Pure Portugal

comments 10
Food / Outings

The human mind is a strange thing sometimes. In the height of summer, the few days that pushed past 35°C, Alex and I couldn’t wait for winter. Trapped at home in minimal attire, blinds down and fans on full blast, we longingly dreamed of cooler, happier times when everything didn’t feel so… sticky.

Well, here we are, less than two months later – with exactly what we asked for. And yet somehow the damp cold, grey skies and rapidly encroaching darkness isn’t quite as romantic as we imagined. So nowadays, our thoughts drift back to summer. To warmer, happier times when everything didn’t feel so… gloomy.

When our thoughts do wander away, they usually head to Portugal. We travelled all across Europe for work this summer, but Portugal is where we enjoyed a much-needed escape in July. We returned to Frankfurt two weeks later, much browner and rounder, but a chunk of both our hearts definitely stayed behind.

What was it about Portugal? What made it so special?

For us, it was the narrow, colourful streets of Alfama in Lisbon.

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Actually, all of Lisbon.

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Alexandra du Plessis and Sebastian Ullrich

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Alexandra du Plessis

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It was the packed restaurants spilling out into the road, TV screens set up everywhere, as crowds cheered along Portugal in the UEFA finals. And getting to be a part of the electric energy when they won!

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It was our visit – followed by a second the next day – to Pastéis de Belém. Any attempt to ration those custard tarts over more than one day is doomed for failure. Believe me.

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It was our three glorious nights at the NOS Alive Festival, where I got to see many of my favourite bands.

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It was the heart of Portugal that we really loved, though. After three days in Lisbon, we hired a car and headed up north to a tiny village near the town of Góis.

Sebastian Ullrich and Alexandra du Plessis in Portugal.

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Our noble steed.

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It was our little mountaintop cottage (that we rented for next to nothing) in the middle of nowhere. Absolutely no internet and cellphone signal meant we could really get away from it all.

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And our daily visits to the local river for a refreshing summer swim. On the banks of the river were the most beautiful 19th century stone ruins from an old olive press.

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Sebastian Ullrich in Portugal.

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It was our long afternoon walks spent picking wildflowers, because we had nothing better to do.

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It was that time we tried to go to the beach… and failed miserably. After two hours of driving, we were welcomed by stinging wind and icy water. We counted our losses and headed back home.

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We did stumble upon a beautiful castle on the way there, though.

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It was our visit to Coimbra University, one of the world’s oldest.

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Photos weren’t allowed inside the breathtaking Joanina Library, but I tried my luck anyway!

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But most of all, it was sitting on our cottage’s little terrace – overlooking the valley below  – and eating ourselves sick. Three times a day. Every day.

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And something we just can’t quite put our finger on. Maybe it was the dry countryside, red earth, countless eucalyptus trees and easygoing atmosphere – but somehow Portugal reminded us a lot of home.

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So thank you, Portugal. Thank you for all the things mentioned above and everything else that there just isn’t enough room or time to write about. I don’t know when, but I know we’ll be back.

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10 Comments

    • Alexandra du Plessis says

      Thanks, Yolanda! As they say, travel really is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer 🙂 🙂

      Like

  1. Julie Morton says

    Beautiful pic’s and beautiful photo’s, lovely to see. Hope you’re both well and look forward to seeing you both in December xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alexandra du Plessis says

      Thanks, Julz! Next time you find yourself up north I’d definitely recommend it. And pricing was very comparable to SA which was WONDERFUL.
      So looking forward to seeing you all in December! Ran out of time in April, but promise not to get on the plane until I’ve seen you and Dieter at least once 😉
      Love to everyone xxxx

      Like

    • Alexandra du Plessis says

      Ah thanks, Callum! Haven’t been to either of those places, so I guess there’s a lot more to look forward to 😉 Really was one of my favourite destinations so far.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. LuisPQ says

    Hey! I’m so glad you like visit Portugal! If one day you come back, I suggest you go visit the north of the country. I am trying to show everything I can as a local perspective in my blog. If you need expiration to visit Portugal again, just ask! 😉

    Like

    • Alexandra du Plessis says

      Thank you so much, Luis! We definitely will be back, and Porto and the north is where we will be going. Is there anywhere specific that you can recommend? 🙂 Alex

      Liked by 1 person

      • LuisPQ says

        Of course but! But ask me when you are about to come, I can give you some tips!

        Like

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