Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wanderlust Wednesday: Almendra, Portugal

Although I'm usually stuck in one place, I suffer from wanderlust. If you do too, then you know exactly what I'm talking about!

Wanderlust is a strong desire for (or sometimes an impulse to) wander, travel or even explore the world. It is most commonly characterized by a longing for places where one has never been before, but wanderlust will often reach a deeper level when the need for a search also involves philosophy, religion, or even idyllic places. In other words, it represents the journey to understand one's very existence.

I love visiting new places, meeting new customs and I've always loved exploring- ever since I was a kid playing outdoors. Sadly, I rarely have the time or chance to feed my wanderlust, but thanks to my boyfriend and his family I've had the opportunity to meet a lovely place the last weekend: the village of Almendra, in Vila Nova de Foz Côa, Portugal.

I have then created this "Wanderlust Wednesday" series, so I can occasionaly show you and talk about places I've been to (recently or not)!

Almendra is a small historic village located in northern Portugal, very close to the border with Spain. It used to be the county seat of Guarda until the establishment of the town of Vila Nova de Foz Coa in 1855. My boyfriend's family (on his father's side) is originally from there, but it had been almost a decade since the last time they had visited their relatives.

Me, my boyfriend and his parents left our hometown last Saturday evening and arrived Almendra around 10.00 pm for a late meal and a nocturne walk in the village. Sadly I forgot to take my camera with me as we left the villa we stood in, so I don't have any good pictures of the village itself. But the landscape is indeed breathtaking- just like most of the portuguese countryside.

The kitchen garden. Fresh veggies straight to our table :)

Yummy homemade bread!
The road leading to the villa.

On Sunday afternoon, we all took a stroll through the outskirts of Almendra to visit some nice spots, including the Douro river itself. There are a LOT of beautiful things to say about the Douro so I'll leave it to another time! I would have loved to take a swim in the river but the current was quite treacherous. Maybe next time. But we found the remnants of an old railway, as well as an ancient stone well sheltered in a grove. The heat was almost too much so its freezing water was truly a blessing!

The stream of Aguiar (ribeira de Aguiar) - a holy place for Almendra's population.


The weekend didn't actually end so well to my man. We both came back home on Monday morning, a little earlier than the rest of the family because of his exams- but not before we stopped in Vila Nova de Foz Côa's emergency department. For the first time in his life, he had this super ugly allergic reaction to insect bites. At first we thought he was just a "better" mosquito magnet, but then both his arms and legs started to swell. So he had to take not one, but two shots of antihistamine.

As we left the emergency department to buy his prescribed meds, we came across this very beautiful road in the heart of the town with figures resembling petroglyphs in the pavement. I would love to visit the archaeological heritage of Foz Côa someday.

The road back home.
This is it for the first Wanderlust Wednesday. There was so much more to write about this trip but then I would spend the rest of the day finishing this post! I hope I'll be able to update this series relatively often in the future, considering how rare this kind of opportunities is to me. But one can always dream of distant places, right? :)

All the best,
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