22 April 2009



... A word that only exists in the Portuguese language and, therefore, does not have a direct translation ... Saudade is a noun that describes a feeling, a feeling of missing or longing for someone or something, a feeling I live with and have learned to cope with every single day of my life!! The word "saudade", loosely translated, denotes "longing, "melancholy" or "nostalgia".... In the context of Portuguese, however, the term connotes a meaning that is irrevocably lost in translation.

Saudade was once described as "the love that stays" after someone is gone. Saudade is the recollection of feelings, experiences, places or events that once brought excitement, pleasure, well-being, which now triggers the senses and makes one live again. It often carries a fatalist tone and a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might really never return....

A recent post from a sweet friend and fellow blogger (who shares my name and my origins) really touched home, she described a place I used to visit when I was little... She used to walk by my street on the way to the park... I wonder if we ever crossed paths not knowing we would "meet" again later...

I miss Portugal. I miss so many things I wouldn't be able to list them all... I find myself often on the phone with my mom whining about things I miss, asking her what they had for dinner, where they went, how's the weather, who's getting married, who won the soccer game... I have to admit that some of the most tangible things I miss are food related... Why is that? They say a way to a man's heart is through the stomach, I say a way to anybody's heart is through the stomach!! I was compelled to look through my pictures and find images that could illustrate my feelings, my feeling of longing and missing someone or something...


Familia ~ That is a given, I miss my family!! I miss the laughter, the food, the trips, the fun... Yes, every family has a disfunctional side, but I miss it all!!

Castanhas ~ Roasted chestnuts.... Yummmmmmmy!! Yes, occasionally I find chestnuts around Thanksgiving (and I devoure them!!), but there is nothing like a charcoal roasted chestnut purchased on the side of the road...

(from my Flickr favorites)

Mar ~ I grew up around the sea, looking at the sea, playing in the sea, smelling the sea, and eating the fruits of the sea... The sea is a part of me...

(from my Flickr favorites)

Caracois ~ Oh, how I miss eating snails... I know, it sound gross to many, but for me that is part of my heritage. If you walk or drive around in Portugal and see people hunched around bushes, chances are they are gathering snails. There is an art to cooking snails, you have to have the right combination of seasonings, which include oregano...

Retrosarias ~ There is a street in Lisbon just dedicated to haberdashery stores, where you will find buttons, lace, wedding dress fabric, millinery flowers, ribbon, etc! It is always a must go when I head home!

Marmelada ~ Marmelada is to us Portuguese what peanut butter is to American kids... Pao com marmelada is a staple! A thick jam made from quince fruit, marmelada has the sweetest taste, and is delicious with bread or crackers!!

(from my Flickr favorites)

Futebol ~ There are no words to describe the pride us Portuguese feel about our soccer... It is bigger than life! I plan my trips to Portugal around the European Cup schedule so I can be there for the finals...

(from my Flickr favorites)

Farturas ~ I have been told by my children that one of the biggest things they miss about Portugal are farturas, Portuguese fritters (like large churros) smothered in sugar and cinnamon... Watching them being made is almost as much fun as eating them!!

Musica portuguesa ~ For me, it was difficult to appreciate Fado until I was thousands and thousands of miles away, but I do miss the sounds of the Portuguese guitar emanating from small restaurants
in Bairro Alto... My sisters are pretty good about getting me CD's with newer Portuguese music so I can feel closer to home.

(from my Flickr favorites)

Tremocos ~ This is probably one of the foods I find myself craving almost every day... This is another of those Portuguese obsessions that are hard to explain...!! Tremocos are salt water soaked lupini beans, and are absolutely my favorite snack food!! Any street cafe in Portugal will bring you a beer and some tremocos (peel the skin with your teeth and eat!). Nothing better!!

(from my Flickr favorites)

Feira da Ladra ~ Attending street markets in Lisbon are one of my favorite activities when I go back home... Feira da Ladra (literally means Thieves' Fair, a reference to how it got started...) is a weekly market where you can find a variety of items... You can see more in a post I made about this fair a few months back, following my last trip to Portugal.

Electrico ~ The tram has always been my favorite way to travel arond Lisbon... Even more so now since busy people prefer the fast subway ...! For me, it is frozen time, something that never changes, continuity...

Baixa ~ Downtown Lisbon is a charming area full of wonderful shops, cafes and pastry shops... Even though a devastating fire destroyed a large portion of our Baixa (taking with it century old department stores) about twenty years ago, the rebuilt area still retains an incredible charm, with its cobblestone sidewalks and gorgeous buildings.

Casa da mae ~ My mom's house is "ground level" for me, a place where I go back to being a little girl... A place where the incredible food can never be reproduced no matter how hard I try, a place where tea at five is as certain as the sunset, a place where all the family gathers to catch up with each other, a place where I eat tremocos, caracois, farturas, castanhas, where I watch futebol, and the mar, where I share my finds from the Feira da Ladra, and the finds from the retrosarias in the Baixa, where I feel at home in the company of my familia...!!



  1. Thank you so much for the tour of Portugal...a place I have always wanted to go. We had very dear elderly friends who, after the WW lived in Portugal and often spoke of the things you have posted. They missed it so much once moving back to the States. For me, it was going there to ride the Andalusian! I'll get there. Now I can live vicariously through your blog ;D

  2. Oh isabel, thank you for sharing your homeland with us. I lived overseas for years and often miss my "other" home, knowing that I won't be back anytime soon. It will always be in your heart!!
    xoxoxo, Tiffany

  3. Perhaps the word here in America would be homesick. I can see why you would miss it all. All of us experience homesickness or some melancholy about where we were born, raised and what we grew up knowing. You have some lovely memories and I thank you for sharing them.

  4. Oh dear Isabel,

    I feel it all! I know so well all of what you wrote. FAMILIA, especially familia, and then CASTANHAS, tremocos, fado, farturas...sigh...and MARMELADA...omg...marmelada!

    "Saudade" might be hard to explain but it sure is easy to feel, isn't it?

    And let us not forget our beautiful TILES

    I now have tears in my eyes, reading what you wrote about your mom's house, that umbilical chord forever attached from our hearts to that of our mothers and loved ones.

    Thank you for this beautiful post!


    I too talk to mom many times a week and she often teases me with the wonderful dishes they are having for dinner (salivating, here)

    And let us not forget our beautiful tiles

  5. This has been such an interesting post and a real education for me....I appreciate so much your sharing of your country, its foods and traditions....Portugal seems a beautiful and rich country to me now...
    Be well, Laura

  6. isabel,
    thank you so much for sharing. your translation of 'saudade' reminded me so much of my mom (she's been gone for 9 years). hopefully the friends and family you've aquired ease some of that melancholy.

  7. Isabel, what a beautiful tour! I can feel your longing for home.

  8. It looks so wonderful. The sea is breathtaking, and the haberdashery. Norweigan food is part of my heritage, (although I am US born), and how I miss my grandmother's baking, and cooking. It is a part of us. Thank you so much for sharing.

  9. It looks like an amazing place Isabel. I can't imagine moving to another country away from my family. You are a very brave lady!
    Thank you for showing us some pictures of your homeland and what it means to you!

  10. I think I might be feeling saudale with you!! As Dorothy would say...There is no place like home...
    Love you,

  11. Dearest Isabel, Your post made me want to cry, because I know exactly what you're trying to say!
    A strong feeling/emotion that I too, have learned to live with! My Mum calls me, at least once a week & I always send a Good Night message to them (early morning then in Norway)!
    The food;- don't get me started... We can share that over lunch... Hugs, Sylvi
    PS: My word verification is OVENS!!!

  12. What a beautiful post - thanks. I miss England too, but not quite in the same way. At least we all chose to come to France as an English family together...

  13. Hi Isabell, Lovely photos , thank you for taking us along .It looks Beautiful! I have an award for you on my blog, Sue

  14. Isabel, so beautiful, the pictures. I see why you miss your homeland. ~Mindy

  15. Oh Isabel! Thank you so much for taking me back to Portugal! I love your country so much! I can't imagine having lived there (much less being born and raised there) and not missing it! I fell in love with it and the people (yes and the food, although I've not had the ones you mentioned). It's a good thing I don't speak Portugese because I would have to convince my husband to retire there. I want to go back so badly! I'm also trying to talk my son into thinking about it for a Honeymoon destination. When I get rich, I'll buy an extra ticket and you can take me around so I can see it through your eyes.

    Big Hugs,

  16. What a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing your heart with us! I have traveled all over the U.S. but never overseas. Someday....

  17. I enjoyed this post so much! I don't know much about my Portuguese heritage so I am always willing to learn something new. Do you have festas(sp?)where you live now? We have them here and they serve a beef and cabbage soup and fava beans are on the tables for snacking. Not sure if those are the same as your lupini beans.

  18. Olá Isabel!

    Descobri o seu Blog um pouco por acaso e...adorei!!! Vivo em Lisboa e achei o post Saudade um espectaculo!Acho que seria o mesmo que eu sentiria se tivesse de deixar tudo para trás, amigos ,familia...realmente a saudade é um sentimento dificil de explicar...mas por vezes é necessário estarmos longe para a podermos sentir e valorizar! Quando li o que escreveu tive a sensação de falar com uma amiga de longa data que está longe .Parabéns pela forma de escrever simples e envolvente. Vou estar atenta ao seu blog. Obrigada!

  19. Lindo sua definicao de saudades, eu tambem moro fora do meu Brasil, e assim como voce tenho saudades das mesmas coisas...acho que essae a vida de cada imigrante... fique com Deus.


  20. Olá Isabel! Que lindo post o seu. Escrevo do Brasil, sou artesã brasileira viajo pela net sempre procurando inspiração. Cheguei aqui através do Completely Coastal, que adoro.
    Tomo a liberdade de escrever em nossa língua pra dizer como somos tão parecidos, portugueses e brasileiros, nos sentimentos, prazeres, gostos e alegrias. Nunca fui à Portugal, mas tenho muitos amigos com que troco impressões e posso dizer, seria minha segunda Pátria.
    Vou aderir ao seu blog pra acompanhá-la e saber mais do seu trabalho com antiguidades que também é um fascínio que tenho. Convido vc a visitar meu blog e dar sua opinião, que me deixaria muito feliz. E se aceitares minha amizade, saiba que serei duplamente recompensada.
    Um abraço


I so enjoy and appreciate your comments!! Thank you so much for stopping by!!!

Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin