Travel Dispatches: A Letter from Portugal
It’s hard to say where I most like to be when my exploring takes me abroad. I like being where I’m familiar—definitely Paris and its arrondissements where I like to walk through the markets and bistros. In Bologna, I walk the miles of arcades looking at the architecture stopping only for a bowl of pasta or chunk of Parmigiano Reggiano. In Barcelona with its Catalonian pulse, I love the doors and wrought iron. San Sebastian I love, if just for tapas of seafood. But now: Porto, the Alentejo, Guimaraes, for the life. The people, the Posadas, the food and the wine is simply wonderful. In Portugal, like Italy, it is hard to get a bad meal and the value is extraordinary.
Portugal’s slight lack of sophistication comes from an ease of self and not a lack of acumen. Two of the world’s Pritzker winning architects are from Portugal, and the Portuguese sense of design is understated, colorful and to the point. The streets of the old, historic areas are mind-blowingly old. The granite and limestone buildings, sculpture and follies are worn and patinaed over the centuries with buildings showing dates from the 12th century. Simple handcrafts resonate with your soul without a hint of kitsch.
Getting to Portugal is easy and inexpensive, and driving the new motorways provided by EU funds along with a GPS device makes driving incredibly easy. I’m putting Portugal on my regular itinerary, I have found things in my explorations to bring to Eye of the Day and there’s no question that I will need some time to come back and arrange.
Let me know if you want to go!