Friday, April 05, 2013

A-Z Blog Challenge - E = Exploring and Eclectic Scenery

Taken from Wikipedia
Feel like coming on a journey with me? Let's go from the north of Portugal right down to the south in thirty seconds (warning: don't ever try doing this in real life, it'll make your head spin).

When people think of holidaying in Portugal they think of the Algarve, but that's only a tiny, weeny strip right at the southern end. True, it gets the best weather, doesn't necessarily have the best beaches but the sea in the east does get mixed up with the Mediterranean so the water's a bit warmer. Anyway, it's full of tourists, so let's start in the north.

image taken from
Lush, green and mountainous, the north is fascinating for its tiny villages that date back hundreds of years and yummy for its food (it'll stick to the cockles of your innards).

Onto the north-east for a spot of exercise and hiking after all that food. And where better than the National Park of Gerês, a protected area where wolves still roam, but don't worry, I'll protect you.

Time for a spot of culture and plenty of port wine tasting in Porto (or Oporto which foreigners for some reason call it). If there's time, we can whizz along the Douro River on a boat cruise and see the huge vineyards that run along the banks where they catch the most sun to ripen their delicious grapes.


Time for a change of scenery further south but still north of Lisbon. The area of Ribatejo where the best cattle and Lusitano horses are bred.

The scenery is getting drier and the weather warmer now, but we're going to skip over Lisbon, because there's enough about Lisbon on this blog to fill a book, and hop over the River Tagus down to the Alentejo.
Here it's hot and dry with a Mediterranean climate. It's mostly agricultural with a spot of mineral mining, marble quarrying and carpet-making going on. But it's spectacularly beautiful at all times of the year with its rolling plains, pine forests, cork and olive trees dotting the low hills.

above photos from

And this is where we're going to stop for a while because THIS is where my new novel is set. The Algarve can wait, it's not going anywhere.