The village was playing up its medieval origins with this greeting from a plague “doctor”:

After that, however, the village was charm everywhere you looked.

A former church is now a bookshop. Here’s the “altar”:

More titles to enjoy de-coding:

Traditional skills still in use: plastering and tiling.

Seen on several doors:

There was a “real” church (several, in fact).

And loads more charm:

And shops. A clothes shop:

A fado shop:

And to bring us back to earth, medieval drainage, still operational, I would think.

Cooking and Nature

Our second hotel has the intriguing name of “Cooking and Nature Emotional Hotel” which means it’s about that word, over-used and mis-used in our work place: “wellbeing”.

Our staff would benefit from this place, however.

Each of the 12 rooms has a theme based on a movie which has achieved cult status. Guests receive a little satchel with hotel info and the DVD of the movie which they can watch in their room.

This was my theme, with a room to match:

I quickly took advantage of the pool. It is set among olive trees and old stone walls.

After swimming, we drank green wine (a local specialty, actually a rather sweet white wine) from the patio bar.

Various other lounges were available:

Then, we had a cooking lesson and cooked our own dinner with the guidance of a chef.

I was part of the entree, salad and dessert group. The main course was duck. A glass of wine while we cooked added to the fun.

More quirky and ingenious features in the hotel include its light fittings:

Watering cans and colanders:

Dragonfly lights made from tea strainers:

Lights in the reception area:

There are bookshelves and reading spaces:

The floor is polished concrete and the hand rails reflect the nature theme.

The hotel is out in the countryside. I can hear birds and no traffic.

A couple of other things I spotted were these nesting boxes:

And this bucket shower beside the pool. You pull the rope and, rather than the bucket tipping over to drench you, there is a shower rose in the bottom of it to give you a gentler washing!


I didn’t imagine I’d be blogging about the hotels we are staying in, but the boutique hotels of the Back Roads tours are worth a mention.

The first is the Heritage Hotel Avenida Liberdade, Lisbon.

The hotel has been tastefully restored and refurbished. The staff are wonderful. There’s a doorman in a red jacket.

Rather grand rooms:

Chunky bathroom ware:

Bathrobes behind the door:

In the lobby a greyhound sits by a spiral staircase

which leads to a mezzanine library – with board games you can play.

In the lobby, you can relax and enjoy, free of charge, coffee, tea, juice, snacks (including the famous Portuguese custard tarts), and a choice of Muscatel or Port wine.

These drawers behind the reception desk remain from the days the building was a herbalist’s.

Here’s a cosy corner of the lobby:

The wall tiles are original.

On the theme of “travelling light”, I noticed this discrepancy in luggage sizes as we checked out:

Yes, that’s my wee suitcase, hidden behind the others! At least there are only eight people on our tour, so we have room to spread out in the minibus.