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portugal: setúbal

Portugal, Setúbal, estuario, estuary, Sado, dock, ferry

Over New Year’s I tweeted “If you haven’t been to Setúbal, then get here asap”, & I meant it! For some reason, the city had been off my radar but what a beautiful discovery. Here’s a bit of why we fell in love with Setúbal… & not just for choco frito 😉

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DIPLE B2 Portuguese exam

português, Portuguese, B2, exame, DIPLE, study, notebook

While searching for information about the B2 European Portuguese exam, I found very little online about people’s personal experience either studying for or taking this test. The pandemic had spawned several YouTube channels that teach various aspects of the language —very much appreciated— but I only discovered a few people that discussed the actual examination process. So here’s my journey…

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portugal: ovar

Ovar, Portugal

As a brief overnight stop between Alcobaça & Porto, I wish I’d had more time to explore Ovar. Situated at the northernmost tip of the Aveiro estuary, this city without tons of tourists was a welcome change… but between its beautiful tiles, great food & proximity to the ocean, I’m sure Ovar will be on the beaten path soon.

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queluz: what a palácio!

Everyone raves about the Palácio da Pena. Spectacular for sure, but endless crowds & high ticket prices make visiting the palace little more than an exercise in patience. Zero fun. Go to Sintra for natural beauty, but a better glimpse of royal family life can be found without the crowds on the same train line halfway between Lisboa & Sintra. Twenty years had passed since my first visit to the Palácio de Queluz, & strolling through its well-kept grounds made for a gorgeous, crowd-free morning.

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porto: palácio da bolsa

Portugal, Porto, Palácio da Bolsa

Porto may have never been the official home of the royal family, never the capital of Portugal or never the seat of an archdiocese. However, Porto has long been homebase for the Portuguese bourgeoisie: a vibrant class of businessmen, merchants & all the wealth they generated. No wonder one of the most visited sights in Porto is a monument to trade & a way of life that continues to define the city’s entrepreneurial character.

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found: estúdio novaes

Estúdio Novaes collection, Art Library, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

Ahhhh, the new & modern Lisbon of the mid-20th century… a period tainted by the Salazar dictatorship, but construction during this era gave the capital city much of its iconic look. Fortunately two brothers made a business out of documenting this epic growth spurt that visitors flock to today.

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recipe: codfish cakes

At the risk of adding yet another cod recipe to this blog, I couldn’t let Holy Week pass without presenting another of my favorites from Portugal: bolinhos de bacalhau. This traditional petisco (snack or appetizer) is great with beer when you’re feeling peckish, at the beginning of a meal to ease an eager appetite, or several accompanied by a salad makes a meal. While traditionally fried, my version is baked but just as tasty… maybe that means you can indulge in an extra!

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