Portugal – A Country That Deserves Your Visit

Hi Everyone,

To start the year just a post to promote Portugal, despite the fact that the country is undergoing a serious crisis, like many other of its European counterparts, it is still, perhaps even more, an amazing place to visit.

Prices on restaurants and hotels are nowadays very low when compared with other 1st world countries, security is very good, roads are brilliant, old european charm is everywhere and the countryside and seaside are breathtaking.

Since an image is worth a thousand words I am going to show a series of photos from several places in the Minho province which is in the North of the country and of Lisbon which, for those who wouldn’t know, is the capital city in the center/south of the country.

I hope you enjoy and find some time to get to know Portugal, most of what is known of the country is about Algarve, its southernmost province with world famous beaches, but in my humble opinion there’s a lot more to see in Portugal than seaside resort towns, and after seeing the following photos I hope you’ll agree…

In this gallery you’ll find photos, lots of photos, if any place captures your fancy and you are interested to know more about it, just drop me a message and I’ll be happy to comply.

A great place to relax and enjoy…

…in Mpumalanga, South Africa.

We were in dire need of some restful moments after a few weeks of over intensive work and were considering to stay at a certain lodge and restaurant where we had the pleasure of having lunch and dinner a few times but never stayed overnight, unfortunately it was fully booked for the weekend so we had to find an alternative. After careful consideration I decided to take a chance on a 5 star rated lodge that I’ve never heard of, but looked very promising… the “Jatinga Country Lodge”.

They had two accommodation choices – Superior Rooms or Luxury Suites, both being a bit on the expensive side I decided that the small difference in price might be worth it and opted for the latter.

We arrived there just after the sunset and doing the last few kms in a dirt road.

So, since an image is worth a thousand words I’ll start with the photos and go along with some comments.

This is what was waiting for us:

A lounge/sitting room with fireplace, a set of sofas, TV, refrigerator, a selection of coffee and tea, some extremely nice home made shortbread cookies and a few books & magazines.

The room itself, also with fireplace and a four poster bed.

Another angle of the sitting room.

And the brilliant (!) bathroom…

Let’s be fair, it’s not brilliant in a “The Venetian” slightly excessive marble & gold way, nor in the absolute elegance of “Intercontinental” Hong Kong. But it is brilliant, just in its simplicity of bare stone and painted walls. It feels really comfortable and adequate.

And yes, it comes with an enclosed patio with outdoor shower…

Isn’t that a very nice detail…?

All in all a positive first impression.

Now regarding dinner… The restaurant was said to be “gourmet” so, despite the fact that sometimes the word is used in a very broad sense, we decided it was worth a try…

The tables are properly set and the classic colonial decoration is consistent and agreeable.

The menu offered only two choices on starters, two on main course and surprise (!) two desserts… Which at first glance feels a bit too little, but… And this is really what matters, the food IS GOOD, it is actually VERY GOOD.

May I present you a starter… Springbok, very thinly sliced and folded, with balsamic vinegar and peppers, over a salad. The springbok is a type of gazelle from southern Africa. And was it delicious…

Butternut soup, it might not be as impressive as the springbok, but still very good.

Main couse…

The line fish, in a lemon and cream sauce and over a potato. Delicate, cooked to the perfect point in which it melts in your mouth…

And the lamb, rich and flavorsome.

Our daughter was presented with perfectly cooked scrambled eggs, with a bit of paprika…

I have to say I was impressed… So much so that when dessert arrived I even forgot to take a photo and dedicated myself thoroughly to the pleasure of sharing a two tone chocolate mousse with our daughter…

View of a table in the cellar.

In the morning… Perfect weather.

The suite as seen from outside.

Through the garden, on the way to breakfast

The breakfast, something that is taken very seriously here, as it was presented at our table:

Selection of cheese and cold cuts, selection of fresh fruits and bulgarian yogurt with a cereals…

Fruit juice,

Toast, croissants and wonderful home made muffins…

And excellent freshly brewed coffee. Since this is not considered enough, the waiter will bring you the list with all sorts of different options… I decided to have just a simple omelet with cheese and bacon:

Allow me to tell you that, the omelet not only looks perfect, it is perfect. It’s actually just the best omelet that I’ve ever tried EVER. Trust me, I’ve had my share of five star hotel’s omelets across the world and this one takes first prize without discussion, it wasn’t an omelet it was a song, an ode to the egg. Perfect, so perfect that I wasn’t believing my own tastebuds after the first try… When a Chef manages to turn something so simple into such an experience, it’s someone that really deserves the title Chef.

To digest the wonderful breakfast nothing like a walk through the grounds…

And enjoy the view over the stream and the surrounding bush from the observation deck.

The suite’s bathroom during daytime… The outdoor shower is a must try, absolutely wonderful experience with something deeply atavistic to it. Also enjoyed the rough stone shower room, ever since I first showered in a rough stone shower room, in one of my cousin’s in-laws country house more than fifteen years ago, I’m a sucker for it. Don’t get me wrong, I like a shower room of polished marble as much as the next person, but once again, like with the outdoor version, there’s something to it that appeals to the “stone man” in me (did they have shower??? Hmm… Maybe not… But they sure had waterfalls!

To be continued…