Category Archives: Focus on Culture

Discovering Portugal (4)

The lure of superior cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil brought us to Cuba. The exquisitely rich Manantiz olives are grown on the left bank of the Guadiana River on land that has belonged to the same family for over a century. We met … Continue reading

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Discovering Portugal (3)

After exploring its castle, we spent another day walking Marvão’s hilly and winding cobble-stoned streets. In addition to a variety of restaurants, there were shops with artesanal goodies: olives and chocolates, jellies and pottery, artwork and handbags made of fine, smooth cork … Continue reading

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Discovering Portugal (2)

Although only the walks and towers remain from the original structure, Linhares Castle was classified as a National Monument in 1922. Sitting on a cliff northeast of the Serra da Estrela region, overlooking the Mondego Valley in an area said … Continue reading

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Discovering Portugal (1)

Heading southeast from the seaside town of Esposende we now call home, our first stop was Celorico da Beira, specifically Solar de Queijo, famous for cheese, sausages, wine, and honey. Of course we tasted and made a purchase; what else … Continue reading

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Pilgrim’s Progress

Santiago de Compostelo in northwestern Spain is home to the Cathedral of Saint James the Great, whose massive dimensions dwarf those who journey to view it. Since the ninth century, it’s been the final destination for Catholic pilgrims along the Way … Continue reading

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In Defense of Cheese

Since the late nineteenth century, the word “cheese” has most often had a positive connotation. For example,  in John Camden Hotten’s The Slang Dictionary (1863) it, or the word “cheesey” means “Anything good, first-rate in quality, genuine, pleasant or advantageous”. I’m not … Continue reading

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The Trill of It All

Remember your high school Spanish? Remember how hard it was to make the “r” sound? It’s easy, we were told. Sure, it was: you just had to make the tip of your tongue vibrate against the back of your front … Continue reading

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Everybody Loves a Parade

If I feared moving to the countryside might be boring, I was wrong. It seems there is a fair, celebration, or “espectáculo” in the works somewhere on any given weekend (or weekday, for that matter). Most recently we caught an … Continue reading

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