Água de Fátima

The town of Fátima is where three shepherd children claimed to have witnessed the Virgin Mary in a field on half a dozen occasions in 1916-17. The main reason we stopped at Fátima on the last day of our 2017 Portuguese road trip was so I could get my hands on one of the small … Continue reading Água de Fátima


Quinta da Regaleira

With its medieval castles, royal estates, and 19th century Romantic architecture, Sintra (pop. 380,000) is a real tourist hotspot. Travellers take advantage of the town’s proximity to Lisbon, about 30 km northwest of the capital, to organize a day trip. We’ve visited Sintra a few times. The most interesting monument is the Quinta da Regaleira, … Continue reading Quinta da Regaleira

Boca do Inferno

Boca do Inferno  is Portuguese for “Hell’s Mouth”. The seaside caves are located on the outskirts of the city of Cascais, 30 km west of Lisbon. The spot is popular with photographers, especially during stormy weather, due to the waves crashing spectacularly into the network of caverns. When we were visiting Cascais I knew “Hell’s … Continue reading Boca do Inferno

So many books, so little time… (part 11)

Raggle-Taggle: Adventures with a Fiddle in Hungary and Roumania  (1933) by Walter Starkie I had seen Walter Starkie mentioned elsewhere, but Fernando Diaz-Plaja wrote about him with such enthusiasm in The Spaniard and the Seven Deadly Sins  that I couldn’t resist tracking down some of his books. Starkie was an Irish writer, translator and scholar. … Continue reading So many books, so little time… (part 11)


In a futile attempt to escape the relentless heatwave that’d been terrorizing Europe this summer we spent a week at the in-laws’ rustic little cottage in the Jerte Valley. Lucyna, the Polish woman who takes care of Lola’s father, was pushing him around the garden in his fancy new wheelchair. She was chainsmoking, as always, … Continue reading Trashumancia