© Rita Draper Frazão

Inner Tour is a blog about People, Arts and Traveling by Rita Draper Frazão.
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sábado, 1 de novembro de 2014

Trip to Southern Spain & Portugal

Sunny Spain 

It's November but guess what? The odds one could be in the beach those days was not so far as the temperatures rose around 30ºC (86ºF) in the South coast of this part of the Iberian Peninsula.

The destination of the trip was Huelva in the Andalusian Spain and Tavira in the Portuguese Algarve. By the way, I had time to see a bit more. I'm sharing here some moments of it.

After some hours of driving, I finally arrived at Huelva at night. All I wanted was to have a snack.

And I did, at Bonilla. As soon as I saw this bread, known in Portugal as Spanish Bread, I remembered a story an Austrian friend of mine once told me. She always had there hole grain bread or so, and having Spanish bread was her wonder when she was there as it was as white as it could be! I had some Tapas and a Soup, but my favorite thing was not the food, it was the decor. 

Silver ceiling and cinematic feel at the wc entrance - In a brewery. 
Already won the prize!

The next day I went for a walk with my friends Inés, Paulo and little Jorginho who is their lovely baby that showed me the Luso-Spanish guts. We strolled downtown towards the river. Loved all! 
The ambience of the streets was busy and hot and the architectonic colors followed that: ocher and red everywhere. 

Brick and more bricks, arabic starlet patterns for one not to forget the many centuries Arabs were here. Beautiful. And off course the sun, always chasing you meanwhile!

Was very intrigued with this sort of Psalterium this guys was playing downtown. What a whiz! It filled the street with a happiness from another time :)

Then it was time for a lunch break with the guys from the III Encuentro Transfronterizo de Profesionales de Museos (3rd Cross-Border Museum's Professionals Meeting). The company was nice and the sight was good for a midday drawing in the Tennis club restaurant:

Then I went to the Huelva Museum to watch some of the Conferences of the meeting, about Accessibility in Museums. And I loved this framing detail at the entrance:

Here's one of the Imperial masterpieces of the Huelva Museum,
White Marble, Trajan Period (98-117 a.C.)
I have learnt a bunch of things and drew some of the participants, both Portuguese and Spanish. Here they are:

Portrait of Clara Mineiro (From Direcção Geral do Património), thought of those court drawings and wanted to do one more or less the same style.
Portrait of Dália Paulo (from Loulé Museum). A visit to a museum
can turn into something nice, so can language into flowers.

Portrait of Javier Albelo García (From Croma) inspired
by his comic presentation and minding synthesis. Wanted it to look cartoonish. 

Portrait of Sol Martín (From Amma), I pictured it as black rips in a light linen.

Portrait of Águeda Beatriz Mangas Hernández (from Facultade de Humanidades da Universidade de Huelva) Light blue lenses make the world prettier. 

Portrait of Esther Fernandez Sanchez (from Andalucia de Museos y Exposiciones). Es que eran las estrellas means something like It's that were the stars and it's about her good sport and beauty. 
You can have a hint on the themes of this meeting on its program and see its pictures here, and there are also some videos

Drawing including picture from slate Idol from the III century b.C. found Zalamea la Real, in Huelva.
This was the drawing I made inspired by one of the Huelva Museum's Items, the city's colors and patterns.  Inspiring, groovy, exotic and sunny!

The next day, there where some conferences in the Museum and a visit to Palos de la Frontera, 13 km from Huelva.
Among the historical Christopher Columbus related spots, which you can find about here, I loved some type I found there. Like this one:

At the end of the visit, and back in Huelva, had some sautéed mixed vegetables, simple rice and Chinese Mushrooms with Bamboo at Hang Zhou Restaurant. It was so well cooked I decided to make this drawing as a great ending of my stay in Spain, even thought it wasn't Spanish food. It was delicious, healthy and cheap.

Welcoming Portugal 

The second part of this trip passed by the Algarve, the southern province of Portugal. 
The first stop was at Vila Real de Santo António (VRSA).

Hotel Guadiana in VRSA

The market at the Marquis of Pombal Square, VRSA
Ah, the sun is shining here, people are nice and local products are a must. Carobs, Carob Jam,  Orange Jam, Almonds, Figs, Fresh Bread, Beans, Cheese, Honey... all I can say is that I bought 3 full bags of groceries and goodies. A good reminder back home of how things taste great here. And I ate that wonder called Três Delícias (Three delights), a typical delicacy from Algarve made with dried figs, almonds and carob flour. Made my day.

Ozadi Hotel entrance by night
My next stop was Tavira, where I stayed at the Ozadi Hotel. The hotel is not in the city center, it's true, but all the rest totally payed off that detail. I'll let you know why.

Inspired by the flavors, warm temperature and people's sympathy, and with my main luggage being local products, I was fascinated by this Três delicias dessert. My dinner was held at Orangea Bistro - the hotel restaurant - and it was fantastic. Local products, fine seasoning and a refined presentation, was just the kick start for a nice chat with the waiters, Cristiano and Diogo. Born in Algarve, I asked Cristiano if he knew how to bake that lovely Três delicias tart. He said he didn't but within the next minute they came to my table with this printed recipe from that delight. How sweet! Will try it out for sure! Thank you, it inspired me to do this drawing including the carob shape and color, and some items from Ozadi.

I also thought of the hotel decor, which is splashed with dark brown cork. Good to see Portuguese Products have a good use. 

Detail of the Ozadi hotel decor with
traditional Portuguese wicker baskets
 Breakfast took place in the terrace floor with a great view and entrancing light. It included carob bread and a full color palette of vegetables and fruits. A fantastic start point for the day ahead, no doubt. Loved the Ukrainian waiter, Irina, who told me a bit of her story and of her country's situation too. I am supportive of their cause, and made an article about Ukraine some time ago. Really nice gal. 

The girls in the reception (Catarina and Victoria) where particularly helpful with information on where to eat & go. At this point, I was ready to explore. 

Visited a little paradise on earth, Praia de Cabanas. You'll always need a boat ride to get there, and that's actually one of the fun parts of it.  

Detail of my favorite color match at Bica Restaurant
I also had the perfect pit stop at the humble Bica, a acclaimed restaurant for a reason: it's great! It was packed with locals (I thinks that's always a good sign), the food was as traditional as possible, and so the jokes of the sympathetic waiter, with whom I talked about the lost paradise of Pego do Inferno, where I've been some years ago. My favorite part? They had Três Delícias dessert! It was my lavish moment. Best one so far in this trip.

Quatro Águas Harbor View

Docked Varanda do Sol (The sun Balcony) boat, at the Harbor.
Another both trip, this time to the trendier Tavira Island. I loved the Quatro Águas Harbor (where I captured these pics above) and where you take the boat, to the Island itself. 

And no, I wasn't taking pictures of the beautiful beach what so ever. I was more interested in the things one could hardly find on the internet about this place. Simple things, like this:

It's been a pretty long while since I last saw some of these exact stone paths on the way to a beach in Portugal. It made part of my childhood, brings me good memories. 

Gratinado de Amêndoa was sprinkled with gold glitter on this drawing
Last stop at Panito Mole Pastry in Faro to have a great snack before my way home. Their fresh fruits juice was awesome and the amazing Gratinado de Amêndoa made my wonders - Became a fan! 

Thank's to everybody who received me, showed me places and invited me. I had a blast. Back home now, I already miss it and I will come back anytime soon.

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