Author: Sofia Vasconcelos

Visit Funchal

40 pictures that will make you want to visit Madeira

Spend a few days, walking around this historic Island. Take your camera, visit some museums, listen to live music on the streets and have a glass of madeira wine. Listen to the sounds of the gardens: water flowing, birds singing, flowers blooming, it’s a bliss… See how the waves crash onto the the beach pebbles, hear that noise; addictive and relaxing. It covers all the noises inside your head with nothing but the perception of nature’s power – Meditate. Enjoy the sunsets, I mean, PLEASE enjoy the sunsets. Don’t stay inside when the sun sets (or rises) it would be disrespectful to yourself, to do such a thing. The sun shows are unbeatable, the colors, the clouds, the sea, the seabirds, the dolphins, they’re all frequent costumers here. Gaze at those high mountains. How can lava coming out of a vulcano turn into the greenest forests – the Laurissilva forest, since the ice age to our days. Talk about strong, lasting relationships – this one is a keeper. Meet people. People that live in a …

Two weeks in Mozambique with the SPAY SISTERS

I still find it hard to put into words how much I enjoyed my last trip to Mozambique. I will try my best. (8 min read) As some of you might know, besides being a travel blogger, I am a vet, so this trip was not the typical tourist escape… In the last two weeks, I joined the UK charity SPAY SISTERS, founded by three incredible vets including my dear friend Ella Stekly, who I met in Madeira 10 years ago. How do SPAY SISTERS work? Spay Sisters started in June 2006. The aim of this charity is to sterilise as many animals as possible throughout the world. They intend to save a few dog, and cat lives leading them to a healthier existence by the control of reproduction. Post operation the animals become calmer, fight less, get fewer diseases and naturally don’t produce vast quantities of kittens and puppies each year. A single cat or dog can be responsible for 20,000 descendants in five years – just a reminder. SPAY SISTERS original trustees are …

Mother-Daughter getaway to Lisbon

Mother-Daughter getaway to Lisbon This year for my mum’s birthday, I prepared a special gift — a getaway in Lisbon. When I was studying at Lisbon University and she came to visit me, I remember we always had such a great time together. I wanted to recreated those days again. Plus, Lisbon makes my mother happy, she has always great stories and memories about this city, specially from those days before and after the revolution 25 April 1974, when she was visiting her sister, who used to live there. “Stories…the testimony of human contact.” Whenever she speaks about Lisbon, her eyes light up, she puts a funny smile on her face and while walking those streets together, I can always imagine her like a young girl, singing Fado and wandering on the hills of Lisbon.  It is true what they say, life is made of memories. I want to share these thoughts with my mother and remember the places we were together, alive and happy. Lisbon was a gift to both of us. This is the …

From Madeira to Mars

Photo essay © André Gonçalves – Universe of Memories João Carlos Abreu

Photoessay © André Gonçalves – Universe of Memories João Carlos Abreu Located in São Pedro, in a palace from the 19th century, João Carlos Abreu’s Memories Universe is home to much of his life, through art and memories. To know more about this read this article.   The memories of this mystical and cinematographic place  brought me and André Gonçalves to a photo shoot, where André associates each image with an emotion, a past, a secret… André was born in Calheta, Madeira. He describes himself as a photo enthusiast, lunatic, eccentric, bizarre and bohemian. He likes to portray the interior of a chaotic mind, what he sees and what he does not see. He discovered the photograph at a young age but only recently began to publicize his works that can be seen in national magazines such as Zoom and international as Dark Beauty, Blur, Photoshoot and Adore Noir Magazine. He has already taken some of his works to Paris where he integrated an exhibition in the Espace des Arts sans Frontièrs. He made several …

Discovering the Universe of Memories of João Carlos Abreu

Discovering the Universe of Memories of João Carlos Abreu Life is made of memories, as evidenced by the Universe of Madeiran João Carlos Abreu. This museum is located in São Pedro, in a palace from the 19th century. It also has a beautiful garden and a friendly tea house with delicious cakes and homemade teas. It houses the memories of João Carlos Abreu, journalist, traveler, poet, writer, politician, actor, artist and also former regional director of tourism of Madeira with passage through several countries of the world. He was awarded multiple awards in the areas of tourism and culture. Events such as the Flor Festival, Wine Festival, Carnival Parade, New Year’s Festival and Atlantic Festival are part of its initiative. He has published hundreds of chronicles, two Madeira tourist guides, ten poetry books and six prose books. He is currently engaged in writing, theater, travel, painting and humanitarian causes. The variety of objects, jewels, clothing, furniture, paintings, statues and passports is breathtaking, the result of an intense, rich and challenging life, built from travel stories. …

Route of Ponchas – Part 2

Route of Ponchas – Part 2 Venda do Sócio – Tendeira – Caniço For over 50 years, this grocery store has belonged to Mrs Amara’s family. She tell us that this is a family business, which attracts lovers of bikes, sports and good ponchas. It is decorated with sports props, mainly national and international scarves and even regional clubs, like the Canicense. They offer the dish of the day and barbecues of entrecosto, chicken and beef. The tapas “dentinhos” vary:  wine and garlic pork, pasta and beans “feijoada”. The regional poncha and the fisherman’s poncha are the most popular. Snack Bar Vermelho- Nogueira – Camacha This snack bar used to belong to Mr. João Vermelho, hence the name. It was about 3 months ago that Márcia and Dionísio Teixeira acquired this establishment. They serve poncha and regional tapas. Chicken wings, stewed stews and pork ears are some of the specialties. Here you can alço attend fado performances, on one of the last Saturdays of each month. O Girinho – Caboucos – Camacha Two and a …

7 Fun New Year Superstitions in Madeira

If I was spending New Year’s Eve in Madeira for the first time, I would be very excited… Why? I can mention the award-winning firework display, the joyful locals, the beauty of Funchal’s bay, the magnificent cruise ships by the harbour, the Christmas lights, the after-parties, the music concerts and so on…but it’s something that is so unique that no words can make justice to what you experience in Madeira. You have to come and see it for yourself. To help you get prepared for this evening, I thought I’d share with you some fun superstitions about this evening. Some of them you might have heard before, others not. If you do come to Madeira on New Years, here are a couple of things you can see and try… Turn on the lights of your home and open all the windows. I remember ever since I was a little girl, my mum always had this ritual. She said it would make the bay of Funchal look even prettier and it would welcome the new year …

5 Nativity Scenes of Christmas in Madeira you’ll love…

“Nowhere in the world, perhaps, celebrate and enjoy Xmas so much, and feel for it as much enthusiasm and joy as in Madeira. These are days of lively rejoicing, of  religious and mystical contentment. ” Manuel Ribeiro I’ve just came back from Costa Brava last week and it was a great pleasure to arrive in Madeira and to feel Christmas all around. We call it “Festa” since this is “the true party” for the Madeirans. I went through the avenues of Arriaga Avenue, cheered up with the Christmas lights (which I love), listened to live music performances, went to the market to eat bread with” wine and garlic meat”, tasted liqueurs and cherry from the Nun’s Valley plus the typical sugar cane honey cake. I was well accompanied by the euphoria of Christmas, the one that we drink, eat and breath in this island…celebration is everywhere. This year, I also paid special attention to the nativity scenes or “lapinhas” “that link the religious traditions of Christmas to local life and nature”. There were 5 in total, …

Family Guide to Denmark – Legoland

We finally made it to Legoland! The excitement was in the air … After spending years playing with legos, idealizing houses, cars, people, animals, planes and imaginary worlds … we were now in Billund, where it all started in 1935. The word Lego comes from the Danish words “leg” and “godt” which means “to play well.” The concept of this toy is to combine pieces, forming different structures, stimulating concentration and creativity. It was created by a carpenter from Billund, Ole Kirk Christiansen, who created these pieces (first made of wood and later of plastic) to offer toys to his son. Europe’s leading Lego factory is located in Billund, and produces around 72 million pieces daily! Here you can also discover the amazing Legoland Hotel and Legoland Theme Park. Hotel Legoland Arriving in Hotel LEGOLAND was an amazing experience. At the reception, we were greeted by Star Wars team … This 4 star hotel has needs no introduction. It is the official Lego Brand Hotel and has a private entrance to the theme park. All the …

SKAGEN & FARUP SOMMERLAND

Family guide to Denmark: Skagen and Farup Sommerland

Family Guide to Denmark – Skagen and Farup Sommerland  – If I was you I’d be very excited to go to Skagen! – said our taxi driver as he dropped us at the Europcar car rental office.   Our family holiday in Denmark continued… After leaving Aalborg, we had great expectations about visiting the nothernmost point of Denmark – Grenen along with the seaside “city of light” – Skagen. Skagen is Denmark’s main fishing port reknowned for its beaches, painting courses and bohemian lifestyle.  It became a popular holiday destination, towards the end of the 19th century when many painters came to spend their summer in this region. They were looking for inspiration on this special retreat surrounded by beautiful seaside landscapes and the perfect sun light. There’s a beautiful legacy of art in Skagen. One of my favourite painters is Peder Severin Krøyer. We could admire some of his paintings in the Skagen Art Museum such as the famous “Summer Evening at Skagen. The Artist’s Wife and Dog by the Shore” It took us a …