Heart in black sand

Sortelha is one of Portugal’s most romantic and atmospheric historical villages. From the castle, you can look down on the butterscotch coloured granite cottages within the village walls or out over the boulder-strewn countryside. Two of those boulders rest on the slope below the castle walls, just touching. It’s notRead More →

Cushion, bobbins, pins, pattern and thread. Lace in the making.

Although lace isn’t necessarily a fabric I jump at the chance of wearing, there’s no escaping the fact that it takes great skill to create and can be truly beautiful and surprisingly versatile. During a trip to Vila do Conde to visit the national craft fair, I learned a lotRead More →

carved, painted wooden ox yoke from Portugal

Portuguese farmers replaced their ox-drawn carts and ploughs with tractors a long time ago but much of the traditional farming equipment, including wooden cattle yokes, can still be found in their sheds or decorating restaurant walls up and down the country. Some of the farmhouses which have been converted intoRead More →

Curved red thigh tiles on a roof in Elvas castle

You might be wondering what on earth thigh tiles are. If you come to Portugal and look at the roofs of older buildings, chances are you’ll see some. They’re the long, curved terracotta or clay tiles that were once made by hand. And leg. If you look closely at anRead More →

Neck brush and other original hairdressing equipment.

This lovely old barber shop in Lisbon’s Largo do Chiado almost makes me want to be a man. I can just imagine leaning back in one of the old leather chairs to be lathered up with a horse hair shaving brush then scraped clean of whiskers with a well-sharpened cut-throatRead More →

Rabelo boats reach Porto's Ribeira district

One of Porto’s claims to fame is its port wine, a fortified wine that comes from the grapes of the Douro valley. If you look across the river from anywhere in the city, you’ll see the names of the biggest brands emblazoned on the red roofs of the port wineRead More →