'Madame Orba' by Thomas Kuebler as seen in Évora, 2010

There are at least three different versions and stories about a witch who was named after the ancient Portuguese city of Évora. Some say she was a powerful and knowledgeable Moor who lived in Évora in the middle ages and rode around on wolves. Others claim that the witch ofRead More →

Adufeiras de Penha Garcia. Portuguese folk music troupe performing in the street

You don’t have to spend much time in Portugal to realise that Portuguese people are generally extremely proud of their country and heritage and keen to keep their customs and traditions alive. Pretty much any festa (fair) will have an element of folkloric entertainment which could be in the form ofRead More →

wooden shields and fake weapons

Whenever I stand on ancient castle walls, I find myself trying to imagine what life was like when the castles housed royalty and their grounds contained thriving marketplaces buzzing with people, produce, livestock and flies. When I visit Óbidos during its annual medieval fair, however, I don’t need to stretch my imagination veryRead More →

I grew up thinking that all jazz was jarring to the ears and a musical genre that was best avoided. Now that I’m a bit older and have more experience of the different forms of jazz, I really enjoy its softer side. I don’t know if I’ll ever learn toRead More →

Kissing rocks, Baleal

Who exactly should you kiss in Portugal? When should you kiss them? I don’t mean full on romantic smooches, which are obviously reserved for very special people. I’m talking about the friendly greeting kisses, one on each side of the face. Although it’s an integral part of life here, I’mRead More →

Embroidered handkerchief of friendship

Valentine’s Day seems the perfect time to mention the wonderful embroidered handkerchiefs of love from Northern Portugal. You can find these delightful pieces, or products inspired by them, in most souvenir shops in Portugal but they used to serve a practical purpose in the romantic lives of people from the MinhoRead More →