Walking in Portugal: Day 3 – Porto Covo to Milfontes

  Before I get back into this, a word of explanation and caution.  There's a special kind of ego and insanity that inspires you to announce you will be writing a daily travel blog. "Oh, will you really?" the Gods of travel smirk as they line up cancelled flights, blistered feet, catatonic exhaustion and a bug in your laptop that causes it to...

Walking in Portugal: Day 4 – Milfontes to Almograve

Yesterday, I neglected to note the sad passing of a pair of reliable friends.  One of Kieran's sturdy walking boots gave up the ghost about 5km out of Milfontes, its flapping sole sucking up sand like a dredger with every step.  Held together with elastic bands until we got back to base, into the bin it went, along with its...

Walking in Portugal: Day 5 – Longueira to Zambujeira Do Mar

A word about breakfasts: there's a lot of bread.  In most of the B&Bs and small hotels where we stayed along the route, breakfast was simple but sufficient.  Fresh orange juice and drinkable coffee were a given.  Fresh fruit – either peeled and chopped or available intact in a large bowl was often on offer. In some places there...

Walking in Portugal: Day 7 – Odeceixe to Aljezur

“I am not walking down that f#$%^&g hill just to f#$%^&g walk back up again.”  I can’t recall if those were the precise words I used but the general gist is spot on. Kieran and I had emerged from an excellent breakfast in the Windmill Cottages HQ and had set off full of confidence along the only possible route out...

Walking in Portugal: Day 6 – Zambujeira to Odeceixe

First, a word about feet. Before I set off for Portugal, my wonderful wife who tries to look after me, insisted I get a haircut.  She might have done better to suggest a pedicure.  It all began with the second toe on my right foot, the nail of which was too long. So the first discomfort, after the initial...

Walking in Portugal: Day 8 – Aljezur to Arrifana (or not)

  The day started with an interesting breakfast during which Kieran almost projectile vomited on to an American girl who took off her shoes and socks at the table and starting picking bits of dead skin from between her toes. Her friends vacated abruptly, leaving us alone with her feet. Kieran went off to do the one-way hike to Aljezur beach...

In the Mackintosh tearooms, dining is a work of Art Nouveau

Visionary architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s restored tearoom is a living, breathing (and eating and drinking) work of art, writes Jimmy Thomson. When Robert Burns wrote the immortal lines ‘the best-laid plans o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley’ – or “often go awry’, if you must – he was penning an ode to an 18th Century...