Tag Archives: History

Portugal: Weekend in Évora – Day 2

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Between Art And History

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Fórum Fundação Eugénio de Almeida

After a brunch at the rooftop pool of the Vitória Stone Hotel roof, I head (this time without bike) to the historic center of Évora, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Facing the Roman Temple, the Fórum of the Fundação Eugénio de Almeida, where I visit the exhibition, “All Heritage is Poetry“.

And then, surprise, surprise upon entering the first room: an art piece of Ai Weiwei, Stone Pilar (above right). In the first photo of this post: at the entrance of the exhibition, one can read on a table, “O e a amanha Questão” (“Tomorrow is the question“), a reflection on what are heritage and its conservation. The visit of the Forum and the exhibition was exciting. 

The left picture below: a ceiling dating back to the terrible Portuguese Inquisition, which lasted nearly three centuries (from the 15th to the 18th century). Part of the premises of the Foundation Eugénio de Almeida is located in the former Palace of the Inquisition (exterior view of the building on the fourth picture below).  

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Strolling And Looking Up

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Taking Time

I like to walk when people have lunch at the terrace of restaurants. The streets and sights are deserted. I can focus on my photos, see and discover. And when we travel two, I prefer to be photographed when there is none.

On the above left photo: I dream having the same terrace. Photos below: Páteo de São Miguel, one of the properties of the Fundação Eugénio de Almeida. In the courtyard, a contemporary art work and a bench covered with ancient tiles, Azulero

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A Small Museum

A l’entrée du Páteo de São Miguel, se trouve le musée des calèches (Coleção de Carruagens). En plus des calèches, on découvre dans un court métrage l’histoire de la famille Eugénio de Almeida. At the entrance of Páteo de São Miguel, you can visit the Museum of Carriages Coleção de Carruagens). Besides the carriages, you can discover in a short film of the Eugénio de Almeida family’s story.

A travel through time: a tailcoat suit in giant trunk and toiletry and hat bags …

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Late in The Afternoon

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Walking Through A Maze Of Narrow Streets

with buildings lined with yellow or blue paint. Meeting with above-away rare passersby. I end my long walk (begun in late morning) at the terrace of Páteo.

See you soon in Comporta for a surf session with my happy team (of the rafting and bike)! To be continued…

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Photos : © Mademoiselle Le K – Tous droits réservés.


Visit Alentejo & Visit Portugal 


Many thanks to Visit Alentejo and Visit Portugal to this beautiful invitation. As always, these are my opinions.

Weekend in Évora – Day 1

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Cycling Tour of Évora

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Departure From The Ecorkhotel

The night was too short. I always need to redo my suitcase X times until no time … As a result, now my dream team is already on bikes, while I have a green tea break in the patio of the Ecorkhotel  (photo below).

In front of the hotel, our two guides including Teresa Vilas Boas, the owner of Touraventur, explain us our bike tour of Évora (photos below). We start by crossing countryside, because the Ecorkhotel is located on the outskirts of the city and historic center classified World Heritage by Unesco.

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The Capela dos Ossos

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We stop at the Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones), built in the 16th century by a Franciscan monk. Upon the entry, it says: “Nós ossos que aqui estamos pelos vossos esperamos” (“We bones that here are, for yours await”, traduction Wikipedia). 

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The Beautiful University of Évora

We take up our bikes and the street steeply climbs and then goes down! This is the first time I use a bike with gears (I think so, LOL)! What a surprise when visiting the Évora University, built by the Jesuits in 1559 and closed in 1759 by the Marquis of Pombal!

The walls of classrooms and corridors are covered with Azulejos (photos below). The kind of university where I would have liked studying!

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Wine Tasting and Shopping

To be honest, I’m not fond of the wine tasting, except when I visit a “terroir” (vineyards) or have a wine tasting course like in the Ecole des vins de Bordeaux (the School of Bordeaux wines, in Bordeaux, France). But I really enjoy the decor of the Ervideira wine cellar in a small shopping street in the historic center (left below).

Just opposite, I discovered a restaurant very popular with the local youth … and just about everyone: the Páteo. Before the last bike climb in narrow streets leading to the famous Roman Temple from the second century, I spot these beautiful colorful dishes. And to buy homemade jams : Loja Mó sells products made by people with a handicap.

Pictured below: near the Roman Temple, the Convent of Lóios which is now a pousada. Around 3 p.m., we have lunch. By late afternoon, I finally bring my luggage in the Vitória Stone Hotel, a new design hotel. Well, I feel fantastic, just a few leg cramps (LOL)! To be continued…

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Photos : © Mademoiselle Le K – Tous droits réservés.


Visit AlentejoVisit Portugal & Turaventur


Many thanks to Visit Alentejo and Visit Portugal for this amazing invitation. Also thanks to the great team of Turaventur to turn this bike tour in real pleasure! As always these are my opinions.

Umbria, Italia: To Stroll In Spello, Truffle Hunting In Norcia

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Perugia via Rome

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The Trip Is Pretty Long

because there is a change of plane in Rome, where I – in fact we have – almost missed our connection as we were taken by our chat (no comment, lol!). It’s always a pleasure to return to Italy and speaking Italian again!

On the above photo montage, 1. the eternal city, Rome viewed from the sky and 2. first impressions of Umbria, whose capital is Perugia. I am very curious, this is my first time in this region of the center of Italy!

A Walk In Spello

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Getting Lost And Wander

Few time to freshen up and then we arrive in Spello. From the ramparts of the medieval town, great views of the Umbrian plain dotted with cypress trees. Light breeze, night falls softly. Languidly strolling in flowery empty narrow streets and discovering a Roman triumphal arch …

Each year between May and June for the Flower Festival of Corpus Christi (Infiorante), Spello streets turn into a huge carpet of flowers and sacred art paintings made of flower petals are used as decorations. Spello is then renamed “Flower Capital”.

We stop for dinner at Locanda del Postiglione, a restaurant of local specialties with gargantuan proportions! From the second course, I couldn’t eat more. On the menu: chicken liver accompanied by toasts with olive oil, gnocchi with red wine and gorgonzola sauce, Umbria meats, guanciale (crispy bacon) with green salad and balsamic, porchetta (pork). Not to forget the dessert!

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Truffle Hunting in Norcia

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Lovely Meeting

The next day, early morning departure to Norcia and truffle hunting! I am so excited, like a child who goes hunting for treasure! Umbria is the largest provider of truffles in Italy. The truffle, both tuber and trace grows underground in symbiosis with trees (without being a parasite).

There are 7 types of truffles: 5 black and 2 white. The most famous and tasty are: the winter black truffle (Tuber melanosporum), the price varies between € 400-600 per kilo. And the white winter truffle (Tuber magnatum Pico. Depending on the rarity and size, its price is between €2,000-6,000 per kilo.

Nicola Berardi is a truffle hunter (photo montage above). He proudly shows me his official permit issued by the municipality (photo below). A deep complicity links Nicola to his dogs, Nina (the brown hair dean) and Lulu (the fiery youngster with black hair).  

As we move ahead on a small dirt road, Nicola explains that from the age of three months, any hunting dog can be trained to hunt truffles. And female dogs are better than male dogs. This is a game for the dogs that are rewarded when they find a truffle. It’s also a way to prevent them from eating.

Lulu repeatedly sinks in coppices, digs and returns victorious, a truffle stuck between her teeth. Unlike pigs, dogs learn to bring back truffles to the master and their bite doesn’t damage the truffle. The best places to find truffles are around the trees (mostly oaks), abandoned vineyards and riverbanks.    

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Truffle Dinner in Norcia

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The downpour stopped our inland truffle hunting. Back to Norcia, where I discovered my vast room in the elegant Palazzo Seneca before dinner (photo montage below, 3. the entrance of the Palazzo Seneca).

Norcia is a quiet charming little town of about 5,000 inhabitants which takes its name from Nortia (Latin: Nursia), the Etruscan goddess of time, fate, destiny and chance. First colony founded by the Sabines in the fifth century BC, Norcia was conquered by the Romans in the third century BC (and then had 60,000 inhabitants), followed by the Goths and the Lombards in the sixth century who integrated the city in the Spoleto Ducat (Ducato Longobardo di Spoleto). After a period of decline, Norcia became one of five regions of the Papal States.

Photo montage above: 1 and 6. on the main square, Piazza San Benedetto, the statue of Benedict of Nursia, San Benedetto, the “inventor” of monastic life and founder of the Benedictine order who was born in Norcia at fifth century.

2 et 4. The black truffle and prosciutto are specialties of Norcia. Very good dinner with fresh truffles at the Ristorante Granaro del Monte, with Vincenzo Bianconi, one of the owners of the restaurant and Palazzo Seneca.  

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Photos : © Mademoiselle Le K – Tous droits réservés


Regione Umbria and Alitalia


Many thanks for this beautiful invitation to Regione Umbria et Alitalia. Thanks to Nicola Berardi and Vincenzo Bianconi too. As always these opinions are my own.