Central Portugal – Off the Tourist Trail


Picture My week …. Rain , wind and fallen trees

The weather has been really horrible all week.
I ventured out of the village a few times earlier on this week for my language class and to have dinner with friends, but have stayed close to home after finding myself unable to drive down the lane to my village in the early hours of Wednesday morning !High winds had blown half a dozen trees across the road.
Two wonderful firemen came and cleared them away, however by the next day there were more trees,and so I have been ” confined to barracks ” for the rest of the week .


Picture My Week – Portuguese Classes & Polymer clay


This gallery contains 15 photos




Although Gois is my closest village and where I go for essentials, The larger town of Lousa is only 14 kms away, and  is somewhere I visit at least once a week.

(Lousa is actually written with a ~  symbol over  the a but unfortunately i can’t manage to get my keyboard  to type it )

Lousa has 4 large supermarkets and a good range of other shops and so I tend to do my weekly shopping there.

There is a food market on Tuesdays and Saturdays in the centre of Lousa , where fresh locally grown fruit and veg are for sale, as well as other bits and pieces.

It is  nice to wander around the older part of town, near to the library , town hall and church.There are some lovely old buildings and lots of places to sit and people watch, as well as a good variety of cafes and bars.

A few other things to do in the area.

Just a few kilometres from Lousa at the foot of the Serra de Lousa ( a range of hills)  is the small castle of Arouce. It is in a lovely pictureque valley with three shrines and  a restaurant nearby. If you wish to see in the castle you need permission from the town hall, but it is still worth a stop off and a wander around, without seeing inside.

If you continue past the castle on the road to Castanheira de Pera you will come to Trevim which is the highest point of the Serra de Lousa, 1,204 metres above sea level. From here you have amazing views, as well as being up close to the many windmills that you usually only see from a far. It is a great place to visit on a clear day, and there are plenty of places to stop for a picnic, if like me you’re picnic crazy !

Go for a swim . Either at the municipal swimming pool, which is open all year, or to the outdoor pool/ fluvial beach in July and August.

Visit the flea/market  car boot  on the last Sunday of the month. It is held near the church in the old part of Lousa.

Visit the  Eco museum in Lousa.

Go toLousa cinema . Movies are shown  most Sundays,( although at the moment there are a series of music concerts on instead, and so it is best to check the Lousa web site )


I am sure there are lots more things to discover in Lousa,these are just a few ideas.

You can also check out if there are any fairs, concerts, or other events on by visiting the Lousa website www.cm-lousa.pt







Markets – Arganil

I always enjoy a good mooch around a market, and it seems so do the Portuguese . Most villages and towns have a market  one day a week, and bigger towns several times a week. These are the general markets, selling  fruit, veg, meats ,cheeses ,plants, tools, shoes , clothes etc .

On the increase also are a number of second hand/ antique markets or car-boots/craft markets . These are generally held once a month on either a Saturday or Sunday.

One of the biggest general markets in the area is in Arganil. It takes place every Thursday on the small streets at the top of town. Starting  around 8.30 am it goes on until around 1 pm . There is a small car park at the start of the market , but it gets very congested , and for ease it is better to park in the large free car park down the hill near to the supermarket Mini Preco, which is only a  5 minute walk away .

The first time I went to Arganil, I was surprised at the variety of things on offer. If you need something,it is likely you can find it at Arganil market. If they don’t have it, then I get the feeling if you ask, they will have it the following week !

The market has a lively atmosphere, and the traders are happy to enter into market banter, whatever your nationality. Some stalls have items with a marked up price whilst others are open to negotiation. It never does any harm to try and get a better deal, after all that’s what markets are all about, and the worst that can happen is they won’t drop the price.

There are stalls selling clothes, underwear, shoes, bedding, towels, curtains, music, wicker baskets, kitchen utensils ,furniture, plants, flowers, handtools,  and loads more .There is even a man  who sharpens knives and scissors . As I said, a good variety of stalls.

In one area there are hens, chickens, ducks and sometimes rabbits for sale . Animal lovers might find it a bit distressing to see so many birds packed into cages and boxes, but it is the way of life here .The birds look in good health, and it always one of the most busy stalls.

One of my favourite stalls is the tool man. It is like an old fashioned ironmongers, selling rakes ,hoes, chisels ,knives, axes,  fire companion sets, etc. ( made by the man himself )  as well as some strange looking tanks and apparatus that are apparently for making wine, or distilling the spirit Aguadente. It is an amazing stall and seems to stock every hand tool imaginable. I love trying to work out what the various implements are for, as I try and pick up a few new Portuguese words.

The fruit and veg stalls , along with the other food stalls , selling cooked meats cheese, salt cod, sausages , bread and cakes are found together in an indoor market. There are also a few tables and chairs outside and it’s possible to get a drink and a snack, if you want a break .

If you fancy a nice cold beer or a small glass of port , then head for one of the small bars at the edge of the market ( near the top car park). Or once you have finished at the market head down the hill into town where you can get some  lunch or a coffee and cake from one of the many cafes or bakeries.

There are some nice little shops in  Arganil town centre to wander around, as well as banks pharmacies and the post office . Just remember that apart from the cafes, most shops close around 12.30/1300 until 14.00/ 1500.

Happy bartering !!!