Every guidebook to Portugal says that the great abbey at Batalha is not to be missed, an architectural masterpiece that commemorates a military victory in 1385. That is not 100 true. Yes, the great abbey began as the fulfillment of a vow on the eve of battle, but it ended up being something totally different than was intended. Read more →

The hunt for chocolate eggs, eating “folar” and offering almonds… That’s how Portuguese enjoy Easter. And, if you travel to historic Portuguese villages you can take part in centuries-old traditions. The Enterro do Bacalhau (Cod Burying) and Queima do Judas (Burning Judas), are two of them that would make the Easter Bunny hop a bit faster. Read more →

The king D. Dinis (1261-1325) was a renaissance king long before the Renaissance. He was the first European leader to drop Latin as the language of the court in place of vernacular tongue. He empowered dozens of towns with charters, built a string of innovative castles to defend the frontiers, invested in improving agriculture, and planted a vast pine forest near the royal palace in Leiria that still stands to this day. But a great king deserves a great queen, and D. Dinis was to wed a princess from Aragon, whom he had never met. Read more →