International Living Magazine has kept me very busy for the past months. A book update, seven reports, 15 video scripts, a dozen articles, fillers, and Facebook posts later–I have resurfaced.

Last weekend Keith and I explored one of the 12 Historic Villages of Portugal, Idanha-a-Velha, walking amid the ruins of a Roman city dating from 100 B.C.

Sites of interest included the requisite church, chapel, and arch.

For me the best part was the Lagar, where in the past oil was extracted from olives with the aid of a huge tree cleverly rigged to do the job.


I was so inspired after viewing it that I crossed the River Ponsul, where 43 stones fashioned from Roman doorsteps span its breadth. Well, okay, I was on a few of them, anyway. They were higher, and the river faster flowing, than it appears here.

This is a village where people still live today–population 79 at last count–so there’s a little cafe. The owner of Casa da Amoreira had tired of the bustle of his hometown, the tourist mecca of Sintra near Lisbon, and moved north some years ago. As close to the Spanish border as Idanha-a-Velha is, it was no surprise to find patrons sitting on the outdoor patio tucking into a huge skillet of fragrant paella. 

And that’s a perfect reason to return.