São Vicente, Lisbon, Portugal. “This is where our friendship begins”. This is the message we sent on WhatsApp to the owners of the Santa Clara 1728 hotel during our travels. That morning we were leaving Lisbon, driving over the Vasco de Gama bridge towards Arraiolos in the Alentejan countryside, to reach their farm for a few days…
In Odeceixe beach you will learn that being a surfer means being part of a minority religion. You will discover that standing apart and watching their daily liturgies you can enjoy a sheer spectacle and realize that each place our friends in Casa da Dinà suggested we should visit are worth the long journey necessary to reach them. Bar da Praia, folk and eclectic eatery, with a view on the ocean.
After having collected fresh eggs in the henhouse, Dinà starts preparing the strawberry tart that her guests will taste while it is still warm. Baskets full of bread and croissant, tasty squeezed fruit juices, seasonal fruit salads and mocha coffee will also be ready soon. In the meantime Philippe will serve every single dish with an innate old-fashioned elegance. Just a few rooms are available, all exceptionally tastefully furnished with just the essentials: a bed, a desk, a lamp, a bench, a rug and a vase of fresh flowers. Plus a painting of the artist of the house. Do not leave Casa da Dinà before having visited Philippe’s atelier and having listened to his inspiring tales.
Leave behind the covered market in Placa da Ribeira and its chaos, go up to the first floor, and sit at one of the tables embraced by the light of a Lisbon sunset. For once, you do not have to open the menu: you can trust the tips of the staff, welcoming you with bowls of olives, fritters, mouthwatering bread, olive oil and smiles. Pap’Açorda is the second life of a historic restaurant in Barrio Alto. Save room for the chocolate mousse (cit.)
Wherever I arrive from, Lisbon always greets me with a sort of elective affinity. Even today, when I put my luggage down in front of the tourists crowded in Jardim de S. Pédro de Alcantara, while I check in through a vivid red door, or while I get to the second floor in a casket decorated in toile de jouy (the most ancient lift in the city). Aristocratic furniture and a quirky atmosphere characterize my suite. In another age and in another life I would have stopped here to start writing about my life.
Whitewashed ranches surrounded by golden fields and filled with black and white souvenirs have seen a family passing the baton to the next generation for two centuries. Here, old tools and yellowed boxes are upgraded to decorations. Every morning (freshly roasted) boiling coffee is served in flagons made of iron and glass. Handmade ceramic sets are painted in the perfect tone of light blue and the small bazar can be compared to our favourite concept stores in Paris…
We remember every detail of our stay at Pensão Agrícola. First of all its geometry, the typical essential and fascinating one of Olhão’s houses, with their white walls combined together to create perfect angles. Then comes the fragrance of granola just taken out of the oven and let on a tray to cool down slowly. There is also Maria, so elegant in her pale grey dress, giving us squeezed melon juice to alleviate the hot summer in Tavira (and that robust cotton napkin with a tiny fringe on one edge)…
This is how we spent our days: we woke up in a pastel-pink box and took a few steps in the warm air to reach a desert patio. We then met the other morning guests while the bonfire lingering on from the previous night drew intricate patterns of smoke…
by João Rodrigues & Andreia Revez
Do you remember the pen pals we used to have immediate bonds with? The relationship with João and Andreia started in the same way, we were drawn to them because of their poetic properties built with intelligence, craftsmanship, respect of the surroundings and love for nature. We have many mail exchanges and sometimes they are delicate distant symphonies, just like with João and Andreia…
by Patricia Sousa and Emanuel de Sousa
Patricia (1975) and Emanuel (1980) are two multifaceted creative brothers who opened ROSA ET AL Townhouse by Bed and Brunch Collection, in Porto, Portugal, in 2012.
Lisbon is: white churches, steep steps, chipped colourful tiles, tropical gardens and fruit, the smell of cream and cinnamon, terraces over the Tago, generous portions of bacalhau with onions and potatoes, delicate people, sunlight, small yellow trams, daring taxi drivers, the sound of bells, homemade lemonade and the smell of fresh laundry…
From the airport it’s only a short ride to the Baixa district, downtown Lisbon. Along the orthogonal streets of the neighbourhood are vintage hat shops, pastelerias (patisseries) and small yellow trams. You can smell the ocean and hear the sound of the cathedral’s bells in the background. We stop in front of a shiny green door and look up to see this VIII century building all covered in blue azulejos. The Baixa House entrance hall is fresh and dominated by a wooden spiral staircase that goes up five floors interrupted only by white landings and multicolour windows. Our apartment, 4b Campo Grande, is inundated by the day light. The whole white rooms are warmed up by the light brown wooden floor and the pops of colour: industrial lamps, fresh flowers, the folk patterns of cushions, artisanal rugs and ceramics. The apartment overlooks the derelict roofs of the neighbourhood and the blue sky over Lisbon…
You will fall in love with Villa Extramuros. As you approach it, it appears like a magic white cube against the green countryside in Arraiolos. François and Jean-Cristophe have chosen a land surrounded only by olive fields, orange orchards and meadows where sheep flock grow as the ideal setting for their contemporary villa. Rooms combine locally sourced materials (marble, cork, white limestone), traditional colourful rugs from Monsaraz (Mizette’s mantas alentajanas) and views over the medieval castle and the infinity pool with crafted details and furniture from a modern and stylish Parisian house. Breakfast is served in terracotta plates and is a divine blend of traditional French, Mediterranean and Portuguese specialities…
by Jean-Christophe Lalanne
Born in 1964 in Marmande (near Bordeaux), a former tennis teacher, Jean-Christophe started his career in the fashion industry in Paris in 1992 and he is still in the fashion management. A few years ago he (together with François) bought a big peaceful land in Portugal and built Villa Extramuros, a modern haven in the Alentejo countryside. Jean-Christophe and François are sublimely taking care of it and of their four awesome in-house 4 cats, Mr Toto, Ms Lulu, Mr Riri e Ms Mila.
We were told that no matter what we’d ordered it would have been delicious. If you travel to Antelajo, this restaurant and gourmet supermarket is a culinary stop not to be missed. The journey to get here takes you through meadows tinted of violet and yellow where cows graze freely, olive fields and oak forests and lands populated by storks until you get to the beautiful and timeless city of Estremoz, another gem of inland Portugal. Gadanha’s kitchen uses the same ingredients you will have so often tasted in this country: fava beans, aged ham, prawns, potatoes, fresh mushrooms, salted codfish, garlic, coriander, rice, tangerine, extra virgin olive oil and herbs. Yet the combinations are so refined the food here is an authentic work of art, modern and delicious at the same time. There is something traditional yet fresh in the decor of the terrace and the dining room. You leave Estremoz and Gadanh with your heart full of beautiful landscapes, villages and flavours that belong to Portugal’s most intimate tradition.