this is the archive for the ‘in portugal’ category:


anatomy of summer

summer came late and then all of a sudden. the roads and the beaches filled with tanned bodies, the scent of sunscreen lotion permeating the air. new voices and accents and honks invading our quiet bubbles, their cars parked every which way down the street.

the hills have gone dry and the children cries alternate between pool-side delight and tired tantrums. grass trimmers and pool motors buzz away, giving the cicadas a run for their money. the swallows come and go, like pendulums over our heads. our bodies stick to chairs during the day and to sheets at night.

our favourite restaurants are full, as are the supermarket’s tills… but we don’t really mind. far from invaders, tourists are powering the workforce of the local communities who live for the summer months. they drive the boats, cook the meals, clean the houses and everything else — and they need these months of business to get through the rest of the year.

but for us, summer is the time to leave it all to them. “when the heat dies down, i’ll be back in town”, as they say. :)

passionfruit update!

around the end of june, some of our passionfruits started turning purple. i confess we’ve been quite anxious for this last step. the vine’s many fruits been growing for over 2 months now, and with an upcoming trip fast approaching, we were running out time to actually taste the literal fruits of our labour.

so when the first mature fruit (a tiny perfect one) fell on our hands last week, we rejoiced at last. let’s open it!


(pardon the dirty fingernails, i was gardening)

look at that! :D it was just as juicy as promised, and immensely satisfying to finally taste something that was 2 years in the making. there’s plenty more on the vine, but sadly i don’t think they’ll ripen before we have to go. oh well, hopefully there will still be some left for our return — and if not, there’s always next year. i don’t think we’ll get tired of passionfruits anytime soon!

what we ate in terceira

my tasting memory is quickly fading, so it’s time to do one of these food recaps again!


the gastronomic pride and joy of the island is alcatra, a beef stew that is slowly cooked in a clay pot for hours. some prefer the top bits of the pot (which are drier) and some prefer to grab their meat from the depths of it, where the pieces are moist, drenched in sauce and falling off the bone. they tasted equally great to me, and we ended up having it several times around the island.

i’m a fan of charcuterie, and the island’s chouriço (smoked sausage) and morcela (blood sausage) were divine. especially the morcela…

…goodness!

friends invited us for lapas (limpets), a type of sea snails found in azores. we gave them a go, and they were surprisingly delicious! drenched in garlic and lemon, they pop right off their shell.

quinta dos açores is a meat & dairy business (there are more cows than inhabitants in terceira!), with a side gig of restaurant & ice-cream parlor. the design of the place is refreshingly modern and the dishes are great too. :)

more charcuterie and the island’s inhame (taro), a sort of sweet potato that is served steamed.

now and then you could sense the influence of the american base looming nearby — pizza and fried chicken were never very far, as well as mountain dew and other drinks. we even saw fanta grape in a supermarket!

in between hikes, we took a detour to queijo vaquinha to try their cheese platter. the cheeses were good, but the bread was amazing! and of course, we drowned it all with kima, the fizzy drink from azores that comes in pineapple or passionfruit flavors.

what about dessert? sadly, i forgot to take some proper photos of all the delicious d. amélias we had, a mini cake quite similar to broas de mel, but somehow better and more delicate, as the regal name would imply.

but i did take a photo of the island’s cornucópias. these almond cones filled with egg cream were were amazing… but i’m glad we tasted them only on the last day because boy, that was heavy. they’re small, but probably pack enough calories in them for the whole day! :D

and i think that covers it! it was a good trip all around, filled with awe and discovery, and i only wish we could have stayed a bit longer to go on exploring. i guess that’s our cue to come back again soon!

green details

from azores, still.

volcanic pools!

are you tired of volcanic stuff yet? i promise, this is the last one for a while! :)

these are the natural pools in biscoitos, a funny-named town on the north side of terceira island. they’re volcanic in origin, but not heated by volcanic activity like hot pots. pools were formed as old lava flows cooled off when hitting the sea, the spaces between the rocks getting filled with seawater. add a few platforms and stairs, and now you can swim or sunbathe here.

the basalt rocks absorb a lot of heat actually, so standing next to them becomes hard on a sunny day, gently nudging you to take a dip. surprisingly, the ocean in azores is not that cold either, because of the north atlantic drift bringing all that tropical water north… so of course we had to dip our toes in it. it felt wonderful after all that hiking.

when your feet are fresh enough, grab a donete from a nearby stall and you’re all set for the next hike!