The Daydream Series: Portugal – Não éporque uma andorinha morre que acaba a primavera

Portugal (1)

Daydreaming is easy, healthy, and free!
Here at AAV Travel, we would like to give your mind a break and the opportunity to enjoy and learn more about the world from the comfort of your home.


Portugal has long been a well-kept secret among the Europea countries, but with increased tourism awareness campaigns and publicity, it has become a dream destination for many. A relatively small country, the country is similar in size to Pennsylvania, or three times smaller than the UK. Although seemingly small, the nation is mighty with plenty to offer for those who want to explore. #tourismstrong

Jamaican Flavors

Anthony Bourdain said, “Portugal has got a lot of coastlines and a lot of history with the sea. It’s a close relationship, one that’s imprinted deep into the national character — the songs, the poetry, the state of mind.”

Of course, that also plays a role when it comes to food. Although cuisine varies from region to region, fresh fish and shellfish are found on virtually any menu. “Bacalhau,” dried, salted cod is Portugal’s national dish. Its root stems back to the 16th century when Portuguese sailors salted and sun-dried their catch abroad so it would last throughout the long journey home. There are many different ways to prepare Bacalhau, as the Portuguese say, there is a different way for each day of the year.

Unlike in the US or Great Britain, breakfast traditionally consists of coffee and a bread roll. Lunch, on the other hand, is a real sit down and enjoy affair, often lasting up to two hours. The same goes for dinner. Although you will be able to find an early meal, the Portuguese dine late, after 8 o’clock.

Check out what to expect on a virtual food tour of Lisbon with James and Alice from Devour Tours, a food tour operator in Portugal and Spain.

If you would like to make a Portugese dish at home, why not try a Bifana?

Copy of taste!

Portugal is famous for Fado, soulful, heavily expressive and profoundly melancholic singing, usually accompanied by a guitarist. It is often heard in pubs, cafes, and restaurants. If you find yourself wandering the cobblestone streets of Lisbon’s Bairro Alto area one evening, you are sure to hear some Fado wafting through the air.

Portugal is also home to many other genres and different artists. They are as versatile as the country’s regions and fun to listen to!

Click the picture for our Portugal playlist on Spotify. 



There is a good selection of movies set in and around Portugal. Some are harder to get your hands on than others, but they are all worth it if you are interested in the storyline.

Based on a book, Nigth Train to Lisbon is the story of a Swiss Professor, who abandons his lectures and buttoned-down life to embark on a thrilling adventure that will take him on a journey to the very heart of himself.

It’s a very tasteful and intriguing movie about finding oneself, showing great shots of both Lisbon and my hometown, the city of Bern, Switzerland.

Capitaes de Abril explores the days leading up to Lisbon’s Carnation Revolution, a historical moment in the 1970s when a military coup led by Captain Fernando José Salgueiro Maia, ended the dictatorship.

Lisbon Story tells the tale of a sound engineer who obtains a mysterious postcard from a friend who is currently shooting a film in Lisbon, saying that he should visit. He sets out across Europe to find him and help him. This movie is a treat with many great shots from Lisbon, Fado, and a romance.

Voyage to the Beginning of the World, or Viagem ao Princípio do Mundo is the story of an aging film director, who takes a road trip across Portugal with his actors.

Christopher Columbus – The Enigma is a Portuguese movie,  in which a doctor and his wife embark on a journey to prove that explorer Christopher Columbus was Portuguese, not Italian.

Amalia allows you a glimpse into the life of Amalia Rodriguez, who was a pioneer in Fado music. Dubbed Portugal’s “Queen of Fado,” she sold over 30 million records during her life.


If you are ready to go deeper and learn more about the country as well as its history, culture, and behind the scenes, there are some excellent reads for you!

The Portugese: The Land and its People by Marion Kaplan

The history of Portugal is long and colorful, with nations such as the Romans and the Moors invading. The Portuguese explorers who brought back many influences to the country and the many rulers whose sagas are rich in intrigue. This book introduces the reader to local crafts and festivals of Portugal; trade, industry, and finance; the family, whose links bind tightly and so influence the country; the geographical land with its beauty – the rivers running from the hills in the east to the sea in the west; the character of the people, attitudes, education; the culture, architecture, paintings and poets and novelists. For more info…

The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel

An allegorical novel in three parts is set in the fictional High Mountains of 17th-century Portugal and beyond, where characters explore questions of loss and faith while on a quest while tackling ghosts and in the contemporary world. By the award-winning author of Life of Pi. For more info…

The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa

From The Book of Disquiet is a journal by Portuguese author Fernando Pessoa. Published by his friends in 1961, it contains Pessoa’s reflections beginning in 1912 at the age of twenty-four as he anticipated World War I. Pessoa wrote the book mainly for himself under the pseudonym Bernardo Soares, and it was not published until nearly half a century after he died in 1935. Though the format of the book is difficult to pin down, it reads like a diary or journal, dealing with the internal life of the seemingly banal “Soares” as he works as a simple assistant to a bookkeeper in Lisbon. The book became known as a great work in the genre of world literature for its simplistic yet poignant characterization of the ordinary life of a lower-class Portuguese person. For more info…

The Year of the Death of Ricard Reis by Jose Saramago

The year: 1936. Europe dances while an invidious dictator establishes himself in Portugal. The city: Lisbon-gray, colorless, chimerical. Ricardo Reis, a doctor and poet, has just come home after sixteen years in Brazil. Translated by Giovanni Pontiero. For more info…



Port wine is exclusively produced in Portugal’s north, the Douro valley. The Douro valley is also famous for its wine and makes for a great place to explore if you love culinary vacations.

Port wine is sweet and usually served as a dessert wine or digestif. There are many different versions, including red and white. They all require several years of aging.

If you are interested in trying port and want to learn more, check out Port Wine for Beginners.

This list is compiled in response to the COVID-19 crisis, but also as a resource for anyone considering to travel to Portugal, or wanting to get a feel for the country before their trip.

Please stay safe and healthy, wash your hands, and practice social distancing as long as it is necessary.

Being able to travel is an incredible gift. The experience can open our eyes to the unique cultures and spellbinding beauty of the natural world. But with this gift comes a responsibility – to protect the world as we know it. Please behave responsibly and show respect!

Stefanie Pichonnat is the owner of AAV Travel, a boutique travel firm specialized in creating customized travel itineraries. Originally from Switzerland, she started exploring the world at a young age and continues to expand her knowledge every year.

To plan a trip contact her at

Where to Honeymoon in September, October or November?

It used to be, that the summer months were the most popular, but lately, couples are choosing more and more to get married during the fall months.

With September being peak hurricane season, many ask where should we honeymoon in September or October? Is it safe to travel to the Caribbean during hurricane season? What do we have to expect from hurrican season? And, are there any alternatives?

sandals emerald bay, exuma, bahamas

Of course, choosing a destination has a lot to do with the time a couple has available as well as their budget. It also has something to do with what they ultimately want to experience.

Some couples aren’t worried about hurricanes and don’t mind a daily afternoon rain shower. That is mostly what you should expect during hurricane season. However, every now and then a hurricane forms and eventually takes one path or another.

Nowadays, hurricane tracking is fairly reliable and a hurricane’s path is predicted days before it actually happens. This can be both, great if indeed the hurrican takes a certain path and the chosen destination is affected, upsetting if you change your plans, only to find that the hurricane takes a different path or has weakened.


The most important thing to have in this situation is solid travel insurance. If you have a “cancellation for covered reasons” policy, chances are that you are only covered if the hurricane hits. Meaning, that if the hurricane is supposed to hit tomorrow, but you are traveling today, you have no option to cancel because “fear of a hurricane” is usually not covered.  If you want to have the flexibility to decide not to go because you are worried a hurricane might affect your honeymoon, you need a so called “cancel for any reason” travel protection plan.

But, which Caribbean island to pick during hurricane season? If you want an all-inclusive experience, go with Jamaica, the Negril side to be precise. The island’s Blue Mountains offer a natural, protective barrier to the other side of the island. They also catch most of the rainfall. If an all-inclusive honeymoon isn’t on top of your list, pick one of the ABC Islands (Aruba, Curacao or Bonaire). These are usually out of the hurricane belt and less prone to stormy action.


Whichever destination you choose in the Caribbean, or along the Pacific Coast, there never is a guarantee though. Weather patterns have been changing and are no longer as predictable as they once were.

For those who want to stay away from hurricanes altogether I suggest a trip to Europe. Fall in Europe is the best, and depending on where you go, you can still enjoy a beach vacation.

Here are some of my top choices:


doolough ireland aavexplorations

Great for nature lovers, couples on a tighter budget, couples afraid of long flights, and couples worried about language barriers.

How long does it take to get there? A quick 6- 7  hour flight from the East Coast will take you there.



Perfect for romantics, history buffs, art lovers, music lovers, food lovers… need I say more, the country screams amore and passion. Fall is less crowded, the weather mild, prices lower.

How long does it take to get there? Expect a little over 8 hours from the East Coast



For a laid back, sunny, island hopping experience. Sipping ouzo, nibbling on olives, watching a donkey go by. The perfect setting for a romantic, relaxing honeymoon. However, keep in mind that once October hits, many hotels, shops and even ferries shut down

How long does it take to get there? Expect a little over 10 hours from the East Coast



Douro River – image courtesy of Viking River Cruises

For a romantic river cruise along the Duoro River where vineyards abound and harvest season is in full swing. Lisbon is also one of the most stunning cities in Europe!

How long does it take to get there? Expect a little over 6 hours from the East Coast


subway station, metro , louvre rivoli, paris

For a three city power pack cultural experience. Each unique, each worth a visit. Super easy to connect via high-speed trains. Track Royals in London and have High Tea at Kensington Palace, stroll book stalls along the Seine in Paris and enjoy dinner atop the Eiffel Tower, and ride a bike in Amsterdam and check out the Anne Frank museum.

How long does it take to get there? Expect between 6 – 7 hours from the East Coast, depending on which city you fly in and fly out of.

stefanie pichonnat aavtravel


Stefanie Pichonnat is the owner of  AAV Travel, a boutique travel firm, specialized in creating and customizing honeymoons. You can contact her at