The frosted 05.30 from Liverpool Street to the small scale experience of Southend airport gets me in the mood for the simple pleasures of
Olhao. We even take off over the same silvery mudflat coastline that meets our descent two and a half hours later.
The house is dry but needs a fire. We stoke up the woodburning stove, a dumpy cylinder on legs and traditional feature in old houses throughout Spain and Portugal. It soon pushes out heat. We sit beside it, like contented
cats, eating bo
wls of sweet steaming clams in garlic.
Shops are closed, or down to minimum stock supplies. The down beat, empty feel of Portugal`s recession is even more apparent in an out of season Algarve seaside town. There are no christmas lights in Olhao this year, but somehow the token nativity with live donkey and sheep in pen with crib and star, is more charming than streets of blazing illuminations.
The Saturday market seems recession proof, people, colours, produce. life, as visually intoxicating as ever. A vivid canvas of lemons, golden wedges of pumpkin, the new season`s olives, plump greens, and eggs like white opaque jewels.
More good ideas from the Pure Style design files
Being a lover of all things Portuguese - and seeing that Remodelista has gone Iberian this week, I wanted to show you some inspirational and timeless interior detail from the land of grilled sardines and Pastel de natas; Above, are Azulejos, tiles from Sintra Design used by hotelier Sean MacPherson in his NY kitchen (shown above courtesy of The Selby).
Baixa house looks like the place to stay if you want traditional with a modern update. There are twelve rather wonderful looking apartments in this recently refurbished apartment hotel in Lisbon`s historic district. ( See one of the kitchens , above, photo Fernado Guerra + SÚrgio Guerra Fotografia de Arquitectura. and a patio, below, photo Ana Paula Carvalho ) .
Portuguese cotton blankets with wonderful earth coloured trimmings from Anichini.
Portuguese cotton blankets with wonderful earth coloured trimmings from Anichini