Fartura frenzy at Pernes market

The children discover that a small town market is much, much more than fruit and vegetables – it’s an invaluable focal point in a local community.

There was no problem waking up the kids on this particular morning; they were dressed and had whipped themselves up into an excited frenzy before we had even finished breakfast. But it wasn’t a birthday party that was on the plan for today, nor a trip to a swimming pool. We weren’t even off to the zoo. The reason for the Christmas-like excitement in our family was: it was market day in Pernes!

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Paw prints and irreverent graffiti – Magical afternoons in Santarém

A chance discovery leads the kids to a magical place, giving me the opportunity to explore a wonderfully authentic Portuguese city.

My eldest daughter noticed them first. Paw prints, distinctly feline. Green, pink, yellow, orange, red… the more we looked the more we found, all over the sun-scorched cobblestones of Santarém’s old town. We followed them (of course we followed them!) and what we found was quite extraordinary.


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Blue feathers and transient wonders: a nature walk in Portugal

The children are entranced by the simple pleasure of a short walk in a foreign place.

The path rises steeply behind the cottage, skirting an olive grove before disappearing invitingly into a thicket of small trees. One kid asked me where it went, and another said that it looked like a good place to find some snakes. It was time for a mini-adventure. Continue reading “Blue feathers and transient wonders: a nature walk in Portugal”