patagonia rachel kristensen

Chasing glaciers in Patagonia

On the southern tip of South America straddling Chile, Argentina and the Andes lies a wild and far flung region with little settlement but big landscapes.

Wide sweeping plains give way to mountains that tower in the horizon with granite peaks that scratch the skyline. Huge glaciers crash into the blue lakes that form at their melting point, and icy breezes blow icebergs to the shorelines.

In every direction of Patagonia paints a worthy sight.

It truly is a place you need to see to believe.

Here are just a few highlights from a recent tour of Patagonia, previously posted on tour leader Rachel’s instagram:


Take the long way home. @adventuresabroadtravel | | #Chile | | #Patagonia

A photo posted by Rachel Kristensen (@meandertheworld) on

All roads lead to adventure. @adventuresabroadtravel | | #Chile | | #Patagonia A photo posted by Rachel Kristensen (@meandertheworld) on

If only there were some views on this walk. Said no one ever. @adventuresabroadtravel || #Argentina || #Patagonia

A photo posted by Rachel Kristensen (@meandertheworld) on

Trekking at the end of the world, Ushuaia. @adventuresabroadtravel | | #Argentina A photo posted by Rachel Kristensen (@meandertheworld) on

The more you know, the less you need. -Yvon Chouinard @adventuresabroadtravel | | #Chile | | #Patagonia

A photo posted by Rachel Kristensen (@meandertheworld) on

Just a little mountain day dream. A photo posted by Rachel Kristensen (@meandertheworld) on

Mother nature is a beautiful thing. @adventuresabroadtravel | | #Argentina | | #Patagonia A photo posted by Rachel Kristensen (@meandertheworld) on

Ice, ice baby. Did I get that song in your head now? @adventuresabroadtravel | | #Argentina | | #Patagonia

A photo posted by Rachel Kristensen (@meandertheworld) on

Don’t forget to look up. @adventuresabroadtravel || #Argentina | | #Patagonia A photo posted by Rachel Kristensen (@meandertheworld) on


These photos were taken on Adventures Abroad Tour of Argentina and Chile.

For more info on Adventures Abroad and small group tours, click here.

What a site!


The Greek site of Pella was the ancient capital of King Archelaus of Macedonia at the end of the 5th century BC and birthplace of Alexander the Great. The site is located in northern Greece, about 39 km northwest of Thessaloníki. Excavations by the Greek Archaeological Service begun in 1957 revealed large, well-built houses with colonnaded courts and rooms with spectacular mosaic floors. These mosaics, dating from the late 4th century BC, belong to two categories: those with simply a geometric decoration covering the entire surface of the floor, and those with representative subjects, such as hunts, Amazonomachy (battle of Amazons), and others. The efforts to indicate volume by the use of shading is noteworthy. The colour scale is limited, with most figures being in pale shades against a neutral background. In some cases there is an attempt to suggest the natural space in which the figures move. One mosaic floor bears the artist’s signature: “Gnosis epoesen” (Gnosis made this).

Although the city was pillaged by the Romans, it did not cease to exist until the 1st century BC, when it was destroyed, probably by an earthquake. In 30 AD the Roman colony of Pella (‘Colonia Pellensis’) was founded west of the city, at the site of present-day Nea Pella.

Visit the site of Pella on Day 8 of our new Greece, Macedonia & Kosovo tour (GM1), next departure 23 May 2016.

Greece, Macedonia & Kosovo Tour: GM1 | 15 Days | Departure date: 23 May 2016 | Details

Culinary Adventures: Loukoumades (Honey Puffs)

Many of our Amorgos-bound travellers and guests of the Aegialis Hotel have enjoyed a sweet island specialty that is as addictive as it is easy to make. We bet you can’t have just one :)

Loukoumades (Honey Puffs)

Loukoumades (Honey Puffs)


  • 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 cups vegetable oil, or as needed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


  1. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a small bowl. The water should be no more than 100 degrees F (40 degrees C). Let stand for 5 minutes until the yeast softens and begins to form a creamy foam. In a large bowl, mix the warm milk, sugar, and salt, and mix to dissolve. Pour the yeast mixture into the milk mixture, and stir to combine.
  2. Beat in the butter, eggs, and flour until the mixture forms a smooth, soft dough. Cover the bowl, and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes. Stir the dough well, cover, and let rise 30 more minutes.
  3. Mix honey and 1/2 cup of water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn off the heat and let the honey syrup cool.
  4. Heat oil in a deep fryer or large saucepan to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Oil should be about 2 inches deep.
  5. Place a large table or soupspoon in a glass of water near the batter. Scoop up about 2 tablespoons of dough per puff with the wet spoon, drop it into the wet palm of your hand, and roll it back into the spoon to create a round shape. Do not over-handle the puffy, soft dough. Drop the dough balls into the hot oil in batches, wetting the spoon each time you make a dough ball. Fry in the hot oil until golden brown on the bottom, and roll them over to cook the other side, 2 to 3 minutes per batch. Gently set the loukoumades aside to drain on paper towels.
  6. Place the loukoumades on a baking sheet, drizzle them with honey syrup, and sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve warm.


Accommodation Update


Perhaps more than any other hotel in the history of Adventure Abroad, the Aegialis Hotel, on the island of Amorogos in Greece’s Cycladic Islands, is our unofficial ‘home-away-from-home.’ This hotel, and the island itself, was “discovered” by one of our first Tour Leaders in 1988, when he found himself “stranded” on Amorgos by a weather-related ferry cancellation. The hotel was new and the island was known only to a few fishermen, the families who had lived there for generations, and just a few adventurous tourists. Today, the hotel is still lovingly run by the local family that built it, and the island still retains its peaceful, authentic, off-the-beaten-path atmosphere. Many of our travellers have returned on their own, and many of our Tour Leaders head there when they enjoy some rare time off. Join us on our hiking tour of Greece (XGI), and you’ll find out why!

“Absolutely wonderful! Would have liked to stay longer! The manager is extremely friendly, helpful and personable and the hotel location is a delight.” Karen C., Edmonton, AB, XGI Sept 2015

Hiking the Isles of Hellas Tour: XGI | 14 Days  | Details
Departure dates: 07 May 2016, 23 Jul 2016, 10 Sep 2016

Tour Leader Update


This list represents just a few of our tour leader assignments for trips set to depart in the next few months. The leaders below and others not listed will, of course, be leading other regularly-scheduled tours throughout 2016 and beyond.

Chris Tripodi
Colombia Tour
CM1 | 11 Days | Departure date: 19 Jan 2016 | Details

Victor Romagnoli

India, Bangladesh, Bhutan Tour
VRIN | 28 Days | Departure date: 09 Sept 2016 | Details

India and Bangladesh Tour
VRIB | 22 Days | Departure date: 09 Sept 2016 | Details

Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay & Chile Tour
VRAC | 21 Days | Departure date: 14 Feb 2016 | Details

Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile Tour With Easter Island Tour
VRAE | 27 Days | Departure date: 14 Feb 2016 | Details

Papua New Guinea Tour
VRPG | 12 Days | Departure date: 14 Sept 2017 | Details | WAITLIST ONLY

Jonathan Hodgson
The Philippines Tour
JHPH | 13 Days | Departure date: 08 Apr 2016 | Details

The Philippines, Indonesia & East Timor Tour
JHPI | 21 Days | Departure date: 08 Apr 2016 | Details

Indian Ocean Islands Tour
MCIO | 22 Days | Departure date: 12 May 2016 | Details

Kazakhstan & The Kyrgyz Republic Tour
JHKK | 15 Days | Departure date: 02 Sept 2016 | Details

Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic & Tajikistan Tour
JHKT | 22 Days | Departure date: 02 Sept 2016 | Details

The Five Stans Tour
CA3 | 21 Days | Departure date: 24 Sept 2016 | Details

Coming soon Channel & Faroe Islands 2016; Newfoundland & Labrador 2017

Martin Charlton
Caribbean Island Explorer
MCCB | 21 Days | Departure date: 26 Apr 2016 | Details|WAITLIST ONLY


Please note: above listed assignations are accurate as of publishing date. Factors such as unforeseen placement challenges, illness / injury, personal / family obligations, and other logistical considerations may necessitate adjustments without notice or compensation.

Upcoming Tours Still Available



We are very excited about our newly-revamped tour of Mongolia (MN1) for 2016. We’ve been touring this fascinating destination for years, and are delighted that hitherto inaccessible remote locations are now opening up, with the advent of new air routes and tourist class accommodations. New for 2016 is the Lake Hovsgol region in the far western corner of the country; here we enjoy spectacular lake and mountain scenery and interactions with the local nomadic herds people. Also new is an overnight at Gun-Galuut Nature Reserve, where the complex of high mountains, steppes, rivers, lakes and wetlands are kept in their original condition. As in the past, we also include the Gobi area and the Ikh Nart Chuluu Nature Reserve, as well as the Jalman Meadows and the Khan Khentii Strictly Protected Area. Throughout we make use of unique and comfortable “Ger” style accommodation, which enhances the authenticity of our journey.

Mongolia Tour: MN1 | 14 Days | Departure date: 15 Jun 2016 | Details



Our tour sets down in Australia’s second most populous city, stately Melbourne, to soak up the sights and sounds of an urban centre that has been voted world’s most ‘liveable’ city numerous times. We explore the Yarra Valley, world-famous for its wineries, and stop off in charming, symmetrical Canberra and dazzling Sydney en route to experience a once-in-a-lifetime cruise around the Great Barrier Reef. Via the vast desert of ‘the Red Centre’, we make route to Ayers Rock and King’s Canyon before ending this leg of the tour in Alice Springs. Across in New Zealand, we balance experiencing the country’s incomparable natural beauty with learning about its history and exploring its cultural attributes. We offer Oz as a 17-day trip (AU1), and NZ as a 15-day (NZ1), but most people combine the two (AU2). Feb/Mar 16 booking NOW!

Australia Tour: AU1 | 17 Days | Departure date: 09 Feb 2016 | Details
Australia & New Zealand Tour: AU2 | 31 Days | Departure date: 09 Feb 2016 | Details
New Zealand Tour: NZ1 | 15 Days | Departure date: 25 Feb 2016 | Details



Few tour companies offer such a broad range of travel choices in this spectacular region. We cover the gamut, from Buenos Aires, one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities, to Tierra del Fuego and the magnificent desolation of Patagonia. Argentina and Chile’s National Parks system offer a kaleidoscope of environments ranging from glaciers in the south, through central alpine peaks to the famous Pampas grasslands. Chile’s Easter Island is over 3200 km (2,000 miles) from the nearest population centre, making it one of the most isolated places on Earth. A triangle of volcanic rock in the South Pacific, it is best known for the giant stone monoliths, known as Moai, that dot the coastline. Book your sunny winter holiday today—the Austral summer is short and these trips book up well in advance! Your choices:

Argentina & Chile Tour: AR1 | 14 Days | Details
Argentina & Iguaza Falls Tour: AR3 | 16 Days | Details
Argentina & Chile Tour: CL2 | 19 Days | Details
Argentina & Chile with Iguaza Tour: CL3 | 21 Days | Details
Chile with Atacama Tour: CL6 | 21 Days | Details
Chile (Atacama) & Easter Island Tour: CL1 | 21 Days | Details

Check out combinations of Argentina / Chile with Brazil


THE GULF STATES – January guaranteed!

The Persian Gulf is the meeting point between Africa, Europe and Asia, a land of a thousand-and-one-nights and home to some of the most beautiful and mystical scenery in the world. Our tour provides a rare and fascinating glimpse into the traditional lifestyle of the Arab Sheikhs, as well as the natural and historical wonders of contemporary Arabia. This trip (Kuwait, Oman, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain) is unique in the touring world and extremely popular—Jan 2016 is filling fast. As with all our trips, these tours are expertly led by an Adventures Abroad Tour Leader and official local support to ensure a smooth and safe journey.

The Arab Gulf States Tour: GS7 | 21 Days | Departure date: 25 Jan 2016 | Details



Our new enhanced Colombia itinerary (CM1) has become so popular, we’ve added more capacity for our trip that lands in Bogota on 19 January. New to the mix is the up-and-coming city of Medellin, which is shedding its old shady reputation and enjoying a touristic renaissance; here we will learn about the transformation of Medellin from the most dangerous city in the world into a fascinating melting pot of cultures with possibly the friendliest and warmest people in the world. Also new is the possibility of extending this trip to include our tour of Panama (CM5). Click here to see further combination possibilities with Costa Rica.

Colombia Redefined Tour: CM1 | 11 Days | Departure date: 19 Jan 2016 | Details
Colombia & Panama Tour: CM5 | 20 Days | Departure date: 19 Jan 2016 | Details


PERU: NORTH & SOUTH – February 2016

Northern Peru boasts a unique and fascinating cultural history. The entire region is dotted with archeological sites; many of the gold and silver, artifacts, ceramics and weavings made by the Chimu, Moche and Sican people are housed in the Sican and the Royal Tomb of Sipan museums. Near the “White City” of Arequipa is a spectacular attraction: the Colca Canyon. This canyon cuts 3182 m (10,607 ft) into the earth—twice the depth of the Grand Canyon in Arizona! The Colca is shadowed by snow-topped mountains, many of them volcanoes, and sliced by the Colca River. Around Lake Titicaca, traces of a rich Indian past still stubbornly cling, resisting the Spanish conquistadors’ aggressive campaign to erase Inca and pre-Inca cultures and, in recent times, the lure of modernization. When Peruvians talk of turquoise blue Titacaca, they proudly note that it is so large it has waves! Join us on this very comprehensive and varied tour to uncover the secrets of the still little known pre-Inca cultures of Northern Peru and its myriad unique natural wonders, as well as the renowned attractions of the Incan capital of Cuzco and the wonders of Machu Picchu. PR1, PR2

Peruvian Explorer Tour: PR1 | 17 Days | Departure date: 06 Feb 2016 | Details
Peru: North & South Tour: PR2 | 20 Days | Departure date: 03 Feb 2016 | Details



The northern winter is our strongest demand period for our flagship tour of Indochina – Vietnam & Cambodia (VN2), and our dates in January, February, and March are booking now. Not only is this the most comfortable time of year to visit this fascinating region, with its rich and varied history and cultural milieu, it is also currently one of the world’s best travel values. This is 19-day tour, which travels the entire length of Vietnam, from Halong Bay and Dien Bien Phu in the north, to Hoi An, Hué, and Saigon to the south. A highlight of any trip to the region is the temple complex of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and astonishing and vast site famous for its well-preserved temples and storied past as one of the world’s great civilizations.

Vietnam & Cambodia Tour: VN2 | 20 Days | Details
Departure dates: 12 Jan 2016, 02 Feb 2016, 08 Mar 2016


MYANMAR – You said it!

“Every excursion was excellent. We would not change any of them. All local guides were caring, interesting, and knowledgeable. All hotels surpassed expectations. We had an outstanding leader. He always retained good leadership while getting to know each of us on a personal level. A rare gift! He was fun, had a good relationship with local guides and a huge enthusiasm for the unknown. The best guide the we have ever had with any company.”
Ann S. (Malibu, CA, USA).

Our 14-day tour of Myanmar showcases all of the highlights, plus a few relatively unknown surprises, in a nicely-paced, comfortable and highly-varied and comprehensive experience. Next available departure 31 Jan 2016, code SE5.

Myanmar (Burma) Tour: SE5 | 14 Days | Departure date: 31 Jan 2016 | Details



In 2013 we responded to traveller feedback and the advice of our Tour Leaders and altered this itinerary to ease up the pace of this highlight-packed tour; reviews have been so positive, and the itinerary now reads so well that our ever-popular spring date is already almost sold out for 2016! Sicily is an island of great natural beauty—along the shorelines, spectacular rocky cliffs meet the deep blue, tranquil waters of the Mediterranean, while the rolling hills of the interior are awash in fragrant orange and lemon trees. Though only 4 km separate it from the mainland, this short distance has given the island enough unique history and personality for an entire continent. This distinction becomes apparent to us once our journey crosses the water to visit the highlights of the southern mainland—the Greek temples of Paestum, mysterious Pompeii, and sublime Sorrento, legendary abode of the Sirens. Spring is breathtaking, with rich green fields, plenty of wildflowers, and a soft light that enhances and highlights every corner of this magical land. We still have some last-minute space on our popular trip, code IT6; extensions to Tuscany and Venice are also available.

Southern Italy Tour: IT6 | 14 Days | Departure date: 27 Apr 2016 | Details

New Things And Updates


Japan – new spring date added! Due to popular demand, we have added another spring date for our rail tour of Japan, especially attractive during the festive April cherry period.

Japan By Rail Tour
JP1 | 27 Days | Departure date: 08 Apr 2016 | Details


Far East tour of Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia & the Philippines now begins in Denpasar—this saves us some backtracking and allows for an optional pre-trip extension in beautiful Bali.

The Far East Tour
FE1 | 17 Days | Departure date: 16 Feb 2016 | Details


Mayan Discoverer,  will feature an improved itinerary that eliminates some wasteful backtracking and maximizes our time in smaller villages and in the countryside rather than major cities.

Mayan Discoverer Tour
MY1 | 16 Days | Departure date: 22 Jan 2016 | Details


Cuba – sold out till October! With the changes to US-Cuba relations, demand for Cuba is through the roof! Our next available is not until October 2016! Book now to avoid disappointment –2017 dates coming soon.

Cuba Tour
CU1 | 15 Days | Departure date: 08 Oct 2016 | Details


Iran – improved! Our next Iran tour (April 2016) will feature an improved itinerary with more time in Yazd and Shiraz, fewer long road journeys, and an atmospheric overnight in a restored caravanserai.

Iran Tour
IR1 | 14 Days | Departure date: 26 Apr 2016 | Details

Iran & The Caucasus Tour
IR5 | 27 Days | Departure date: 26 Apr 2016 | Details


Mongolia – We have totally re-vamped our itinerary for Mongolia, talking advantage of new road / air access to previously unreachable spots where new tourist-class accommodations now make it possible to experience far-flung Lake Hovsgol.

Mongolia Tour
MN1 | 14 Days | Departure date: 15 Jun 2016 | Details


The South Pacific – We have added a second June 2016 date for our 100% unique tour of Palau, the Philippines, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Tonga & Samoa.

South Pacific Explorer Tour
MCSP | 24 Days | Departure date: 03 Jun 2016 | Details


Egypt is back! We’re delighted that Egypt is once again ringing the phones; Nov 2015 is departing imminently, and our 2016 are still deeply discounted—next trip Jan 2016.

Classic Egypt Tour
EG3 | 14 Days | Departure date: 31 Jan 2016 | Details


Microstates of Europe – This new tour has just wrapped up to rave reviews; indeed, it was such a hit we’ve decided to do it again in fall of 2016. San Marino, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Andorra, Vatican City & Luxembourg all in one fascinating trip!

Microstates of Europe
MCMS | 20 Days | Departure date: 10 Sept 2016 | Details


Keep in touch!

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Focus On The Balkans


The Balkan region of Eastern Europe has emerged as one of our most popular sources of new tour itineraries. It has also become the locus of some of our most popular, well-established European favourites. Gradual improvement of transportation links and tourist infrastructure over the last two decades has opened up this incredibly diverse region, making it perfectly-suited to our style of small-group ‘adventure-with-comfort’. The Balkans also still offer a relatively attractive value-for-money on a continent known for costly travel.

The Balkans is a region that includes countries on the Balkan Peninsula in the southeast of Europe, including most of the former Yugoslavia. The Balkan Peninsula is, according to some definitions, what lies south of the rivers Sava and Danube from the city of Belgrade. This definition, however, then would rule out part of northern Serbia, known as Vojvodina, a good part of Croatia, Romania and, of course, Slovenia. Historically, all these countries/regions were usually considered to be part of the Balkan countries, as Slovenia, too, was once part of Yugoslavia.

While lately the very word of Balkans may translate to ethnic strife and civil wars in people’s minds due to the headlines in the last decade of 20th century (and unfortunately, there is some truth in this perception), Balkans, with its rich, though often turbulent history and wonderful nature, offers much more than that. Charming multicultural towns, impressive monasteries and citadels dotting the hillsides, mighty mountains sprinkled with a liberal dose of beautiful forests and pleasant lakes, and last but not the least a great folk music tradition. The Balkan Peninsula is one of the last relatively unexplored corners of Europe. But with a wealth of history, cultural and culinary treasures, it won’t be long before the region becomes the next travel hotspot.

Our most popular Balkans trips:

AD1, Slovenia & Croatia, 17 days – this is our flagship itinerary. We were one of the first small-group tour operators offering comprehensive touring of these two friendly neighbours as early as 1998.

Slovenia & Croatia Tour: AD1 | 17 Days | Details


XAD, Croatia & Montenegro ‘Day Hiking in Adriatica’, 14 days –The current king of our ever-popular European series of walking tours, with stunning hikes along mountain paths and along rugged coastlines.

Croatia & Montenegro Tour: XAD | 14 Days | Details


AL1, Albania & Macedonia, 14 days – 2015 marks our 20th year of operations in Albania; a lot has changed, but what remains is some of Europe’s prettiest mountain scenery, quaintest villages, most fascinating archaeological sites, and the region’s friendliest people. In 2007 we added Macedonia, one of Europe’s “newest” countries.

Albania & Macedonia Tour: AL1 | 14 Days | Details


BK1, Balkan Explorer, 19 days – This is our most comprehensive Balkans itinerary, with no fewer than seven countries covered—the variety over these 19 days is staggering!

Balkan Explorer Tour: BK1 | 19 Days | Details


NEW TOUR! GM1, Greece, Macedonia & Kosovo, 15 days – At time of writing, this brand new tour is currently in the field; we’ve been touring these places for years, but this new program ties all three into one tidy 2+ week package that features all the highlights of this culturally rich corner of southern Europe. Next departure already booking for May 2016.

Greece, Macedonia & Kosovo Tour: GM1 | 15 Days | Details

What a Tour of the 5 Stans Looks Like

For the adventurous, the list of worthwhile destinations is long. Usually near the top of that list, is the Five Stans.

Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

The five former USSR nations are rich in history dating back thousands of years and for centuries this region was part of the major trade routes from Asia to Europe.

The traditionally nomadic people retain much of their culture to this day.  Cities with beautiful Islamic architecture mix with Soviet art museums that are in stark contrast to the vast wilderness of mountain ranges with locals living in yurts and sprawling deserts which are just some of the highlights in this far corner of the world.

A former resident, tour leader Jonathan Hodgson takes us along for the ride on his latest tour of the 5 stans with these beautiful photos on his instagram.




The necropolis of Chor Bakr. #Uzbekistan #silkroad #travel @adventuresabroadtravel

A photo posted by Jonathan Hodgson (@owilybug) on

The Ark. #Bukhara #Uzbekistan #centralasia #silkroad #travel @adventuresabroadtravel A photo posted by Jonathan Hodgson (@owilybug) on

Chor Minor medressah. #Bukhara #Uzbekistan #centralasia #silkroad #travel @adventuresabroadtravel

A photo posted by Jonathan Hodgson (@owilybug) on

Bibi-Khanum Mosque. #Samarkand #Uzbekistan #silkroad #centralasia #travel @adventuresabroadtravel A photo posted by Jonathan Hodgson (@owilybug) on

The Registan at night. #Samarkand #Uzbekistan #registan #centralasia #silkroad #travel #night @adventuresabroadtravel

A photo posted by Jonathan Hodgson (@owilybug) on

For more information on our tours to the Stans, click here.

What is the history of the symbols of Portugal?

Not counting the flag or the coat of arms, there are a few symbols of Portugal that you will undoubtedly see on any journey here.

Here’s two.

symbol of portugal

The Rooster of Barcelos

The small black rooster is a curious object in Portuguese folklore.

The story acompanies a 17th century calvary, from the city of Barcelos. Today the ceramic rooster is found in nearly every touristy shop and on countless postcards. But it stems from a legend in Northern Portugal where a mans life was nearly determined from a cooked dinner.

A pilgrim was making the pilgrimage to St James’s resting place of  Santiago de Compostela, and passed through the Braga county in Northern Portugal. Unfortunately for the pilgrim, the whole town was on the hunt for a thief who had stole the silverware from a rich landowner.

Despite declaring his innocence, the court was unconvinced and sentenced the pilgrim to death by hanging. In his final request, he pled his case once more to the authorities, just as they were sitting for dinner.

It is as certain that I am innocent as it is certain that this rooster will crow when they hang me.” 

Unsatisfied with his defence, he was sent away to be hung. But, losing their appetites, the dinner was postponed and the rooster never was ate.

On the minute of his hanging, the rooster came to life, just as the man declared.

Luckily, St James had intercepted and the poor pilgrims life was spared not by a pardon, but by a terribly knotted rope.

symbol of portugal

The Sardine

Lisbon is home to the sardine trinket and the sardine festival, both of which honour St Anthony.

In the 13th century, St Anthony – the patron saint of Lisbon – left to Italy to preach his gospels. Unfortunately for him, only the sardines would listen.  While the people of Rimini, Italy ignored him as he spoke along the shoreline, it is said that the sea was filled with millions of sardines, heads above the water, listening to his every word.

Now-a-days the sardine is a symbol of love as well.

St Anthony also doubled as the matchmaker saint with boys and girls going crazy to invoke the saints help. A single person may hold water in their mouths for hours on end, waiting for the name of their love to be spoken. They may write the name of their crush only to put it in a bowl of water and hope St Anthony works his magic. Or, if all else fails, they’ll take the idol of St Anthony and place it upside down in the garden until he find them a true love.

The sardine festival in June is one of the most high spirited times in the old city of Lisbon, with the sardines being sold on every street corner and people joining for dancing and drinking at all hours of the day.

While both symbols developed from religious stories, today they both present symbols of good luck in life, love and fortune.




If you are interested in joining a tour of Portugal that takes you to some of the most historic cities, towns with a focus on food as well as past and present culture – follow the link for our tours of Portugal here.