A room with a view to the Estrela mountain

Salt of Portugal

Pousada da Serra da Estrela (75)

The Serra da Estrela Pousada stands 1,200 meters above sea level, at the door step of Portugal’s highest mountain. It was designed in the 1920s by architect Cottinelli Telmo for those who needed to recover from respiratory ailments. The pure mountain air did wonders. And so did the view of the mountain adorned with a mantle of snow or dressed with the grey hues of the granite and the green colors of the pine trees.

In the second half of the 20th century, the edifice fell into disuse. It was rebuilt in 2014 under the guidance of Eduardo Souto Moura, a Portuguese architect who won the Pritzker prize.

Souto Moura found ways to incorporate modern comforts like air conditioning, saunas and swimming pools into the old building. But, at the same time, he endeavored to preserve Cottinelli Telmo’s unusual design. The building is long and narrow so that most of…

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Serra d’Ossa

Salt of Portugal

Composit Serra D'Ossa.JPG

It was an act of bravery. We drove up the serpentine road to Serra d’Ossa to dine at a restaurant we couldn’t find on trip advisor!  But a trusted local source told us that this was the place to go if we wanted to taste the rustic food of Alentejo. And so we went.

We were welcomed by Paula Patinho who owns the restaurant with her husband Francisco. Her mother cooks and her father makes the house wine. The prices on the menu were half of what we would have paid in Évora or Estremoz.

Francisco suggested that we start with “sopa de cação” (dogfish soup), continued with a tomato and fried meat soup, and ended with “lagartos,” thin strips of black pork grilled to perfection. The flavors are bold but harmonious perhaps because all the ingredients were local, cultivated in the same lands by the same people.

The house wine is staged…

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Remembering The 49

Susan Irene Fox

Murdered in Orlando at Pulse

Nightclub, One Year Ago Today

From top row to bottom, left to right

©Time Magazine 6/16/16 composite of individual photos found at

Stanley Almodovar III, 23

Amanda Alvear, 25

Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, 26

Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33

Antonio Davon Brown, 29

Darryl Roman Burt II, 29

Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24

Angel Candelario-Padro, 28

Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31

Juan Chavez-Martinez, 24

Luis Daniel Conde, 39

Cory James Connell, 21

Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25

Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32

Franky Jimmy De Jesús Velasquez, 50

Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25

Mercedez Marisol Florez, 26

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22

Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22

Paul Terrell Henry, 41

Frank Hernandez, 27

Miguel Angel Honorato, 30

Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40

Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19

Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30

Anthony Luis Laureano Disla, 25

Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32

Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35

Kimberly Morris, 37


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Defying Death (8 IMAGES)

Petals Unfolding

You read the title correctly.  I defied death.  As I tell my tale you choose whether I played fool or hero.  To tell you true, sometimes what I do has me shaking my head and saying, “You’ve got to be kidding me!”  It’s a darn shame I don’t have a camera crew following me some days because of how the film of my life keeps rolling.

So anyway, the day dawned gloomy and very stormy.  That’s the day of this tale.  I said, “Amy, you are going hiking at Chestnut Park today regardless if it is pouring rain or not.”  I actually told my Mom on the phone I wouldn’t go if it was pouring so I did tell a wee fib, well cause it did end up pouring.  Sorry, Mom.  I really didn’t have the “intention” of hiking in pouring rain and to give a little credit to me…

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Salt of Portugal


Natália Maia, the manager of the Guimarães pousada, recommended Buxa, a small restaurant right in the center of the Guimarães historic district.

As soon as we arrived, we recognized all the traits of the restaurants we favor.  First, the place was completely full. Second, there were people without reservation trying to charm the waiters into giving them a table (can you believe their nerve?) Third, there was a rhythm to the service: waiters moved with agility and grace to the beat of the kitchen drums. Fourth, the menu is small, focused on a few perfect preparations. And fifth, the price is right.

We loved the codfish with broa, a symphony of traditional flavors of the Portuguese cuisine: codfish, olive oil, corn bread (broa) and potatoes. The black pork was grilled to perfection, salty and satisfying. The tripe cooked with beans had layers of wonderful flavors (if tripe is too adventurous for you it is…

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Menu Plan Monday, May 29th!

The Girl Who Couldn't Eat Anything

I’m getting more excited about food again as I transition to some grain free goodness. It’s been a funny cycle this past week–I’ve done my best (not perfect, but good!) to eat less sugar, drink water, exercise (walking about 45 minutes a day), and go to bed on time. Because I’m exercising I’m sleeping better and therefore have more energy throughout the day. Since I’m making sure I eat better (just paying better attention overall) then I have more energy to get through the day and exercise–and the cycle has really been almost the same every day!

First grain free bread!

Check out this grain free bread I made last week! It was pretty easy–all in the blender. Once I got in the middle of the loaf I was a little concerned because it was a bit mushy, but I found out by visiting the blog that there was a…

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Fairy tales

Salt of Portugal

Composit Fairy Tales

In October 1956, the Duke of Edinburgh embarked on a long tour of the Southern Hemisphere without his wife, Queen Elizabeth II. There were rumors that the couple was going to separate.

When the Duke arrived in Portugal in February 1957, the Queen flew from England to meet him. For four days the royal couple did what so many other tourists do in Portugal. They ate canned sardines, sailed on the Tagus river, toured the Jeronimos monastery,  visited Mafra and the Nazaré beach. Then, they flew back to England and lived happily ever after.

Portugal is a place where fairy tales can come true.

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Do Not Write About Your grandmother

I once attended classes to learn how to write. It was good as I recall but but if there is one thing that stuck in my mind it was her insistence that it is not a good thing to write about ones grandmother. It is a good idea not to write about her. I will leave it to all of you if you like agree or not.

My grandmother had only one child…a great sorrow for her. When I arrived to lived to her house while my dad studied to be a preacher boy. My mother was working to help my dad pay the bills. And I fell to the care if my grandmother. It a match made in Heaven. I loved her with all of my heart.

My grandmother did not just do put me in front of the TV. Our days went smoothly and peacefully. One day she talked to me about Jesus. Sometimes she took time to have a tea party on a warm day. Other times we planted flowers
Occasion we went to Jersey to visit family. It was very different and I looked all around. One thing that puzzled me greatly. Their toilet froze in the cold weather. My great grandfather always gave me a silver dollar before we left.


A white palace in Estremoz

Love this

Salt of Portugal

Composit Estremoz

Estremoz is a village in Alentejo built on a hill by king Dom Afonso III in 1258.  It was once an important citadel that guarded the Portuguese kingdom from potential aggressors.

In 1360, king Dom Dinis built a royal palace in Estremoz for his wife Isabel of Aragon. It was in this palace that king Dom Manuel appointed Vasco da Gama as the commander of the fleet that sailed to India, beginning a new chapter in world history.

The palace, converted into an historical hotel, is sumptuously decorated with antique paintings and furniture. Corridors and stairs are covered with the famous white marble excavated from local quarries.

The war trophies that hang in the dining room reminded us of the momentous decisions made in this palace. And they made us appreciate even more the tranquil days we spent with only one difficult decision to make: which of the 22 wineries in Estremoz to visit.

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