Cadaqués – a town Salvador Dali described as a “mystical paradise”. A town that even to the ones without an artistic bone in their body will come across as full of a creative energy that is hard to ignore. Located up north on the Costa Brava, sprinkled with artistic studios, fantastic boutique stores and great restaurants, it´s no wonder Cadaqués attracted not just Dali, but also the likes of Picasso, Miró and much more. This June I spent a couple of days there, and as per usual, I just had to document where I recommend you stay, eat and what to do in this gem of a town.
Coimbra, the former capital of Portugal in the 12th and 13th century, is nowadays the most notorious university city in Portugal and a perfect weekend destination if you find yourself either in Lisbon or Porto. The city has an intriguing and tragic love story behind it, that of Infante Pedro and Inês de Castro (a Spanish lady in waiting to Pedro´s wife, Constança). You see, Pedro and Inês were in love, so after Pedro´s wife died, they stopped hiding their love affair, a thing that enraged Pedro´s father, the king. He was so angry, that he had Inês killed, a thing that in return turned Pedro incredibly angry. One thing led to another, an uprising against the king started, and Inês´ killers basically ended up with their hearts ripped out, earning Pedro the name of “the Cruel”. Had Shakespeare known about Coimbra, Romeo and Julia would have been an entirely different story.
I guess some skeptics among you might have read the title of this article and thought this would be a pamphlet. After all, the British are not particularly well known for their exquisite cuisine. True, but a real foodie will always find some yummy dishes, no matter the damp and rainy country she ends up in. So be ready to be immersed into the food universe I experience during my short weekend stay in Edinurgh. Read about the food I loved, but also the ones that were meh and the places I wouldn´t necessarily try again.
What do you do when you repeatedly find yourself in a city you hate? And moreover, when that city is the capital of the country you were born in? And your friends are divided about it as well – some love it and some hate it? I tried answering that question during my last two trips to Bucharest this summer. I met with people that see beauty in the city, I revisited the few places I loved and explored some new ones that took me by utter surprise. And I ended up fancying a city I had hated for over two decades. Here are the spots that made me change my mind.
After spending a week in Mallorca with a bunch of our friends, I came back struggling to answer the question “How were your holidays?!”. A lot of fun was had, but I have to say that despite all the regular research I usually do, Mallorca was not at all what I had expected. There were parts I loved, of course, but there were also parts I well … hated. So I thought that instead of writing an article with a week´s itinerary for the island, I´d write an honest review of what I loved, hated and I didn´t expect of Mallorca.
Portugal´s South coast is a paradise of green waters, magnificent beaches and what seems like an endless supply of delicious sea food. The Algarve is a mere two and a half hours away from Lisbon, so lots of Portuguese vacation there at least once every summer. I, myself, albeit not Portuguese (yet), love driving down there and exploring all the different nooks and crannies of this wonderful coast line. This time, we stayed in the town of Luz de Tavira, and explored the East side of the Algarve. And while I won´t be writing much in this post, I´d like to share ten pictures from my camera, that I think could be actual postcards – four from the charming town of Vila Real de Santo António – the last town before reaching Spain, and six from the village of Cacela Velha, a nearby white village overlooking a most charming lagoon and beach.
For when it´s safe to travel again…
Raise your hand if you love weekend trips. I, for one, could easily give up my early vacation and take instead a million small weekend or even day trips. And while given the current circumstances flying off to London or Paris for a weekend is impossible, I love discovering Portugal trip-by-trip. Typically, I see a picture of a place that looks interesting, or even hear a story of a place that is still undiscovered, and plan my way there. This time though, it was a picture of a hotel that guided me yet again to Alentejo – specifically the Ribatejo area this time. The Salvaterra Country House is a small hotel, an hour away from Lisbon and it is serious #nexthouse goals. I discovered it on an Instagram account that aggregates Portugal´s most beautiful hotels for your inspiration – @getawaygoto_portugal and I have been dreaming of it for about a month before finally booking a night there. And so, the day came and we left Lisbon early in the morning, drove up the Tejo river and returned late the next night. Here´s where we went, what we saw, what we ate and what we loved most.
Three cancelled trips later, along with the painful realisation that COVID-19 is here to stay, I (like many others who are privileged enough to even be able to travel during these times) had to rethink the idea of travel for the near to distant future. Out the window with visiting Turkey with my mom, Spain with my best friend or Madeira with my boyfriend, and hello continental Portugal with all it has to offer. And so, after quite a bit of research, this summer´s first trip turned out to be a girls´ trip to Évora, an ancient city about 1,5h from Lisbon. This post is not an ode to Évora though, but a chronicle of how travelling felt like to me during a pandemic.
I am going to go ahead and state the obvious: travelling has taken quite a turn this year. For the ones privileged enough to travel at all, it´s mostly meant shorter and more local getaways. It´s meant rediscovering their areas, or at most their countries, and while I understand some feel constrained by this, I think (re)discovering one´s roots is quite magical. So this pandemic´s first travel article had to be about a place very dear to me, the little coquette town of Cascais – one of the first places I ever discovered in Portugal.
If you´ve ever spent more than a couple of days in Berlin or better yet lived and work here, you´ll know what I mean when I say Berliners are obsessed with maté. Doing a bit of research, I found out that maté had arrived in Germany from South America shortly after the first world war. In a town in Northern Bavaria, maté became “Club-Mate” when the Loscher brewery purchased the license to this drink. This rebranded version of the Argentinian yerba mate soon reached Berlin and is nowadays as important to Berliners as sliced bread. Personally I was never a fan of the maté herb. When it comes to Club-Mate, the caffeinated drink present and free in every Berlin start-up , I couldn´t care less. This brings me to the obvious alternative: coffee. Dark and hot as I´ve gotten to know it in Portugal. While not really a fan of coffee either, I do find the smell of it magical. It might not be just the smell but the chuckles I have when remembering the Colombian coffee scene from Bruce Almighty and the memories of my mom sipping it on our front porch. Bottom line is – I´m not big on either maté or coffee but I will admit Berlin is the ultimate connoisseur of both. So naturally, when I returned to Berlin after two years, I stumbled upon some new and old but totally awesome coffee places. This post is about two of them.