.

The town derives its name from Nazareth, Palestine, where the origins of a statue of the Virgin Mary came from. It was brought back to this fishing village by a monk in the 4th century, according to legend. Because of her presence, the villagers felt the Virgin Mary bestowed good fortune for them with the sea. The main attraction on the 8th is the religious procession commencing from the 17th century Nossa Senhora da Nazare Church and carrying the image of Our Lady of Nazaré down to the sea for blessings.

What nicer way is there to witness this festival by its townspeople firsthand than staying at your own 2 bedroom holiday home overlooking the sea. Within walking distant to the town center you will be assured you will not miss a thing.

Overlook the sea in Nazaré in your 2 bedroom vacation home.

Overlook the sea in Nazaré in your 2 bedroom vacation home.

Being discovered to become a resort for those in the know; the area professes long sandy shorelines, considered to be among the best beaches of Portugal. 

It is possible to see the town’s traditional ways of daily life still in existence. It is here that the fishermen still sport the area’s traditional garb as their great grandfathers did and sail their brightly painted fishing boats moored right on the beach. Where else can you see the local women carrying immense loads on their heads or sitting with each other, sewing up fishing nets for their men wearing the traditional black? The narrow streets of the fishing area remind the visitor the daily lives of its inhabitant have gone unobstructed to the rigors of modern life.
 
You may notice woman wearing seven layers of brightly colored petticoats under their skirts, which are known as the “Seven Skirts of Nazare.” There are different theories, pertaining to this custom, as some are convinced that the petticoats relate to the seven days of the week; while others state it is the rainbow, matching their husband’s boats, thus, signifying good fortune and harvest at sea. Most likely it actually came about as way for fishermen’s wives to stay warm against the elements.

Needless to say, the waterfront is lined with some excellent seafood restaurants serving the fresh catch of the day and anytime is wonderful for a visit. Get an amazing panoramic view of Nazaré and the sea by taking a funicular that climbs 360ft above in the town of Sitio.


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