your love affair with portugal

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Hello, friends!

We've reached Day 5 in the Countdown to Portugal! For those of you just joining in today:

Registration for the Portugal culinary retreat opens tomorrow at 10am PST

To celebrate and to share with you all the things I love about Portugal, I’ve been posting to the blog this week about this hidden gem of a country and why you need to mark your calendars and join me for 7 days of sun, wine, seafood and stunning views this October!

Here are links to Day 1Day 2Day 3  and Day 4 in case you missed them.

Today, I'm sharing all the details of the retreat with you. Along with a few more reasons I think you should join me this October. Read on to find out what I've got in store for you, then check back tomorrow at 10am to register and start your love affair with Portugal!

portugal culinary retreat via

I take people to places that awaken our senses. 
Places that remind us how life can be lived.


portugal culinary retreat via

I was not expecting what I found in Portugal.

I went for a photography workshop. I was just passing through for a few days on my way to Paris. It’s sunny, I thought. And I think they have decent wine. Whatever. No big whoop.

But every day I spent in Portugal upended my assumptions and revealed a brand new (and unexpected) passion for this little country that hardly anyone knows about.

But you should.

portugal culinary retreat via
portugal culinary retreat via

I don't say this lightly:

  • You need to feel the Portuguese sun on your shoulders and breathe in the briny scent of the sea.
  • You need to hear the poetry of Portuguese in your ears.
  • You need a break from obsessing about work and bills and obligations and to-do lists.
  • You need to put your feet up and sip crisp vinho verde from a terrace perched over the river Tejo.
  • You need to walk along cobbled streets that curve between pastel-hued houses.
  • You need to visit tiny fishing villages and centuries-old farmhouses and castles by the sea.
  • You deserve to relax. Slow down. Take in the intense beauty of this wondrous country.
portugal culinary retreat via

I fell hard. Head-over-heels. In love with Portugal.

I fell for its soft-ripened cheeses. Smoky charcuterie. Sultry wines. And the seafood!

Portugal is a country that understands seafood. You absolutely need to taste it, fresh off the line.

portugal culinary retreat via

Now I’m on a mission: 

I want everyone (but especially you--my beauty-savoring, culinary friends) to begin your love affair with Portugal.

Consider me your official match-maker.

Any travel tour or guide book can lead you to the typical tourist spots. But that's where everyone goes. And then you return from your vacation needing a vacation since your nerves are fried from all the planning and the the crowds.

That's why a lot of people don't travel as much as they should. It takes a good amount of time and effort to plan the perfect trip. And it can feel like a crap shoot in terms of the actual experience lining up with your dreams.

This October, all you need to do is book your ticket, pack your bags and show up! I’ll take care of the rest. You’ll leave Portugal feeling refreshed, reinvigorated and ready to re-enter your life with a joyful new perspective.

portugal culinary retreat via
portugal culinary retreat via

My mission is to create beautiful experiences for people.

Beauty brightens weary perspectives.
Beauty opens hearts and minds.
Beauty shifts priorities from the habitual ho-hum to our true desires.

It slows us down.
Unravels our complications.
Awakens our sleepy creativity.
Opens our eyes to what truly matters and what can fall away...

Traveling to far off places awakens our senses like nothing else can. 

We return to our lives feeling like a veil has been lifted. Things seem more crisp. More purposeful.

More beautiful.

portugal culinary retreat via

People who travel with me enjoy the luxury of ease and authentic, non-touristy, experiences specifically for lovers of beauty and cuisine.

Here's what I have planned for you in Portugal:

  • Two amazing hands-on cooking classes with local chefs
  • Food tours featuring local artisans crafting excellent products with love
  • An excursion to an organic farm in the country where we’ll taste local wines and cheeses, and dine al fresco. 
  • A visit to a fishing village where we’ll learn about centuries-old curing techniques, take a tour of the (lively!) fish market, and visit a tiny, locals-only restaurant for a traditional seafood lunch. Yum!
  • Plenty of opportunities to taste Portugal’s amazing wines and ports and learn how they’re made
  • Several cheese and charcuterie tastings. You will not believe how good the cheese and charcuterie are in Portugal! You’re going to want to fill your suitcases with this stuff.
  • Lots of tasting pastéis de nata and other delicious pastries  
  • Local guides who will lead us to the city’s hidden culinary gems. 
  • Neighborhood walking tours highlighting Portugal’s amazingly beautiful architecture and grand history
  • Visits to some of Lisbon and Porto’s most fantastic shops and markets
  • Delicious breakfasts, Portuguese-style
  • Lunch or dinner every day at local restaurants, traditional and modern 
  • Eight nights of accommodation at boutique hotels in Lisbon and Porto. (Hand-picked by moi, after much deliberation. They’re beautiful.) 
  • A bedroom all to yourself. (So you can chill out when you’re tired of being around other people and get a great night’s sleep.) 
portugal culinary retreat via
  • Transportation within Lisbon and Porto and for all excursions. Taxis! Subways! Trains! Boats! So much adventure!
  • Gratuities for local guides, instructors, drivers, servers and hotel staff. Because we’re nice like that. And because they work hard taking care of the details that make our stay extraordinary.
  • Free time to make your own discoveries. Sometimes the discoveries you stumble on to are the most memorable.
  • Personalized recommendations of Lisbon and Porto sights and shops for your free time--in case you need a little help figuring out what to do.
  • The joy of traveling with a small group of fellow food lovers!
portugal culinary retreat via
"I enjoyed everything! Our group was fun and Olaiya responded easily to our requests for seeing or doing this or that. The food was amazing, and I loved how we walked everywhere, which kept us hungry enough to eat all of the delicious food. The restaurants were carefully chosen and we chatted with each Chef towards the end of our meal. It was delightful!
Enjoying the sites and history fit easily between our planned events. Olaiya was amenable to moving things around based on our interests which made for a very personalized experience.
The trip was so well thought out, organized, and relaxed. I cannot wait for the next Portugal trip and traveling with the wonderful Olaiya!" -- Sonya
portugal culinary retreat via

The Details...

October 3-9, 2016.
The perfect time to visit Portugal, in my opinion.

7 days of eating, drinking, cooking and wandering our way through Lisbon and Porto!

Size of group:
6 (plus me)!

$4497 for seven carefree days of beauty and inspiration. And the food. Did I mention the food?

A 50% deposit is required to reserve your spot. The balance is due two months before we depart.

What's not included:

• Your airline tickets, taxes & baggage fees

• Travel insurance. Which is pretty nifty and I highly advise.

• Room service. 

• Gratuities for restaurant wait staff when you’re not with the group

• Meals when you’re not with the group

• Any activities or items not listed above

Cancellation policy:
Please be sure you can attend before booking. All payments are non-refundable.

portugal culinary retreat via

“The gladdest moment in human life, me thinks, is a departure into unknown lands.”  

– Sir Richard Burton

There are only 3 spots left. One of them is yours.



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