Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Wanderlust Wednesday - Bucket List Edition: Places to Visit in Portugal #3

Hey everyone! It's Wednesday, and you know what it means... it's time for some wanderlust dreaming. Today I'm carrying on with my 'Bucket List' series and finish (for now) my list of places to visit in Portugal. My country is a small one, yet bursting with outstanding nooks to discover, natural and cultural. Even if you don't have plans to visit Portugal in the near future, I invite you to scroll down this post. Perhaps it will sharpen your curiosity... and if you like this, be sure to take a look into parts #1 and #2 as well!

In no particular order as usual, here are 9 more places I'd love to visit within borders:

1. Serra da Estrela, Guarda

Image sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 

Its name literally meaning "Mountain Range of the Star", Serra da Estrela is the highest mountain range in Continental Portugal, surpassed only by the Pico mountain in the Azores. Its highest point stands in a plateau, where there is a ski resort. This makes Serra da Estrela an awesome winter destination, although this mountain range can be as scenic and entertaining in the summertime too. Serra da Estrela actually comprises a Natural Park, whose landscape shows visible marks of ice action in the past, like ravines, lakes of glacial origin and U-shapped valleys, like the Zêzere Valley in the first picture.

2. Almourol Castle (Castelo de Almourol), Santarém

Image sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Standing in a rocky river islet, this medieval castle seems taken right out from a fairytale! It is believed it was constructed over a primitive Lusitanian castro (read more about these hill forts here, together with photographs of my visit to the ruins of Briteiros), however its construction date is unclear. It is known, although, that this castle served as a stronghold during the Portuguese Reconquista and is one of the best (if not the best) representations of the Knights Templar in Portugal.

3. Porto Covo, Setúbal

Image sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Porto Covo is located along the Alentejo coast, south of Lisbon. I have a crush for all things white sand, isolated coves, rock cliff shores and warm temperatures, so Porto Covo's beaches are on my wishlist. The town of Porto Covo itself looks lovely too. Also, there is an island with more awesome beaches, two 17th century fortresses and the ruins of a Roman harbor nearby.

4. Piódão, Coimbra

Image sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

This village is located on a hillside and its dwellings show traditional schist walls, slab roofs and doors and windows painted blue... Piódão's inhabitants live mainly through agriculture, livestock and beekeeping. It is sad, although, that younger populations keep emigrating abroad or to the coastal cities in search of better living conditions.

5. Laurel Forest (Floresta Laurissilva), Madeira

Image sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

A laurel forest, also called laurissilva, is a kind of subtropical forest characterized by broadleaf tree species with evergreen leaves, mostly like the laurel family. This type of forest is present in many parts of the world, from East Asia to the southeast states of the USA and from Australia to Macaronesia (Azores, Canary and Madeira islands). The laurel forest in Madeira, however, is a World Heritage Site since 1999, being considered the largest and best preserved forest of this kind in the entire world.

6. Almendres Cromlech (Cromeleque dos Almendres), Évora

Image sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

As the largest existing group of structured menhirs in the Iberian Peninsula and one of the largest ones in Europe, this complex covers a period of time from the Neolithic to the Chalcolithic. It is supposed that this monument served religious or ceremonial purposes, or as a primitive astronomical observatory. The stones are organized in a circular pattern and some of them show carved drawings. The second and fourth pictures are particularly appealing to me; just imagine how magickal it might feel to be in a place like this at nighttime, under the starry sky!

7. Batalha Monastery (Mosteiro da Batalha), Leiria

Image sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

This monastery is one of the best examples of late Gothic architecture in Portugal, and was built in commemoration of the Portuguese victory in the battle of Aljubarrota in 1385. It took over a century to build it! But today it is also a World Heritage Site.

8. Monsaraz, Évora

Image sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

The hilltop of Monsaraz is located near the border with Spain and is one of the oldest portuguese settlements in southern Portugal, having been occupied by different peoples since the pre-historical record. Traces of all these peoples can still be seen throughout the place, like hundreds of megalithic monuments and a medieval castle, as well as evidences of a castro and Roman occupation. It was also occupied by the Visigoths, Arabs and Jews until the Reconquista. I love the way this lovely village adorned in traditional stone and bright white fits into the surrounding landscape!

9. Berlengas Archipelago (Arquipélado das Berlengas), Leiria

Image sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

And finally, this. This is heaven within borders. It's a group of small islands belonging to UNESCO's World Network of Biosphere Reserves, therefore, the Berlengas are considered a reservation area, so there is no permanent population although scientists and tourists do travel to this archipelago. One day, I will too.

I hope you've enjoyed scrolling down these Portuguese wonders as much as I've enjoyed compilling this list. If you ever have the chance to travel to Portugal, please do not hesitate; I assure you you will never regret it. After all, Portugal won several top prizes at this year's World Travel Awards!

Thanks for taking a look into this post, and stay around for more wanderlust goodness in the future!

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Anniversary Giveaway Winners!

Hey everyone! Finally the moment many of you were waiting for. :) I know I said I'd reveal the winners yesterday, but last night I was so tired that I forgot to hit the 'publish' button! I also know it took a long time but I've been busy and I made sure to verify ALL the entries, even though Rafflecopter gives me the chance to disqualify a winner if they hadn't completed the step. I know it sounds crazy since there were over 2500(!!) entries but I feel like it's more fair like that. I haven't included people who've cheated in the drawing. Especially those who typed 'jj' or even something like 'epfgrhsejk' in the link box. Come on guys, that's really lame. The point of this giveaway was so I could show my work to more new people and, who knows, help Terra grow a little more. So cheating on the Rafflecopter app like some did is disrespectful to those who completed the steps with much care. I'm sorry if I sound like I'm grumbling but (un)fortunately that's the way I am. Anyway... here it is! The three winners have been contacted. If the first winner fails to respond in 48h, he or she will be disqualified and a new winner will be picked, with the second winner going up to first position and so on.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats to the three winners and, most of all, THANK YOU everyone who've entered this giveaway and helped to spread the love by sharing my pictures and pages. Whether you're a winner or not, I hope you do stay around with me and keep following my work via this blog, Facebook page or at least my Etsy shop. The giveaway's activeness was beyond my expectations, it was so crazy! I hope I'll be able to bring another great event like this one soon! Thanks again everyone! 

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Sunday, August 3, 2014

My July in Instagram

1. Working on my internship project (still a few things to refine).
2. Misha meowing for attention while I prepared my breakfast.
3. Fresh orange and raspberry infused water. Tried it for the first time and loved it!
4. He always purrs like crazy when I place his grass in front of him.
5. View from my bedroom window on a misty morning. So soothing.
6. Picking up some blackberries near my home.

Well, hello August. Too bad we greeted you with grey skies and neverending rain around here! 
As you can see through the pics above, my activity in Instagram has been kinda low lately, and all but one of these were taken around my home. Last month was one of heavy work and little enjoyment for me. I started it all pretty excited to finish my internship project and deliver my thesis, but as time went by the tasks kept multiplying and multiplying until I found myself working from dawn to late evening. And it's not over yet (grrr).

So while most people get their deserved vacation and go out for amazing, hopefully unforgetable summer trips, I'll stay around here, I guess. Still figuring out how to manage my time so I can finish my thesis once and for all and enjoy at least a piece of summer (and work on Terra, of course!). But I'll come up with something.

How was your July? Are you planning to go somewhere for vacation this August?

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Friday, August 1, 2014

New Moon Wishes #4

Hey everyone, and welcome to New Moon Wishes, a series where I share some of my intentions for the following four weeks. Every New Moon eve I'll sit down, meditate on my priorities, and share some of them here the following day. These can be challenges or simply things that I wanna do of my life. I encourage you to do the same and push yourself to enjoy more of your life!

I know this New Moon Wishes comes pretty late, but I guess the reason why is well explained in my last post. I'm feeling better now, although I'm still getting used to the thought that I'll spend the entire summer working on my thesis... feeling a little unmotivated but anyway! As I looked into last month's New Moon Wishes, I realized how unbalanced my day-to-day life has been. At first I was even ashamed to talk about them today, but I guess it's all a part of the process, right? So here's a look into last Moon's intentions...


1. Launch Terra Mystique's new collection. Nope. While some pieces are ready to be photographed and launched in the shop, my idea was to launch them altogether as a summer themed collection. But now summer is halfway gone.

2. Finish and deliver my Master's final paper. No. It's so frustrating that over 80% of my July was focused on this and, in the end, my delivery got postponed by my instructor. 

3. Do a wardrobe detox. Done. I think this might be the only intention I came to fully accomplish this Moon. But it still feels good. I had lots of stuff inside my wardrobe that for some reason I couldn't get rid of, mostly because of sentimental value. But I finally did it. I feel so light now- and so does my closet.

4. Work on new packaging for Terra. While there has been a good improvement, there are still a couple of things to work on until it's perfect. But it's almost there. :)

5. Execute plan B of Operation 'Sore Today, Strong Tomorrow'. Meh... ever since I turned into a potato because of my thesis I stopped doing pilates, and now I feel so unmotivated. I need to find a way to get back on track. Any ideas?

6. Start going to the beach. No, no, no. I haven't placed my feet there yet. Not. A. Single. Time. It's so sad. The weather has been nice but I just can't seem to manage my time. HELP.

This Moon, I decided to slow down so I can try and catch up with everything. So I'm keeping my intentions simple. These are my August 

1. Catch up on Terra Mystique. This includes shop revamp (ie, new items), financial management, new interesting blog posts and many other things I've been wanting (and needing) to do for a very long time.

2. Enjoy a little piece of summer. Even though I'm still finishing my internship project and working on my thesis, I really need to establish a week or two depending on how forward I'm able to go until my thesis instructor comes back from her vacation, and simply turn myself off. I mean, I think I'll break down soon if I don't.

3. Get back to pilates and yoga. Pretty obvious. Must take care of myself.

4. Reorganize my bedroom. Because I have papers and books and materials all over my furniture and a chaotic space reflects a chaotic mind, right?

August is here people! Do you have any intentions for the upcoming weeks? Feel free to share them down below! :)

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