Capela de São Gonçalinho in Aveiro

capela de sao goncalinho aviero picture

There is precious little information on the web about very interesting place in Aveiro, the Capela de São Gonçalinho, shown above.

aveiro chapel and statue pictureBuilt in the 18th century (the date scribed on one of the portals indicates 1714) the gleaming, white hexagonal chapel features a tiled dome and and very interesting stone work at ground level, forming a little square ringed by colorful houses. On the opposite side of the square is a recently produced statue I can’t find information on.

The chapel is named after the patron saint of Aveiro, São Gonçalinho, who is celebrated in a Festival on the second week of January in Aveiro.

If you like food in an atmosphere loaded the “good things to look at” i.e. art, then the chapel should be seen on your way to the canal-side restaurant called Salpoente. If you want to know why the Portuguese are nuts about salt cod, this is one innovative restaurant which will convince you that the locals know what they’re talking about. There are other things to eat at Salpoente, of course, just in case.

And finally, on our map we’ve marked the one Hotel to stay in while you visit Aveiro, Hotel Moliceiro. It’s right on the canal and features a great staff who’ll make your stay quite comfortable.

Map of Aveiro

Filed in: Centro, Cities

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Walking Portugal: Rota Vicentia

The Rota Vicentia is 230 kms of trail along the southwestern coast of Portugal, much of it in the Alentejo region. There are really two routes, the inland route and the fisherman’s route. The fisherman’s route is recommended as one of the Best Places to go in Spring.

Not only is the project well signposted, the there’s an excellent English page: Rota Vicentina – Two Steps to Freedom.

The trail is meant to serve the public interest, but also has a marketing angle—which means services are being added all the time to provide trekkers with creature comforts. In that way it’s like the old pilgrimage trails, which were supplied by rich folks who couldn’t get to heaven unless they did something good with their money, which usually meant adding services like hospices to the route.

That means there are plenty of things to do besides walking on your trek.

Active travelers, check this out. Portugal has some of the more innovative travel progams in Europe.

Filed in: Alentejo, Travel Tips

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Shellfish, Pata Negra Ham and Beer

I figure if you’re going to cut to the chase the things you need to live on, perhaps the three things in the title of this post would do just fine.

Recently, Joe Campanale Traveled To Portugal For Vinho Verde, Pata Negra Ham.

In Lisbon, the sommelier’s favorite was Cervejeria Ramiro. Go to the web site. Look at the pictures as they flash across your screen. Would you join him?

I would, no doubt.

Cervejeria Ramiro
Av. Almirante Reis, nº1 – H
1150-007 Lisboa
Phone Number: +351 21 885 10 24
Fax: +351 21 886 16 47

Filed in: Travel Tips, Lisbon

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The Portuguese Way With Wild Boar

Everyone seems to like Italian food. I certainly do. But the wild boar in Italy is often overshadowed by heavy sauces. I prefer the Portuguese way with the wild pig, especially how they do it in the Schist Villages at Casa do Zé Sapateiro.

Which leads me to a Portuguese culinary site in the English language, fairly rare, called “A Portuguese Dish”. I particularly like the current post, Braised wild boar with corn stew: Casa do Lago.

The dish provides yet another variation on polenta.

“In times of scarcity when there was no rice and to vary from the potatoes, the corn was coarsely ground after soaking in two different water baths it was cooked like rice. Normally to the cooking one should always add a piece of fat meat, such as belly fat. When one adds more meats or sausages to the stew, it is a main course known as Rich Corns. This corn was ground in a traditional mill, powered by water. For us it is important because we don’t want corn flour, but the right grind”.

Interesting the variations on a single ingredient, eh?

Filed in: Portuguese Cuisine, Travel Tips

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Nostalgia, a Key Travel Market for the Alentejo?

So you travel to stoke your longing for the past? Do you search out places that match your remembrance of the “good old days”?

I’ll admit it: I do sometimes. Yes, I am nostalgic over real food. I’ve sawed open too many impenetrable bags of industrial chicken only to have a rotting stench billow from the industrial plastic. I’m tired of the endless battle of trying to get enormous, dictatorial entities like Monsanto to label the Frankenfood they produce so I can avoid it. My government is complicit; they reimburse the big companies for the cost of fighting logic. It is not a fair fight; I, a people, am not offered the same generosity from “my” government.

So I go to places like the Alentejo, where a slab of meat from a black-footed pig thrown on a grill over a hardwood fire and seared into a wonderfully flavorful hunk of heaven reminds me of the distance US pork has gone to become “the other (tasteless) white meat”. If I wanted tofu, I’d order it.

In any case, the Alentejo region has looked into nostalgia and has decided to embrace the concept of “genuineness”. Aren’t you surprised that “genuine” would be something you’d lust after? I mean, usually, when we lust, it isn’t genuineness we’re after. We fantasize, don’t we? We don’t want “genuine” breasts, we want them large enough to have to look like they’d have to be carried in a big cart drawn by huge draft animals except they don’t need all that because gravity ceases to be genuine around them and holds them up like they were helium filled balloons, perfect in our mind’s eye.

But the world has turned. We—or some of us anyway—lust after real food, rough and flavorful—or fantasize about a real bar you can get a cheap and good coffee and yack with the locals and even sit down at a table without having to wait for it to be vacated by one of those all-too-common antisocial idiots wearing earbuds and pounding away on a laptop.

In any case, perhaps this nostalgia, this lust for the genuine, is catching on. There’s a site for it. It’s called Genuineland and it’s about more than the Alentejo. Take a look, it won’t kill you. Not like those industrial crap chickens I mentioned.

Filed in: Alentejo, Travel Tips

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