Portugal in Moving Pictures

Indulge, Love

Is it too late for a #tbt? It’s Thursday, and it’s not so far back, after all… Here is a taste of our delicious Portugal trip. A sweet little movie that captures just the cherry of what it’s like to travel with a lovely lady like Allia (@buttonsmcleod  if you’d like to catch more from her on Insta). Feel free to check out the pictures from each day of our journey here (Day 1-15 of our Portugal journey!). It really is a place that you have to see to believe. Around every turn there was something breathtaking, adorable or hilarious.

I hope that voce gosta muito this little vid. I present: a peek into Portugal, from the perspective of two lesbians in love. Tchau and beijos!



Last Day in Lisbon – travels and trip memories


Our lunch at the Michelin Star-rated restaurant, Cafe Lisboa, was incredible. The best lunch I have had in…as long as I can remember. 

Drinks at Castro. Getting findings and tassels to make some Portugal inspired necklaces. The city is starting to feel familiar, but I keep feeling charmed at every turn. Cafe Tati. 

The only time I would ever go to a place with Trump in the name: Trumps was bustling into the wee hours. 

Tchau to Lisboa, to friends and food and a city that is festive, fun and full of life. Although nothing can prepare you for the full-force smell of bodies and urine in certain sections of the streets, keep your eyes open and plug your nose… Lisbon is brimming with possibilities, and now, full of memories. 

Sintra in the Mist, Lisbon and Experimental Film – Portugal day 12


It started with croissants and coffee, then an Uber ride to Sintra with a driver who knows the small town, Itumbiara, where I used to live in Brazil, and a ride into the fog-dipped town of Sintra. It was drizzling when we got there and amazing to see what a difference an hour could make, as the fog lifted. Parts of the town had art spaces, deliberately, while others were a little magical all on their own. 

Sunshine and amazing views. 

We took a tuk tuk up to the summit to see Pena Palace and saw a lookout point where all three of Sintra’s castles are visible at once. 

Lots of great, derelict buildings infuse Sintra with a spooky quality. Our guide, Rita, told us she doesn’t go up the mountain at night; Sintra has more than a few ghost stories and legends. 

Taking a break at Lawrence’s Hotel. We also made sure we tried Sintra’s famed pastries, queijadas and travesseiros. Back in Lisbon, after a short train ride we had fig and prosciutto pizza before catching some local art and film.

Cats Amore. Stop Motion by Martha Colburn. At Cais de Sodre. A play on word and reference to the sexy and sordid past of the neighbourhood. A sexual confessional was set up on site. And while ‘Perils of War’ played, people had seven minutes to unburden themselves. Martha introduced some of her lighter films… Which also had trauma and dismemberment, couched in environmental commentary. ‘Fear the vampire’ and ‘my secret shame’ rounded out the program. (Experimental films by Martha Colburn at Cais de Sodre.)

Flying pigs and a world of canned fish. Art in progress at Wozen Studio Gallery. 

Our second last night ended at Tosca Taverna for olives and wine.

Back to Lisbon – Alcantara and Timeout, Day 11 in Portugal 


From the Algarves to Lisbon, we have put some miles on this rental car. At our new apartment in Rua da Costa we are cozy, nestled into a new neighbourhood. 

We went to a must- try food and drink hub: Timeout Market   

Met up with an old pal from Toronto and checked out cafe Tati, and an installation at Giv Lowe. 

Gin tasting back at the market and croquettes. 

Then off to Tosca for caipirinhas and good tunes. Later we met up with Jess’ friend, Nuno, who is a guide by day showed us the hidden gems of Lisbon – places we would never have found on our own. From late night food to the history of fado, written on the walls of alleyways, we strolled into the wee hours. So grateful to be here in such good company! Thanks to Jess and Nuno for an amazing inside look at Lisboa!

Surf’s up at Bordeira Beach- day 10 in Portugal


We took a day of surf school with Ja Shaka Surfshop; our instructor Miguel took us out to the beautiful Bordeira beach where the waves were choppy and undertow was mighty. It was the workout of my life (serious exhaustion now) after a 9-3 day of surfing, sandwich eating and catching some unexpected sights on the way home. 

Lagos, Sagres and Praia da Mareta- the Algarves, Portugal Day 9


We started our day in Lagos, to register for surf school, then explored the streets winding down from the main wall of the city to the marina. 

A short car trip took us to another beach near Sagres. 
Praia da Mareta: cliched slice of heaven Home to relax and get ready for surf school tomorrow. Grilling again for dinner and the low point of the night….sleeping with the mosquitos. 

Road tripping to the Algarves – day 7 in Portugal 


This is home sweet for the next four nights. A villa in Burgau, just outside of Luz, just outside of Lagos. 

Quinta da Liberdade

Five minutes away, we picked up groceries to prep our own meals. En route to the south of Portugal, we took a scenic (more scenic) detour, into the hills, to Monchique. Fire fighters helicoptered in, likely from assisting in other parts of the country. Monchique …may be worth the time out of your way if it’s your goal to mountain bike or go to the town’s hot springs. 

Most mesmerising were the views from just outside of our villa. 

Hypnotizing water views from he cliffs are just steps from our garden. This view was so special. We nearly had to pinch ourselves. 

We brought wine to share, olive so, cheese and good company. Despite eating and drinking constantly, with lots of good hydration, we are balancing that indulgence with lots of walking. I could definitely get used to this breeze and beautiful sights at every turn. 

And a great fire to grill some steak from the butcher, with a fresh medley of tomato and zucchini. 

Sweet dreams! See you tomorrow.

Portugal, Porto and Aveiro – day 6


We slept in because it was Saturday. Then had a great big breakfast at the hotel and headed over to the other side of the Douro River to pick up some basics at the shopping centre. 

Mishaps galore. From parking stubs getting mixed up, to blood-red burgers .. But gourmet burgers with bacon, cheese … And an egg for good measure. We asked to get it cooked to more of a ‘medium’ and really enjoyed it once it stopped mooing. There is also the fact that I’ve written this entry three times, had it deleted, and …Wordpress for mobile is a disaster. 

At the sky scraper of a shopping mall, we had a clever flirt, in the makeup department, ask us if we “have vertigo?” The pickup line doesn’t work as well when the subjects are struggling to make the linguistic connection between their height and his doe-eyed lash-batting. Sweet though. 

Hours into the day, it was clear we needed a drink; we were en route to our first real destination: Taylor’s to taste Port. 

As my wife, @buttonsmcleod, put it: The highlight of today was – while at a port winery, Taylor’s, sitting in their beautiful garden sampling three ports, we watched …as one of the workers chased a rooster around, trying to get it to stop attacking the peacocks. She yelled “chicken, CHICKEN..!” as she ran.

Taylor’s opens its doors for those looking to sample generous tastings of those various port styles, while enjoying incredible views and the estate. Buttons has been the absolute best, a dreamy (though sassy) travel companion. She kept me from losing my mind while a number of mishaps occurred this morning; bless the woman who can keep me in line,…and smiling. 

From Taylor’s Port, to the whimsical town of Aveiro. Aveiro is full of glazed tile and pays homage at every turn to its fishing village vibe and canals; it is the Venice of Portugal, just a short drive from the city of Porto. Aveiro had unexpected treasures and though we went on a hunch, it was so picturesque and idyllic that we are happy we didn’t miss it. 

Fortunately for us, dinner was also exactly right. A great end to our time in Porto. We just happened to find Mizu – sushi and anti-sushi. 

When you travel, sometimes it’s hit or miss when it comes to restaurants. You leave it to fate (or recommendations from friends, scanning tripadvisor.com/strolling   the neighbourhood to see what looks popular). Tonight was a total hit; a slam dunk if you are using mixed metaphors. Inconspicuous from the street, Mizu sushi restaurant was just what we needed. My wife is very picky about her sushi and Toronto (home) has great Japanese food, so we were thrilled to experience the combination of Portugal’s fresh seafood with a sushi treatment in the expert hands of Mizu’s Sushiman, Anibal. 

The staff was attentive and charming, the portions weren’t large, but they were delicious. Presentation was creative, but tasteful. We had such a great evening, with table wine and whisky that could please the spoiled (but not snooty) palates of two people who have been hitting up wineries on the regular for almost a decade. 

The entire night was lovely and getting to chat with Anibal made it clear how much he loves his art; if you have the chance to taste it for yourself, you won’t be disappointed.

 Though it is tucked away somewhat, finding it was quite a treat! Thanks for a perfect end to our stay in Porto and Maia. 

Mizu on Facebook

Day 5 in Portugal – Douro Valley and the Port by Moonlight 


Our journey to the Douro valley started out simply enough. Until we came to a dead stop on a vertiginous cliff side road, just wide enough for two cars to scrape past each other, because there was road work going on. 

After a terrifying six point turn, when the road crew told us there was no way around and our GPS provided no alternate routes, … This is us following two of the men who hopped into their car and led us to where we needed to be. That’s just how it is here… Human kindness. 

We arrived for a tour and four course lunch at Quinta Nova winery and the rest of the day was beautiful and breathtaking. 

We spent the whole day in Douro Valley and then night time was all about Porto and the waterfront. And pizza. And the most flavourful caprese salad. 

Best travel tip so far: pack enough shoes that you can change it up and give your feet a break from wearing one pair too long. 

See you tomorrow!

Day 4 in Portugal – from rooftops in Lisbon to Wildfire And a city of light and colour in Porto 


It’s so warm here that two outfits per day seems reasonable. We lounges by the pool on the roof before packing to take a car to Porto. 

Wildfires are sweeping Portugal and our drive to Porto was smokey.  We didn’t know, at first, what was happening- not being tuned into current events in Portuguese on the radio. The brush fire I being   Fought by firefighters from all over the country. 

We stopped at a roadside place called Ars (I know) and managed to accidentally select a 17 Euro meal (of suckling pig); who spends a total of 30 Euro on a gas stop lunch. Lol.

 We are safe and sound; the city looks beautiful and dreamy. We are staying in Maia, just outside Porto.