Staying up past 2am to blog about my Easter – Guess this shows just how eventful and enjoyable my long weekend had been! Keeping in mind that it’s already the wee hours, I’m not intending to have long narratives, but to let the pictures speak for themselves So, pardon me if this blog entry does not “flow” as well.
Easter was spent in Viana. To me, returning to Viana is like a retreat of sorts. Its tranquil landscape, reduced pace of life, healthy homemade cuisines, etc simply make one “stop and smell the roses” This time round, my retreat started off with a simple yet healthy breakfast! Freshly-squeezed juice (with freshly-picked oranges from the backyard), avocado milkshake and toast (using homemade bread). To complete the experience, these are leisurely savoured from our sun-kissed balcony which overlooks a mini forest
I also baked my first ever Portuguese Easter sponge cake with Querido’s mummy. Unlike my failed attempt in secondary school (when my swiss roll refused to roll!), my maiden Pão de Ló turned out fluffy and delicious. I’m not blowing my own trumpet, but it was entirely gone within 2 days!
On Holy Thursday, we adhered to traditions and made the “Seven Churches Visitation” – the pilgrimage to each church corresponds to the seven stations of the via crucis that were made by Jesus on his way to Calvary. In the end, we were over-zealous and visited 9 (out of the 20-something churches in Viana)! Needless to say, we were completely exhausted at the end.
Good Friday was fun as we enjoyed the company of cute Mariana! She is such a doll! I also braved the queue at Natario to lay my hands on the famed Bola de Berlim. After the 1-hour wait, the taste of cinnamon sugar and creamy custard was simply heavenly!
Easter Eve brought us to Braga, which is the third largest city in Portugal (after Lisbon and Porto). Braga is also considered the oldest Christian archdiocese in Portugal and one of the oldest in the world.
However, the highlight of Easter Eve was our farm visit! The farm is run by Querido’s cousin, who pursued agricultural studies during his undergraduate years. The farm is literally “in the middle of nowhere” and perfect for a getaway from the daily grind. Although a commercial venture, Querido’s cousin is really passionate about farming and remembers all his animals (while I am unable to tell one sheep from the other!) He even has a guesthouse, which is highly popular with the northern Europeans, who crave for the idyllic country getaway once in a while.
I also rode a horse, Carolina, for the first time. It was scary as Carolina was rather big for my frame and I had a tough time maintaining my balance while “chatting” with Carolina (as advised by Querido’s cousin, the horse expert). On the other hand, Querido was completely at ease with Carolina. He even abandoned me and took off with her (just the two of them) for a while. Hee.
As for Easter Sunday, it was characterised by our hearty lamb lunch, with lamb fresh from the farm! Apparently, this breed of lamb (I don’t recall the scientific name) is very uncommon because most farmers would opt for a bigger-sized breed to maximize revenues. However, this was the best lamb I’ve ever tasted! I really believe that the Portuguese keep the best meats and wines for self-consumption, while exporting their lower-grade produces. I count myself lucky to be able to indulge in their top-notch produces though
Going to catch my 4.5 hours of sleep now. As usual, I wrote more than I intended to. By the way, Happy Belated Easter my dear friends