Showing posts from November, 2009

Leaves and efficiency

This week in Sintra they started giving the vaccines for the B-group people for the A-virus - later than many other cities in Portugal. I was called in as well and was also given the tetanus - they saw on the computer that mine was out of date. Sometimes things are efficient like that here, two vaccines at the time.

There are many things that I wished were more efficient here - faster response to many bureaucratic issues, for example. But some things I wish at times were not so efficient. Like the street sweepers. There are many in Sintra, and to be honest they do a great job - the streets are very clean here, even after the market of São Pedro. If you see the grounds at 6pm on the day of the market, it's a disaster - but the morning after you could never guess it had been a market day the day before. That is great.

But this week after the rain the big oak trees dropped their leaves - HUGE yellow, read and green ALL over the roads of Sintra. I collected many on my way to the…

More Waves

Some of the waves today were 7-8 meters high!

Above the beaches of Sintra

The most wonderful afternoon on the local beaches! We had a clear, sunny afternoon and I went for a walk on the beach: from Praia Grande, above Praia Pequena to Praia das Maçãs. Yes, above the beaches, as the beaches of Sintra have high cliffs and therefore drops of 40-50 meters to the sea. Of course they have nice road accesses to the beaches, but in between the roads there is a high difference of levels. I was positively surprised by the neat walkways, properly protected by a wooden fence - and the clear info boards of flora to look for. Every so many meters, a covered bench was awaiting for visitors to sit down and look at the waves.

The beaches are wild in the winter. Last weekend there was nearly no beach; today, yes. There …

Rain, Rain, Go Away???

We have had a week of humid, warm weather. Mainly it's been raining when it's dark - which it seems to be a lot these days - and we have had very nice afternoons. Our guests have still been able to visit the monuments without the umbrella. Last night it rained a lot, though, and it has continued all through the day today. The swimming pool is nearly overflowing, the garden is full of leaves. And there are lots of accidents on the roads as the new roads are slippery and people forget to slow down.

The rain is of course needed. I just feel sorry for the men who are setting up the Christmas lights around the town. This year they started later than usual and cannot therefore slow down to get everything set up by deadline - rain or no rain. When it does not rain, though, sintra is SO beautiful! The mist rising up, half the mountain covered up in a cloud of mist - and the colors so vivid and the air smelling fresh and clean! I will put some pictures up soon so you can see w…

Hot Stone Massage

Now that the holidays are over, autumn is really here with rain and wind - and Christmas is around the corner with all the busyness that comes along with it. To help prepare you for the season, we suggest a way to relax at Casa do Valle - a massage with Hot Stones.

The heat of the stones has two objectives: deep - relaxing the muscles and reestablishing the body's energies. This massage uses techniques of both classical relaxation massage AND Reiki to absorb and drain the body from tired energy. 45 euros for an hour + session in the privacy of your room.
Or if you prefer, you can book a classical 50 minute full-body relaxation massage for a special price of 35 euros or a session of Chinese Tui Na or Japanese Seitai also for 45 euros.

Advanced booking is necessary for any of these massages. You can contact us for more information through our email

Getting prepared for the cold - and the spring!

The last 10 days we have had more of a traditional autumn weather: showers at night and in the morning, afternoon temperatures are about 15 degrees, but they feel colder because of the wind. The umbrellas in the rooms are being used or at least taken for walks as the guests leave for dinner. In some rooms the heaters are on. But the evidence of the earlier warm weeks are clear: I bought beautiful, national strawberries at the supermarket for breakfast today (our strawberry season is March-June)!

This is the time when I get excited about next spring! My husband brought new hammocks from Brasil to place in the garden. I found a wonderful rug to place on the floor next to the sofa outside - I also found some wonderful textiles to make new pillows for the garden.

But I am also excited about the autumn. Candles and lanterns are placed and lit in the evenings. As it is the nut season, we have placed complimentary mixed nuts (and a nut-cracker) with port wine in the rooms to welcome our g…