Changing of the Guard ceremony, Lisbon

I arrived in Belém one Sunday morning, curious as to why the roads had been blocked off and crowds were lining the pavement opposite the pink walls of Belém Palace. As I got closer, the navy uniforms of the brass band and the showier costumes of the stern-faced national guardsRead 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 →

Jazz musicians

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 →

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 →