Thursday, 28 July 2016


We spent a wonderful and very special day in Fátima, visiting and walking around filled with an indescribable peace of spirit.

To get there, we took the “Expressos Bus” from Lisbon, which is a pleasant and quick trip, just one and a half hour’s drive.

The town itself is not beautiful: it is full of guest houses, hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops for the many pilgrims.

We were glad to attend the Mass that was held at the sanctuary.

Santuário de Fátima (Fátima Shrine)

Nossa Senhora de Fátima (Our Lady of Fatima)

The inexhaustible water fountain, where you can drink fresh and excellent water

Souvenirs shops

Whatever your beliefs, you cannot help but be impressed by such religious fervour, the faith that every year leads more than six million people to this holy place where, on 13 May 1917, in Cova da Iria (Irene's Cove), the Virgin Mary first appeared to three peasant children, Lúcia, Jacinta and Francisco.

The Portuguese are a very devout Catholic people and a trip here will provide you with insights into Portugal’s religious culture. The key dates for the pilgrimage are May 13 and October 13.

I really hope you enjoyed this post about Fátima.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016


During my stay in Portugal, I visited Évora a breath-taking “museum city” whose roots go back to Celtic, Roman and Moorish times.

When you arrive here, you feel that the time has stood still. It is a university city, with a relatively young population, which contrasts with the ancient architecture and its strongly ingrained traditions.

To whet your appetite, I prepared you some snaps.

Évora is partially enclosed by medieval wall.

The Jardim Público de Évora (Public Gardens) contains the Palácio de Dom Manuel and the fine Galeria das Damas (Ladies' Gallery) constructed in a Gothic-Renaissance style.

Praça do Giraldo is the lively, historic hub of Évora, with numerous pavement cafes for relaxing and watching the world go by.

The ornate, fortress-like is one of the most impressive cathedrals in Portugal.

Évora's spectacular Roman remains, the Templo Diana. The Templo Romano is one of the best preserved Roman monuments in Europe and is thought to date to the 2nd or 3rd century. Fourteen Corinthian columns in granite support a marble entablature.

The 9km long Aqueduto da Água de Prata (Aqueduct of Silver Water), brought water into the town and is noted now for the houses, shops and cafes built under it.

An ancient convent dating from 1733 converted into a boarding school, but closed since…And the gorgeous tiny square just in front…

Among Évora's many fine churches, the standout is the Igreja e Mosteiro de São Francisco, with its macabre Capela dos Ossos. The Capela dos Ossos (Chapel of Bones) is a small chapel behind the main altar containing the bones of an estimated 5,000 people.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Out of Sorts by Aurélie Valognes (2014) French edition: Mémé dans les orties

Ferdinand Brown, 83 years old, lonely, grumpy, irritable - some would say: alone, bitter, nasty - is bored to death. His sole pastime? Avoiding a horde of female neighbours with their hair dyed peach, apricot or lavender. His greatest pleasure? Baiting the concierge of his building, Mrs. Suarez, who rules roost. But, when his dog suddenly disappears, Ferdinand loses his taste for living definitively...until the day a bright 10-year-old schoolgirl and her 93-year-old geek granny literally force the door to his flat and his heart.

Author: Aurélie Valognes is 34 years old. She graduated from the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce NEOMA Business School (ESC Reims) in 2007. She specialised in communication and marketing and has worked in various companies, such as Procter & Gamble, and in various countries (Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Netherlands). “Out of Sorts” is her first novel. It was translated into English and was a great success abroad, including the United States and the United Kingdom.

My thoughts: I read this book in just a few days in early May. I found it refreshing, funny, touching and, also, a great lesson in life. I found it a relaxing read. I enjoyed the fine, nice and sparkling descriptions of the characters.
I loved the story of Ferdinand, the disagreeable and quarrelsome octogenarian, never satisfied with anything in life. But a major event, the disappearance of his beloved dog, forces him to open up to the world thanks to the friendship of a nonagenarian, Mrs Claudel, and a 10-year-old girl, Juliette.
The story takes place in a calm residential building, inhabited mostly by elderly people. All its occupants are oppressed by the harsh authority of Mrs Suarez, the diabolical and pretentious concierge. But Mrs Suarez finds an adversary to her rule in Ferdinand, simply because the two of them are of the same malicious species. Their Cold War develops into open warfare, with no holds barred.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016


During my holiday I even found time for my hobby - photography. Here are some photos taken ​​in the nooks and crannies of Lisbon. I have also captured some monuments and attractions.

The 25 de Abril Bridge is a suspension bridge crossing the Tejo River. It connects Lisbon to Almada.

The Santuário Nacional de Cristo Rei was built with the support of all of the Portuguese bishops in order to give thanks for Portugal’s absence from the Second Word War.

Lisbon is really a charming, easy-going city. During the day, life centres around relaxing in the capital’s numerous cafes, squares and gardens, while the city bursts into life at night in the bars and restaurants of Bairro Alto and Alfama

Chiado and Bairro Alto, are the city’s main nightlife areas, teeming with fashion boutiques, bars, clubs and fado houses with excellent Brazilian & African music.

Largo do Carmo

View of Rossio from Elevador de Santa Justa

Museu Arqueológico do Carmo

The Alfama district is Lisbon’s oldest, dating back to Moorish times and retains a traditional atmosphere. Lisbon’s cathedral, Sé de Lisboa, and the Castelo de São Jorge are located on Lisbon's highest hill. There are tremendous views from the impressive walls and towers of the castle, as well as from the viewpoint, Miradouro de Santa Luzia.

Mosteiro dos Jerónimos

Padrão dos Descobrimentos

Torre de Belém

I love this peaceful urban garden situated in Belém

Modern Lisbon is characterised by the new development of the Lisbon Exhibition Centre and Parque das Nações built for Expo 98 and served by the stunning modern architecture of the Gare do Oriente station on the city metro. The riverside area houses the Oceanario, which is Europe’s largest aquarium, and the 140m tall Torre Vasco da Gama, designed in the shape of a sail.