By : March 5th, 2021 Curiosities 0 Comments

The city of Porto is known worldwide for the wine with its name (produced in the Douro valley), for the bridges and for its historic center classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Without forgetting its gastronomy!

But what do we have to write even in our visit plan?

Here are 10 tips:


The Cathedral is imposing and of rare beauty inside. It is to be seen and admired without haste, as well as its cloister, on the south side. In the wide square of the cathedral, one has a privileged view of the city, the Douro River and part of the Ribeira. Close to the Sé, being in Terreiro da Sé, on the left, you go down a staircase and you will visit the Church of São Lourenço (16th century), also known as Igreja dos Grilos, in a mannerist style.


Church of the Crickets

Inside you will be dazzled by the richness of details and the beautiful altarpiece of Our Lady of Purification, in gilded woodcarving. It is called Igreja dos Grilos because it was, after the expulsion of the Jesuits, sold to the Barefoot Hermits of Saint Augustine, known as “Friars Grilos”, who remained there until 1832.

Church of Santa Clara

This church has a great contrast between the extreme simplicity of its facade and the luxurious interior of gold carvings. Impresses by the sumptuousness and beauty! It is close to the Fernandinas Walls (14th century), being very close to the Guindais Funicular, which connects the Batalha neighborhood to Ribeira, in the lower part of the city.

Igreja do Carmo and Igreja das Carmelitas (side by side), in Cordoaria neighborhood

The Igreja do Carmo has a huge panel of tiles on its external side and the Igreja das Carmelitas, previously attached to the Convent (converted into part of a barracks) is also very beautiful.

San Francisco Church

Impresses by the wealth of details covered with more than 200 kg of gold and the wonderful work “Tree of Jesse”.


Ribeira is an area that is close to the Douro River, in the historic center of Porto. From there you can see the wine cellars and the Luís I bridge. A place of great charm with the colorful houses that compete for space, in the middle of the narrow streets, with shops, restaurants and people walking.


This palace was built in the place of the old San Francisco Monastery. Don’t miss the Arabic room with gold decorations and oriental style


Take the tram line 1 from Ribeira to the mouth of the Douro river. It is a short trip – about 20 minutes – but very beautiful.

Attention: it is not a cheap transport as the tram ticket costs more than twice as much as a bus or metro ticket.


The cultural foundation is one of the most important in Portugal and the museum is the most visited in the whole country. The building mixes contemporary architecture with Art Decò and touches of modernism.


Looking for a real tavern to try an unforgettable dish: Francesinha. Inspired by the French toast, with various types of meat in the filling and melted cheese and fried egg on top. All dipped in an extraordinary sauce and accompanied by chips.


Certainly a tourist experience, but this cafe is worth a visit to observe its Art Nouveau architecture. In 2011 it was considered one of the most beautiful cafes in the world.


From Porto, you can cross the Luis I bridge on foot. Go to Vila Nova de Gaia from the top and take the opportunity to make fantastic photos! Arriving in Gaia, on the left side, the Serra do Pilar Monastery is highlighted, another unforgettable visit. And stop at one of the port wine cellars for a visit and a tasting.


One of the most emblematic markets in the city of Porto. The market is mainly focused on fresh products, especially food.

By : February 16th, 2021 Curiosities, Traditions 0 Comments

Carnival is a fun party with many traditions in several countries. But how do you celebrate Carnival in Portugal?

Unlike other places in the world, Carnival in Portugal is celebrated mainly in small villages. Let’s find out some examples:

Entrudo Race – The Schist Villages Carnival

The chanfana is a dish for a hearty lunch on Fat Tuesday, but even so, the Entrudo Race in the Schist Villages, in the middle of the Serra da Lousã, is still being done. Picking up clothes and old objects that are no longer used, the departure for the Corrida do Entrudo goes to the villages of the municipality of Góis, where everything is allowed. From blocks and verses, whose themes are closely linked to the daily lives of the inhabitants of Schist Villages, to the games played by the elders, and to the rattle of women and younger men, everyone who participates in it must wear masks made of cork and natural elements, which include horrifying and diabolical expressions.


Canas de Senhorim – A Carnival rivalry

A rivalry with more than 400 years dictates that two neighborhoods of Canas de Senhorim, Paço and Rossio, parade in disarray. The two carnival marches take to the streets first, singing songs from old marches and wearing facts alluding to Canas de Senhorim’s past. In the great carnival parade on Tuesday of Carnival, wins the one that celebrates with more joy all the devotion for your neighborhood.

The 2nd Carnival Fair is divided between the Farinhada, in which the girls who leave the house until noon are at risk of being “floured”, and the Monday of the Old Women, during the afternoon.

The Carnival ends on the 4th Ash Fair, with the Queima do Entrudo. After Batatada, the community dinner whose main dish is cod with potatoes, eggs, vegetables, bread and wine, the clown from Entrudo is taken through the streets thus making the farewell to Carnival.


Torres Vedras –

The first reference to the Torres Carnival appears in the reign of D. Sebastião, in a document dated 1574, in which a resident of the town of Torres Vedras lodges a complaint “against young men playing with a rooster Entrudo day bringing rounds, swords, sticks as they usually do “.

Reis do Carnaval and “Matrafonas”, so characteristic of Corso Carnavalesco, first appeared in the 1920s, decisively marking the history of the Torres Vedras Carnival, and assuming an eminently popular charisma, by rejecting external costumes.

A different theme each year, with the construction of a real carnival village, and floats.

For many, this is the most “Portuguese of Portugal” Carnival.


Loulé – The Algarve Carnival

The oldest Carnival in the Algarve is over 100 years old

The entertainment starts in the morning reserved for the children’s parade, and the Grand Première de Carnaval is scheduled for Monday night, in the Salão de Festas de Loulé.

Corso Carnavalesco fills the streets of this Algarve city on “fat Sunday”  and on Carnaval Tuesday, with the parade of floats and extras that spread doses of contagious joy, and confetti and streamers mixed through the air.


By : December 1st, 2020 Curiosities 0 Comments

Today I decided to dedicate my article to some idioms that are quite common in the Portuguese language that come from the histories and traditions of this country and that represent a cultural richness that I find interesting to share with you. For those who were not born speaking Portuguese, it may be the opportunity to learn some idioms and for those who have always used them, let’s see if everyone knows the meaning!

– With the king in the belly: The expression comes from the time of the monarchy when queens, when pregnant with the sovereign, began to be treated with special deference, as they would increase the royal offspring and, sometimes, give heirs to the throne, even when bastards.

Nowadays this expression refers to a person who gives a lot of importance to himself.

– Cover the sun with a sieve: The sieve is a circular object made of wood with a metal, silk or horsehair bottom, through which the flour or other ground substance passes. Any attempt to cover the sun with the sieve is inglorious, since the object is permeable to light.

The expression would have been born out of this finding, currently meaning an unsuccessful effort to hide a blunder or deny evidence.

– Saved by the bell: The saying originates in England. There, in the past, there was no space to bury all the dead. Then the coffins were opened, the bones were taken and sent to the ossuary and the tomb was used for another unfortunate one. But sometimes, when opening the coffins, the gravediggers noticed that there were scratches on the lids on the inside, which indicated that the dead man had actually been buried alive (catalepsy – very common at the time).

So the idea arose that when closing the coffins, tie a strip around the dead man’s wrist, a strip that passed through a hole in the coffin and was tied to a bell. After the burial, someone was on duty next to the tomb for a few days. If the individual woke up, the movement of the arm would make the bell ring. In this way, he would be saved by the bell Today, the expression means escaping from getting into trouble for a fraction of a second.

– Pinged cats: This expression goes back to a torture from Japan that consisted of dripping boiling oil on people or animals, especially cats.

There are several environmental narratives in Asia that show people with their feet immersed in a cauldron of hot oil. As the torture had a reduced attendance, such was the cruelty, the expression “pinged cats” came to mean little assistance without enthusiasm, or curiosity, for any event.

– Maria goes with the others: Dona Maria I, mother of D. João VI (grandmother of D. Pedro I and great-grandmother of D. Pedro II), went crazy from one day to the next. Declared unable to rule, she was removed from the throne. She began to live in seclusion and was only seen when she went for a walk, escorted by numerous ladies-in-waiting.

When the people saw the queen taken by the ladies in this procession, she used to comment: “There goes D. Maria with the others”. Nowadays the expression applies to a person who has no opinion and who can be easily convinced.

– Where Judas lost his boots: As everyone knows, after betraying Jesus and receiving 30 moneys, Judas fell into depression and guilt, eventually killing himself by hanging himself from a tree.

It turns out that he killed himself without the boots. And the 30 moneys were not found with him. Soon the soldiers went in search of Judas’ boots, where the money would probably be.

We will never know whether or not they found the boots and the money. But the expression has spanned twenty centuries. Nowadays, the saying means a distant, inaccessible place.

– Andar a Toa (Walking aimlessly): Toa is the rope with which one vessel tows the other. A ship that is “aimlessly” (a toa) is the one that has neither rudder nor heading, going where the ship that tugs it determines. A woman a toa, for example, is one who is commanded by others. Today, the saying means walking aimlessly, carefree, passing the time.

– Like canned sardines: The word sardine comes from the Latin sardine. Designates the fish abundant in Sardinia, a well-known region in Italy. It is an appreciated and nutritious food, with a very peculiar flavour. The sardines, when canned in oil or in another sauce, are glued together. By analogy, the popular expression canned sardines is used to designate overcrowding of public transport vehicles.

– Friend of the jaguar: According to scholars of the Portuguese language, this term came from a curious story. It is said that a lying hunter, when caught, without weapons, by a jaguar, gave a cry so loud that the animal ran away in terror. As if the listener did not believe, saying that, if so, he would have been devoured. The hunter, indignant, asked if the interlocutor was, after all, his friend or friend of the jaguar. Currently, the expression means false friend, hypocritical.

-Cucumbers are twisted when they are small: Farmers who grow cucumbers need to give these plants the best shape. Remove some “eyes”for cucumbers to develop. If this small pruning is not done, the cucumbers do not grow in the best way because they create a worthless branch and acquire an unpleasant taste. Just as it is necessary to shape cucumbers in the best way, it is also necessary to shape the character of children as early as possible.

-Fava beans counted: In the past, they were voted with white and black beans, meaning yes or no. Each voter placed the vote, that is, the bean, in the ballot box. Then came the counting of the grains, and whoever had the largest number of white beans would be elected. Today, it means one thing, safe business.

-Resvés Campo de Ourique: Campo de Ourique is a Lisbon neighbourhood on the hill, a little away from the original historic center of the city. On November 1, 1755, when there was the famous and so terrible earthquake in Lisbon, people fled as much as they could to the highest areas of the city. The inhabitants of Campo de Ourique came to fear with the approaching waters of the tsunami that followed, but were lucky enough to stay on the edge of the neighbourhood, leaving everyone safe. The story remained in the memory of the Portuguese and most of the people of Lisbon and is still used today to describe situations that did not happen by chance, except for the luck that someone has.

-Many years turning into chicken: The origin of this expression is quite controversial but some Portuguese explained to me that it has to do with the fact that, in the families that worked in the restaurant, one of the first tasks to learn was to turn the chicken over the grill, so it took the time to become a real routine and people who did it get a lot of experience. Nowadays, the expression indicates having a lot of experience in a job or an activity.

-Stay in codfish waters. It means, “to be in nothing”, “not to be realized”. «One of the most established traditions among Portuguese fishermen concerns the work of bacalhaeiros in the seas of Terra Nova or Greenland. In addition to the successes and adventures of this type of fishing, many tragedies occurred, many loads and boats remained in these waters forever. If the meaning of the phrase is anything “to lose”, “to be without effect”, “not to come to fruition”, “to be frustrated”, it seems reasonable to assume its origin in the fishing activity of bacalhaeiros »

-Something XPTO: When we say that something is “XPTO” we usually mean that something is very good. This expression comes from medieval manuscript documents, where the acronym XPTO was used to designate Christ, who, in turn, was already a Greek spelling heritage very common in the Middle Ages (XPISTI). People did not realize that those symbols meant Christ in Greek and read “XPTO” when they wanted to designate something of excellent, divine or magnificent quality.