Those Bumpy, Tumbly, Cobbly Cobblestones

Those Bumpy, Tumbly, Cobbly Cobblestones

If the shoe fits (into the cobblestones) wear it.

Women do it in Italy, in France, in Canada and in the USA. In fact, I saw them do it in Portugal last summer. They do it all over the world. Yep. Women walk in high heels on cobblestones.

My good friend, Gigi, grew up in Portugal, and her Mama and family are still there. So I asked what it was in her feet that kept her from twisting her ankles when I, even wearing sneakers, couldn’t keep my ankles from turning and bending to the bumps and lumps of the cobblestone streets.

Gigi’s said, “All the streets are paved this way, I don’t even think about can I or can’t I.” I even watched her run on those historic cobbled hills. The whole situation seemed odd to me, but she took it in stride, her heels never once caused her a tumble on the cobbles or in the spaces between.

London Cab 1823

You probably know that cobblestones replaced the dirt and muddy streets here in the U.S. in the 19th century. The idea was for the horses to get a good hoof hold.

Later, at the beginning of the 20th century, asphalt became the norm. In the East where the fluctuating temperatures cause freezing and thawing, the roads develop unbearable pot holes, upkeep is messy and expensive.

Boston has the top spot in cobblestones on Acorn Street, measured in terms of cattle—in this case, two cows wide—this is paved with true, ankle-breaker cobblestones and lined with vintage red brick row houses. The beacon Hill neighborhood in general is known for its well-preserved architecture and romantic gaslit streets, the most expensive and desirable area in Beantown.

But cobblestone streets were not meant for cars and trucks. Yet some of our big cities still sport those cobbles, they add a charm.

Should we repave with those stones and bring back the horse?

For more history about these stones:
For 10 most adorable cobblestone streets in the U.S. take a look:

If you are curious about the name Beantown—Boston’s Beantown earned its name from molasses, rum and baked beans.
Here’s a link:

Gail Ingis is an author, artist, and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in summer 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

A work of art


The Love Boat meets Disney Magic

The Love Boat meets Disney Magic

Pluto greeting on Disney Magic

Minnie and the Chipmunks

Remember The Love Boat – the popular TV show from the 1980s? Well, I fell in love with cruising from watching that show. Several years back, I took a weekend  cruise to nowhere from a local marina in New Jersey. it was a great way to get my feet wet, pardon the pun. And did I have fun! Since then, Tom and I were on one other cruise to New Brunswick, Canada, until recently. A few weeks ago we took a cruise on the Disney Magic (with the official Disney cruise line) from Spain to New York. Yup, we crossed the Atlantic Ocean on a dream boat! Taking a cruise is like being in a mobile country whose economy is dedicated to enjoyment. With a wide range of entertainment, kids’ clubs, spacious staterooms and more, the Disney Cruise Line is a wonderful way for families to spend time together . . . and a little time apart. There are plenty of adults-only spaces as well. Broadway style shows, dancing, the latest movies, fitness center, personal trainer, spa and lots and lots and lots of food.

First sunrise on Disney Magic, what a greeting!

Me in the porthole

Ya gotta love Disney with all the fun characters wandering around. You never know when Pluto or Mickey will show up! A big bonus for us is that the entire ship was SMOKE FREE, except for one small deck that’s hidden away. And if you think it’s boring being “cooped up” on a boat for two weeks – think again. We were busy all the time. We actually had to MAKE time to swim and relax. I even managed to carve out some time to work on my next book, The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin. Disney is now our fav. Cruising is a great way to spend your vacation.

Nightly monkey made from towels

Between the rock, almost blown away, son Paul Ingis!

Holding on for dear life, me and Tom. It was a mite windy

Sailing into the sunset-through the Straits of Gibraltar

This ship did make some stops. One in Cadiz, another in Lisbon where we took a side trip to beautiful Sintra and charming Cascais, then a stop in the Azores, where my son  Paul and our daughter-in-law Joanne hailed a taxi and took a side adventure. Our final stop was supposed to be St. John’s in Newfoundland, but the Captain decided to head home early to New York, because of concerns about the Hurricane Maria at the time. We hope to visit Newfoundland in the future, since we’ve heard and read such beautiful things about Canada’s east coast.

One of my favorite and most exhilarating moments on board Disney Magic was having my Tom’s arms around me, and my arms wrapped around him, holding tight, up on the top deck, in a fifty-mile-an-hour wind, going through the Straits of Gibraltar at sunset. Behold nature’s beauty.

The fitness center and especially the personal trainers (we got to know a wonderful trainer named Olivia), were tops, as were the people in the spa. Laurabeth Fitzpatrick, an esthetician, was fun to talk with. I didn’t get a facial, but enjoyed discussing skin care and explained BeautyCounter‘s philosophy. (That’s the product line I use and it’s clean and free from more than 1,400 horrible chemicals.) Lots of people took advantage of the convenience of the spa, they offered a full range of face and body care, including a sauna and a beauty salon. I didn’t do any of that, but I did take advantage of the fitness center. Imagine exercising in an all glass facility overlooking the Atlantic ocean. Gorgeous! Talk about a view!

NY Sunset

Our dining room hosts and servers rotated with us for a different dining room experience each night. Animation Palette, Luminaries, and Carioca’s dining rooms and the buffet dining room, Cabana’s. The last night we dined in their famous upscale Palo dining room on the 10th deck, while we were docked in NY. So we got to see the gorgeous New York sunset and we can say we had a great Italian meal in an excellent restaurant on the Hudson River.

That’s us in Luminaires DR






Most important crew members. Lucio & Carolina, our excellent servers.

Cascais, Portugal

Sintra, Portugal

Paul&Joanne in Animation Palette


Mickey pop, our fav dessert

Time to go home, on our way to debark




Indigo Sky for the reader who enjoys historical romance! @AmazonKindle Indigo Sky available on Amazon buy link:
Author page:



Alfama, Portugal is Lisbon's oldest district made famous for it's tight winding corridors and for having been one of the few neighborhoods to survive the devastating earthquake of 1755. Photo by Laura Pastores from Westminster College. - See more at:

Alfama, Portugal  Lisbon’s oldest district made famous for it’s tight winding corridors and for having been one of the few neighborhoods to survive the devastating earthquake of 1755. Photo by Laura Pastores from Westminster College.








Spain and Portugal . . . according to history, the two countries intermarried, so when Isabella pawned her jewels to raise funds for discoveries of new lands, it brought them great wealth. Portuguese Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope to India and brought untold wealth to his nation.

Statue in Seville, Spain near the city's main cathedral. Photo by Aylin Ozyigit from Pennsylvania State University. - See more at:

Statue in Seville, Spain near the city’s main cathedral. Photo by Aylin Ozyigit from Pennsylvania State University. – See more at:

In the latter years of the 15th century, the Portuguese, by an astounding expansion of their shipping, obtained their Indian, African, Chinese, and Brazilian colonies, and discovered the Azores. Portugal became one of the great empires of the world. Within the next century the Spanish conquistadors, Cortez and Pizarro, conquered Mexico and Peru, and for a century, Spanish galleons returned to Cadiz loaded with quantities of silver and gold. The ships that sailed under the Portuguese banner returned to Lisbon with the spices, silks, porcelains, and other products of both the East and the West of Europe. You see, Portugal was at intervals under the Crown of Spain but this arrangement was never acceptable to her people. She finally regained her independence and her former empire in 1665, but her people are of the same racial and cultural origins as those of Spain; her language is easily understood by the Spaniard and differs less than Catalan and Basque from the best Castilian.

Iberian Chair

Iberian Chair heavily carved in the stretchers and back splats.


I found the furnishings and the decorative arts of Spain and Portugal to be closely parallel. Although it does seem that the Spanish have somewhat more delicacy in their furnishings. Spain and Portugal were separated from the rest of Europe by the Pyrenees, so influence was predominantly North African, or Moorish. Both countries also had strong economic and political ties with the East, Oriental and Indian influences can be seen in Iberian furniture.





Spanish Vargueno

Spanish Vargueno closed

A fall-front desk of the 16th, 17th, and early 18th centuries, having the form of a chest upon a small table.

The Spanish nobility led a relatively nomadic existence, so furniture had to be portable. Most furniture

Vargueno open

Vargueno open

was made of local walnut. Cabinets, or varguenos, had handles on the sides so that they could be lifted on or off stands. During the 16th century varguenos had been luxury items, but they became more common during the 17th century.

My interior design career took me all over the world. This gave me the opportunity to see and touch furnishings and the decorative arts of the early centuries. The Metropolitan Museum is a close second to my travels, where I brought friends and clients to experience antiquity, where you can see, but don’t touch. The Hispanic Museum in New York is another  learning place for antiquity. It’s where I first found a cabinet with secret compartments that I thought I originated. But, no, this clever cabinet idea was designed in the 12th century.   Building storage into a wall, or between two lally columns, and hiding the doors in some tricky, clever way. You’ve seen concealed places in the movies, even a secret room behind the library shelves. Doesn’t Harry Potter stories have secret places like these?

My artist friends who are going to Toledo, Spain with the great artist and workshop instructor, David Dunlop, will be hosted by the local El Greco museum. They are in for a treat, surrounded by antiquity. Opened in 1911, the museum is located in Toledo’s Jewish Quarter. It consists of two buildings: a 16th-century house with a courtyard, and an extension dating from the early 20th century. The two share a garden. The museum houses numerous works by El Greco, especially from this brilliant painter’s last period, as well as canvases by other 17th century Spanish painters, furniture from the same era and pottery from Talavera de la Reina.

Any questions? Ask away . . .



Wrigley Estate In Phoenix, Arizona. In Arizona, it’s all about the mountains.

Wrigley was famous for giving us the tantalizing chewing gum. He gave us culture and influenced the character of Phoenix, Arizona with his presence and architecture.

Wriggley rooftops. Arizona rooftops look like Portugal rooftops.

The Wrigley Mansion was built by chewing gum magnate, William Wrigley, Jr., as a 50th wedding anniversary gift for his wife Ada. They named it “La Colina Solana,” meaning the sunny hill. After enjoying his new home only a few times, Wrigley fell ill and died there.

The custom, in the late 19th and early 20th century, for the big money men, were to build small country homes, this one 16,850 square feet. Check out the number of rooms.

The Wrigley’s winter cottage was the smallest Wrigley house, covering 16,850 square feet, with 24 rooms and 17 bathrooms.

After Wrigley’s death, the house passed through several owners, serving for a time as extra space for the Arizona Biltmore and then as an exclusive, private club. Eventually, local millionaire George Hormel bought the house. An egalitarian sort, Hormel wanted everyone to be able to enjoy it. The Wrigley Mansion is required to operate as a private club because of zoning restrictions, but to allow everyone to enjoy it, he set the annual dues at only ten dollars, which are donated to local charities. The dues can be paid in advance or at the door.

The Wrigley Mansion is located on a hill just above the Arizona Biltmore, and they offer tours twice a day. Reservations must be made at least 24 hours in advance for all tours.

Today, the Wrigley Mansion is used mostly for events and weddings, but they also serve dinner on weekends and Sunday brunch, and the bar is open on Friday and Saturday evenings. We recommend getting there shortly before sunset and snagging a table on the balcony for some of the best views in the city.

Other Wrigley Houses

Wrigley also owned houses in other places. His primary residence in Chicago is used mostly for filming these days and his Pasadena house (bought so his wife Ada could watch the Rose Parade in comfort) is now the headquarters of the Tournament of Roses. His Catalina Island house operates as a high-end bed and breakfast called the Inn on Mt. Ada. His fourth home was in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

Getting to the Wrigley Mansion

Wrigley Mansion
2501 East Telawa Trail
Phoenix, AZ

Ninety-three degrees and no humidity. Great for swimming and suntanning.

Last week, we were in Phoenix. We are treated with a visit to Phoenix, now and then, to visit our children. The weather was gorgeous, everyday. We swam. Our grandkids prompted and pushed us on the water slide. Unexpected fun.

Early evening sunset in Arizona.

Evenings with family.

From New England to the Southwest. Would you go in the winter, spring, summer or fall? What’s your guess? If you had a choice, would you choose the southwest or the southeast?

Wrigley Mansion info from



The1950’s teens circle of friends hanging out in the cafe in a town near Sao, Martinho, Portugal. Gigi’s the pretty one in the top row. We found the picture on the wall when we made a snack stop with Gigi. She had some great stories to tell.

Portugal without cafes would not be Portugal. When I think of a cafe, I think coffee, but in Portugal you can have a myriad of drinks, not all made with coffee. You can have sandwichs or one (or more) of their fantastic pastries. My favorite, and I believe, from my observations, everyone’s favorite, is the custard tart. In Portugal the cafe is a lifestyle, a fashion, a hangout. When we were perusing Obidos, the cafes on the street were giving out samples of chocolate cups filled with Port, a sweet, popular liquor. Ummm, delicious, and surprising eleven in the morning.

This one is in Gigi’s town, Sao Martinho. When we got to the beach, we found her cousin sitting here. We sat down and chatted like no years had passed. Of course we ordered espresso and small sandwiches.


For coffee, a refreshing drink, or a light meal

Most Europeans love coffee and cakes, but the Portuguese are the ones who officially spend the most time and money in cafes according to a study.

In Lisbon (and all of Portugal), the coffeehouse is an institution. It has been so since the turn of the century when many were the favorite haunts of literary figures. Several hold on to that historical past with their wonderful Art Deco decoration and have become popular tourist attractions.
Every café or traditional pastelaria (pastry shop) serves croissants and pasteis de nata (custard tarts) which is the most popular Portuguese pastry. Many also serve light meals along with the popular strong bica (espresso) or milky galão (latte).

But if you also want to enjoy the outdoors as you drink, you’ll find an esplanada (pavement cafe) in practically every main street or avenue, and there is usually a kiosk café standing by the several hilltop miradouros (viewpoints) — the one by Miradouro da Graça is a good choice for a drink at sunset.

Below is a list with some of the best cafes in the city. We’ve highlighted a few worth going out of your way to visit.


A Margem Cafe


Doca do Bom Sucesso, Belem
This riverfront glass box between the Discoveries Monument and Belem Tower was designed by three architects and is a great place to have a light meal, freshly squeezed juice, salad, or sandwich at the tables outside as you gaze at the Tagus River.


Rua de Belem, 84-92, Belém, Phone: 21 363 7423

If you visit only one cafe in Lisbon, this should be it.
It serves an average 10,000 Pasteis de Belem (custard tarts) a day (the record is a staggering 55,000), a specialty made with a secret centuries-old recipe. You can have them inside the large rooms covered with 17th-century tiles, or use the take-away service that provides special paper tubes holding half a dozen.


Rua Garrett, 104, Chiado, Phone: 21 347 3133
Located next to the famous Brasileira (see below), this is another historic cafe, in business since 1912. It serves the most mouth-watering freshly baked croissants in the city with jam or chocolate, which you can savor as you watch the streetlife of Chiado at a table outside.

Cafe Brasileira


Rua Garrett, 120, Chiado, Phone: 21 346 9541
This is the city’s most famous cafe, opened in 1905 with a magnificent art nouveau decor and known for the intellectuals who stopped by on a daily basis in the early 20th century. One of them was poet Fernando Pessoa, whose bronze statue (perhaps the most photographed in the country) stands amid the clientele of both young and old.


Comercio Square, Downtown, Phone: 21 887 9259
Located under the colonnades of Comercio Square, this is the oldest cafe in Lisbon, opened in 1782. It recalls the days when it was a favorite haunt of Fernando Pessoa whose image is painted on the wall. It also has an adjoining restaurant.

Cafe Nicola


Rossio Square, Downtown, Phone: 21 346 0579
Nicola was another of Lisbon’s literary and political meeting points when it opened in 1929. It maintains part of its past in its art deco façade, but nowadays serves mostly as a tourist stop. A branch round the back called Nicola Gourmet sells 25 varieties of coffee beans by the bag.


Rua do Picadeiro, 11-12, Chiado, Phone: 21 346 0501
Located on a calm street of bustling Chiado next to São Carlos Theater, this café is also a restaurant serving Portuguese cuisine, salads, quiches, and sandwiches (along with some great desserts), attracting local workers, young intellectuals and media types. It offers outdoor seating in the cobbled esplanade and an impressive range of Portuguese and foreign newspapers.


Avenida da Republica, 15a, Uptown, Phone: 21 354 6340
It is worth getting on the metro to the business district of Saldanha to visit this turn-of-the-century cafe and have a sweet pastry, hot chocolate, or coffee in its baroque interior. Crystal chandeliers, carved wooden panels, engraved mirrors, and stained glass decorate this grand space that is still relatively tourist-free unlike the other historic cafes in the city due to its uptown location.
Many locals consider it to have the best pastries in Lisbon.


Figueira Square, Downtown, Phone: 21 342 4470
When it opened in 1829 this pastry shop was considered one of the most elegant in Europe. It has a bright mirrored interior with shiny marble counters, and remains a wonderful place for some glazed pastries. It is mostly famous for its Christmas time Bolo Rei, a traditional cake first introduced by the French.

Cultura do Cha


Rua das Salgadeiras, 38, Bairro Alto, Phone: 21 343 0272
Tea lovers will be in heaven at this cafe with a two-page menu of all kinds of herbal varieties from all over the world. There are also various kinds of hot chocolate, shakes, and coffee. It has a sophisticated decor in a softly lit interior. It also serves some light snacks such as salads, quiches, and croissants, along with homemade cakes and pastries.


( Avenida Infante Dom Henrique, Armazem B, store 8, Doca do Jardim do Tabaco, Alfama
Upon entering, you’ll find a gourmet shop. A cafe is behind those aisles of shelves with fine Portuguese and international products, and outside the window are tables on an outdoor terrace facing the river.
This has become THE place in Lisbon for a weekend brunch.


Rua Garrett, 19, Chiado
Hidden in a courtyard in Chiado, this is nonetheless one of the most popular cafés in the city. You’ll see why as soon as you enter, with its wonderful mix of old furishings and list of reasonably-priced light meals. The atmosphere is young and laid-back.


Rua da Trindade, 7, Chiado
Great organic wholewheat crepes are served at this café which also doubles as a gallery with artwork on the walls.


Rua Anchieta, 3, Chiado
Located just steps from Sao Carlos Theater, this Austrian-owned and Austrian-flavored cafe also serves light lunches and dinners. It stays open until midnight, while on Friday and Saturday nights it extends until 2AM. On Sunday mornings it’s a good option for brunch. Naturally, the menu lists Austrian dishes, with daily specials highlighted in chalk separately, on the cabinet behind the counter.


Rua de Belem 15-17, Belém, Phone: 21 363 4338
This cafe in the historical Belém district has a curious specialty – a sweet pastry made with beer. It originated in the 1920s, and although not as legendary as the Pasteis de Belem further down the street (see Antiga Confeitaria de Belem above), it has remained popular through the decades. If you’re curious to try it, be prepared to feel more the taste of the almond paste than beer. It may not be the most mouth-watering of pastries, but it’s definitely something different to try.


Rossio Square, Downtown, Phone: 21 321 4090
This is one of the city’s historic cafes, although you wouldn’t be able to tell from the renovated, modernist interior and pre-pay system. It now serves mostly as a tourist cafe with tables on the pavement of both Rossio and Figueira Square behind it but remains a good option for breakfast.


Praça das Flores, 27-28, Principe Real, Phone: 21 397 2220
This friendly cafe with outdoor seating is one of the most peaceful in the city, located in a lovely square in the Principe Real district. It is named after the cinnamon stick that is used by locals to sweeten coffee although it also serves snacks such as quiches and cakes, attracting a middle-class crowd.

Pois Cafe


( Rua Sao Joao da Praça, 93, Alfama
Mismatched old furniture and a wide selection of international newspapers, magazines, and books invite you to lounge before or after a visit to one of Alfama’s viewpoints or the castle. Looking very much like a living room, this is a cozy place for brunch (it opens at 11 in the morning) or for a light meal. The salads and sandwiches are excellent, the cakes delicious, and the lemonade a must.
It is owned by a couple of Austrians, so expect to find several Vienna-inspired dishes on the menu.


Rua da Escola Politecnica, 32, Principe Real
Perhaps the most immediately-mouth-watering pastries are on display at this French-style café which has an elegant interior but an even more inviting backyard with tables facing the city’s botanical garden.


Miradouro das Portas do Sol, Alfama
Found on the rooftop of one of Lisbon’s most stunning viewpoints, this terrace café makes you feel like you’re at a resort, especially when loungy music is playing and the sun is shining. There is also an interior dining area but you’ll surely sit outside admiring the views and enjoying a refreshing drink.

Royale Cafe


( Largo Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro, 29 Chiado
A modern cafe in a simple yet refined space that includes an inviting courtyard. It has a laid-back atmosphere and serves organic light meals.
The “royale chocolate” or muffin covered in dripping chocolate (to which may also be added a scoop of ice cream) is already legendary among frequent customers.


Rua do Carmo, 9, Chiado
Ask anyone where is the best ice cream in town and they’ll tell you it’s here. You be the judge as you try the variety of flavors available. Be prepared to stand in line at any time of the day — it’s that popular.


Rua Serpa Pinto, 15, Chiado
This café is one of the few in Lisbon serving pancakes, however the specialty is Portuguese pastries, including its own original eggy “Chiado” cake. Bread is also sold to go at the counter by the entrance while the spacious dining area is found upstairs.


Rua do Norte, 31-33, Bairro Alto
This is the place for cupcakes in Lisbon. It’s found on one of Bairro Alto’s trendiest streets and you may accompany the cakes with a variety of teas and juices in the small-but-attractive space.


Rua Costa do Castelo 26-26a, Castelo/Alfama
Lights meals and fresh drinks or tea are served in a space that could also double as an art gallery. Admire the artwork behind glass cases, and the view over Lisbon as soon as you step outside.


Travessa do Carmo, 4, Chiado
Decorated with mirrors and stained wood, this cafe may have a certain old-style feel, but the crowd is young and relaxed and it serves light (many vegetarian) meals as well as teas. It is a great place to meet friends before going out at night for dinner or drinks in Bairro Alto.

Lisbon cafes are from

My friends even did some business in a cafe, with us sitting with them, while we all enjoyed espresso. The cafe is a great place to bring together circles of friends, chitchat, happy days. It is a way of life. We enjoy our coffee shops here, wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a Cafe Culture? What do you think?



Oops! Latest in clothes dryers right in the middle of Lisbon, with a beautiful backdrop facade of azulejos. The azulejo (tile) is the most typical and widely used form of decoration in Portugal since the middle ages.

Lisbon, the capital and largest city of Portugal is one of the oldest cities in the world, according to Wikipedia.

The Rossio central square

We saved running around the city until our last day. Mistake. Who could have predicted that my stomach would bubble and gurgle? There are pills for that condition. I took a couple and by the time Lili picked us up, I was able to take the tour sitting down.

Lisbon trolley car

Lili and Gigi are  family, she is Gigi’s sister and she babysat my kids ions ago in New Jersey. She drove the city. Here’s what we saw.

Who remembers trolley cars? They were in Brooklyn, (I rode those), New York City, Philadelphia,  and other American cities. There they were, moving about on the rails, filled with people.

Amoreiras Shopping Center

A typical city with people shopping, talking, walking, lovers everywhere hand-in-hand, and the scents, the wonderful scents and aromas of a busy city, the sweet-sticky-scents of bakeries and cafes ricocheted in the air.

Lisbon has some of the largest shopping malls in Europe. Armazens do Chiado is the most central, Colombo is the largest, and Amoreiras is the oldest, updated to post-modern. They all house well-known international retailers such as Zara and fast food restaurants such as, yes, McDonald’s. They’re ideal for some shopping on a rainy day in the city. It broke my heart, we did not have time to shop. I made up for it in the airport. Well, sort of. The airport shops cannot replace shopping in Lisbon.

Castle of São Jorge

Lili took us to the top of the city where we could see the Castle of São Jorge, the highest point of the city. This place reminded me of a waterfront park in San Francisco, where you find the young people playing instruments, singing, resting, lovers and the interested.

Top of the city. Lili and Gail on the right.


On the morning of our departure, I took photos from our Marriott Hotel and got a foggy shot of the famous aquaduct. An obvious nod to the ancient Roman influence in Portugal, this massive 18th century aquaduct once delivered water to the entire city from the Mãe d’Água reservoir. Covering a span of some 18 km, about 11 miles, the aquaduct is no longer in use but still serves as an iconic feat of Portuguese engineering on display in the city.

According to the Tenth addition, AAA Europe Travel Book,In an early 19th century dispatch, the Duke of Wellington said “There is something very extraordinary in the nature of the people of the Peninsula, The most loyal and best-disposed . . .” It has not changed.

Donna Emilia (Gigi and Lili’s mother) We were her guests in Sao Martinho.

The heart of Portugal is the people. They are warm, friendly and accommodating. Here’s one of the best, the mother of our hosts.

Red sunshades of cafes in Ribeira Square, Porto

Do you like wine, do you like coffee? Those are serious beverages in Portugal. Next week, cafe’s of Portugal.



Praia (beach) shell-shaped bay in Sao Martinho do Porto, the town my friends reside.

Sit under the blue skies with the warm white sand under your feet. The sands of Sao Martinho do Porto, the perfect place for peace and harmony.

Sure way to get a tan!

This coastline town is where my longtime Portuguese friends of forty-five years happen to spend their summers  with their family. My last visit in 1988 was to do design work with Gigi on her new apartment.

Tall buildings are the apartments.  In 1988 there was only one tower.

This visit, my third, I finally got to see the finished product.

Left to right: Lili, Gail, Gigi on the balcony of Gigi’s apartment overlooking the Bay.

Tents, blue and white striped, all connected.

This also was a chance to hug the family, and speak a little Portuguese. (Eu falar um pouco). Whenever I see Gigi’s mom, her sisters and cousins, I learn more. I like to speak the language. It is phonetic, and you really have to roll the “r”.

From the balcony you can enjoy the vista.

Blue and white tents on the beach with beach houses in the cliffs

Once a sleepy fishing village, Sao Martinho is now a favorite summer resort of the Portuguese and the bay is surely one of the most beautiful in Portugal.

Tents in red, orange and purple. The more traditional are the blue and white. But these are colorful on the beach. Gigi says, where you see the tents, you do not see umbrellas. They have separate sections. 24×30 oil on linen

The origins of the village date back to 1257. It was later famous for its ship building activities in the 16th Century during the times of the Great Portuguese navigators, but the real heyday of the village, as a resort, was during the fifty year span of 1880-1930.

Rooftops in Sao Martinho

Nestling between the modern buildings on the seafront there are still some of the original villas.

On the road out of Sao Martinho and near the Post Office stands the splendid old

Hotel Parque

Hotel Parque, now closed. It was also once a family home. In 1988 I had a room at the hotel. It was wonderful. There were two tennis courts. The clay is long gone, only to see the grown grasses bending in the breezes. The bar, once a popular gathering place in town, is disguised by overgrown foliage and trees.

Cafe’s everywhere, in yellow, in red, in many colors, between the cliffs and the sands.

Not far from here is a busy

Vegetable and fruit market in town center S.Martinho

little fruit and vegetable market and there are always restaurants, bars and cafes to be found.

Grilled sardines, a popular fair in Portugal. Gigi showed us how to skin and debone. it is tricky, but worth it. Fresh sardines, tastes like, well,  chicken, it’s delicious, especially if you like chicken. The guys are the three brother-in-laws.

Sundown in S. Martinho

Beach walkers at sundown S. Martinho


There is still so much more to talk about. I will, next week. Will you come with me? Have you guessed what makes the magic in Portugal? Tell me what you think.

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