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Sunday, February 5, 2012


Yesterday, for my birthday, I put into practice this wonderful inspiration I had: a birthday with things that reminded me of the French and English presence in Portugal during the Napoleonic wars.
It all started with me wanting to eat something that I hadn't in along time and with the fact that I wanted to go sightseeing. And as I took a closer look on what it all was, soon I decided to call it “Napoleonic”. Not that it really is (therefore the brackets) but because it reminds me of it.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

The day started with a walk through Sintra (or in English: Cintra). I love this place, it's in between a mountain range, it has loads of history and is involved in a magical setting. In this case I decide to visit the surrounding park of the Pena Palace, which I never did.
Now you ask, why Sintra?Sintra supposably was the place where the Convention held between Portugal, England and France happened in 1808. Now the interesting fact is that the name of the convention didn't came from one of the many places in Sintra where supposedly it happened but because of a letter sent by General hew Dalrymple to the British government. The London Gazette published an article in September 1808 referring that letter and since then the convention was know as the one of Cintra.
So, please, if you're googling it on the English wikipedia, don't assume the many mistakes written there as correct.

An image of the Pena palace through the trees and a bridge over a creek. Almost 3 hours visiting the Pena National Park on foot. Gorgeous!

For dinner I had a much desired “francesinha”! There's no correct way to translate it but it would be something like “little French girl”. It's a recipe from Porto (city involved in the 2nd invasion) and was invented in the 20th century. It's highly caloric but soooooooooooooooooooooo yummie! There's the link and if you want the recipe, you just let me know! I ate my “little French girl” with “pommes frites”, as it is done because of the gorgeous spicy sauce. And... fries are very French, even if invented in Belgium, aren't they?

The Francesinha, the french fries and a plate of many pretty things I've gathered on my walk to show my dogs but they couldn't have cared less. Also a hand made soap smelling like honeysuckles that I bought for myself.

To drink, pear juice. Why? Not only because I like it but also there's this lovely tale around our nation's pear, called Rocha. It is said that a French soldier left some seeds after he went back home. Actually the species comes from the late 19th century when a farmer called Rocha noticed that one of his pear trees gave a different type of fruit that was more resistant then the others.
Even so, a Portuguese juice company made a wonderful advert about it, that is posted below.


For desert I had (a) “napoleon”. No, not like that! A cake made out of puff pastry, also know as “mille-feuille” (a thousand leaves). And the name comes from the Italian town Naples and not from the French general. But still, I though ti would match up beautifully.

And accompanying it some port (to learn more please read a a previous post on the subject). Decided to spent some more and buy “Offley” in remembrance of all the foreigners who where living and working in Portugal at the turn of the century. To understand why I chose this brand you'll have to read a previous post on the Portuguese economy.

And that's all folks!


sofia said...

que dia de aniversário tão ...... inspirador!!!! muito giro o texto, Sara. beijinhos e parabéns
Ana Almeida "Tina"

Le Loup said...

Well I hope your Birthday was a good one, it certainly sounds like it.
All the best.
Regards, Keith.