Hello, painters, and welcome to another Tuesday post!
Today, we are going on a trip deep into Portugal’s rustic side: we are going to see Mondim de Basto, a small village in northern Portugal.
Mondim – set on the foot of Monte Farinha (literally translates to Mount Flour, guys, not joking!) and next to the river Tâmega – is home to only 3,273 inhabitants. It lives up to a typical village in the provincial, picturesque Portugal, being surrounded by nature and full of greens, slopes and historical buildings, such as the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Graça, on top of Monte Farinha.
It is also home to my maternal grandmother’s family and my mother has always had lovely memories of her childhood trips to her grandparent’s house there. There is even a small plaque with my great-uncle’s and great-aunt’s names on it, since they have been very successful after having emigrated to Brazil: the first has founded an institution of social and educational support, Colégio Santa Mônica, and the second has become an inspired poet and published author.
Being influenced by all of their accounts and reports, I very happily went along with taking a trip there, in the summer of 2011. We spent the week seeing everything and meeting a lot of people that were somehow related to me – and that I had no idea about, as usually happens when you meet distant relatives. The town’s festivities were taking place and so I got to see the traditional joy and celebration that fills the streets that time of year (that is what all the banners and bunting you will see in the photos are about!) – and have some fun and joy myself 😉
The feel of the village is, of course, very rustic and provincial, despite also being a bit commercial and tourist-oriented. It’s very peaceful and set in a bucolic surrounding landscape, making you feel that even the air you breathe is healthier and more wholesome. Walking through its stone streets, circled by houses older than you – and probably your grandparents and great-grandparents -, you feel part of history. The village and its encompassing mountains’ lights at night is the kind of breathtaking view you shouldn’t die without ever having met.
This is the kind of beautiful and traditional, historical village Portugal’s interior hides – usually forgotten because of its sunny beaches taking most of the touristic movement. But for those of us moved by antique architecture, green mountains, flourishing trees and glistening creeks running through rocky landscapes, there is no place like deep Portugal to call home.
Hope you enjoyed this week’s post, and I’ll leave you with a gorgeous video meant to showcase Mondim’s best kept treasures.