Mountain, Country & Beach

Our vacations started with the birthday party of our friend Miguel Somsen. Besides tasting some gins of his ever growing collection, we heard the stories of Ljubomir and Mónica about their route around Europe, from France and Germany, to Noma in Copenhagen, where René Redzepi himself babysitted the couples' small son.The following weekend was passed preparing another magnificent culinary adventure of Abram a Boca e Fechem os Olhos, by Marta Braga. In a family home in Alcoentre, i had the opportunity to participate in the elaboration of a lunch (after a christening) for 60 people, and it couldn't be more rewarding to be in other side of Martas' delicious food! After 10th of June bank holiday, we headed north (invited by our friend José Lourenço) in direction of Candeia, a small village in Beira Baixa. The vast forests, the small streams flowing to Zêzere river, Lousã Mountain, Aldeias de Xisto, the refreshing river pools and O Burgo restaurant have shown us this appealing region of Portugal. Back to Lisbon region, we decided to bike (from Sintra) to Mata Pequena Village, a very special place near Mafra. Where 80 persons lived in the past, the village has a dozen inhabitants today, being the remaining spaces reserved to rural tourism. A project started by Diogo Batalha, this small village presents the essence of the country architecture and lifestyle through restored houses with great attention to details. Besides the magnificent surrounding landscape, Mata Pequena is a great starting point to discover Mafra and Ericeira. With a great weather (opposing the rain and wind we got in the previous days), we ended our two weeks vacations in Cabanas de Tavira, our favourite beach to recharge batteries and to see the best of Algarve!

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