How was your Easter break? Hope it was great!
Mine was fabulosa! Simply because I got to spend it at my home sweet home, in Portugal. :)
So I flew back home for a week for a well deserved break with my dear ones. Cannot believe how time flies over there, especially spending every single day out and about, it felt like I wasn’t gone for long…
But as they say “good things must come to an end” so has my short break. Meh! But oh how I enjoyed it!
Most of my spending money has gone to food. Portuguese food is another level of delicious! Especially on festive seasons such as Christmas or Easter. Due to religious beliefs as being a very Catholic country, Portuguese families go through what we call the Quaresma em Jejum (40 days of Lent Period) when it lasts for the whole 40 days commencing on Wednesday Ash Day and ending on Easter day when Christians remember the death of Jesus Christ.
I’m not going into much details so I’m just going to highlight the basics. During this time, food consumption is reduced to smaller portions or even having their meals cut to once a day (usually for the evening meal) in order to repent and focus on praying and meditating Jesus’ last journey in the desert where he went through the Devil’s temptation up until his death.
There’s a tendency to avoid the consumption of meat and vegetables on Portuguese tables which is considered to be a luxurious treat. Instead, only fish, bread and water are allowed during the Lent period. Reason being that this is the period when Christians live in a more humble lifestyle, in penitence of one’s own faults and sins.
At our home, it is more simple and not as hard since my mum is a strict vegetarian anyway and she often frowns upon seeing either meat or fish in her fridge. We then stick to our vegetarian regime and only I and the auntie and uncle who are staying at ours would eat fish, but only once a day. I (sort of) started my own Lent regime in the UK (with many failed days of eating more than I should) and then carried on when I arrived in Portugal on Good Friday, only that that time I followed my mum’s regime instead.
As the Lent period finished on Easter Day, you can just imagine what I ate from then on… I dived in all the goodies I could find – Bitoque, Bacalhau no Forno, Peixe Espada Grelhado, Feijoada, Carapau Grelhado, Bolo de Arroz, etc etc.
I know, I know, I am now paying for my own greed by being extra careful with what I eat now and going 4 x a week to the gym. Everything was so worthwhile though that I am actually still feeling mellow for being back to the UK.
Every time I go to Portugal, I feel like I’m a different person – I’m more relaxed, easy going and errrm slow? Let me explain – life here in the UK it’s a bit rushed, well maybe except for the weekends. But even now, I feel like I always have things to do during weekends. Not in Portugal, where I take my own time to get to places, do my things. Maybe it’s a Portuguese thing?
I feel as if there’s a whole different aura surrounding me, the environment is definitely different from what I am used to here in UK. Even the people, the way they lead their lives, it’s very laid back.
While being there, I enjoy my “loner time” too - time when I just stop to take everything in and just appreciate being home. Now, whenever I go back I definitely don’t take it for granted! I would spare a few hours when I’d go off on my own with the car and just relax by the beach or places where I grew up in, just reminiscing everything.
Another new thing I got to try was to add different fruits to my morning smoothies. Though I’m not a big fan of any tropical fruits, my mum managed to convince me to add papaya onto my smoothie. It didn’t taste bad but unfortunately I won’t be able to do it as often here in the UK as we seldom have fresh and organic papaya or many other tropical fruits in our supermarkets. Could try in our local markets though, fingers crossed I’ll be able to find something.
As many are aware, avocados are not my favourite fruit either however I’m aware of its nutritional content so I’ve made it as my must have ingredient in my smoothie. Thankfully, we have an avocado tree along with orange and lemon trees in our backyard. This enables me to save some extra money on buying fruits.
Since young, I’ve always loved climbing trees and still do! Modesty aside, I am very good at it. Hihi! So, every morning I’d climb the tree and pick an avocado and an orange for my smoothie. Not that it even needs climbing as it’s not very high anyway, but just for the sake of the old times, I’d do it! ;) In terms of taste, I found a significant difference between the taste of the avocado from the supermarket (where I usually buy here) and freshly picked from the tree.
They definitely taste much better than the ones bought in the supermarkets and you can tell they are naturally produced as well. Our oranges are smaller and more sour than the ones found in the supermarkets where we can often find them bigger, bright in orange colour and very sweet. Might be due to not being completely ripe yet but mum says that tree of ours does not produce sweet oranges anyway. Nonetheless, they are still natural! ;)
I then just add other fruits/veggies bought by my mum such as mango, apple, papaya spinach and cucumber.
After that I always spent the day out and about. Whether locally, by the beach or meeting and catching up with friends or just exploring the beautiful Lisbon city and Sintra. I’ve been a few nights out as well in Bairro Alto, Lisbon, a very popular place to go out at night and Marina de Cascais, popular among the people who live across the coastal line.
I also made sure I had a bit of time to go shopping too, of course! :) Clothes in Portugal are cheaper than in UK so I bought myself some jeans, shorts, dresses and sandals.
On my last day, I spent it between Carcavelos (my hometown) and Lisbon with friends as mum was busy with her own things. At night my friends and I went to Chiado for an evening meal and then to Terreiro do Paço to watch an amazing 3D video mapping show.
My friends, family and auntie and uncle from Melbourne, Australia (they have come to Portugal for personal business and holiday and are staying at ours) have contributed for this holiday to be memorable, as always. And for that, I feel blessed and grateful every single day! ^.^
Now that I am back, I’m still finding it a challenge to force my body to get back to the routine. But little by little, I’m sure my body will get used to it again. Good thing is that I am now reunited with my four-paw bff Lance. How I missed him! And apparently he was struggling not having me around, bless…
My house mate has said that he would spend hours in my room waiting for my return. It really broke my heart when I heard this. But I promised him I will spend more time with him during these next few days.
That’s it from me today. Have a lovely rest of the week!
“Happiness will follow…”