Roadtripping with my sister through Portugal and Spain we stumbled upon our home away from home. Thirty minutes outside of O Porto, we found a small village called Paço de Sousa. Here we stayed at what has been my all time favorite guest house experience at Solar Egas Moniz owned by the Vinha family.
After being on the road for a little over five hours traveling from Rioja, Spain- not to mention a little hungover and very tired from eight day packed road trip so far- we arrived at Solar Egas Moniz. We were greeted by name and with kisses on the cheek by the owners daughter Iva, she welcomed us with tea and coffee and a homemade chocolate cake from cook, Elizabeth. The cake was superb!! And exactly what we needed after our travels.
After we winded down Iva was helpful in getting us settled into our room- which was beautifully decorated. The decor throughout the house is very Portuguese shabby chic with hand knit accents made by her mother.
We took a rest and a shower and headed down for some dinner. (Iva did not arrange dinner from Elizabeth because we had not received her email in our travels on the road…). The family does offer dinner at the house prepared by Elizabeth. Asking for a nice place to eat some affordable yet delicious Portuguese food her father was quick to help. Before we knew it he was on the phone to his favorite regular restaurant he frequents with his buddies. He ordered our meals so they were waiting for us when we arrived. He made sure to tell them to treat us like family.
When we arrived at the restaurant we were quickly greeted and everyone knew we were coming. We were sat by a table of five Portuguese men that quickly engaged us in conversation, offered us wine and pastries and more wine, and more food and whiskey and more wine! To call the Portuguese only hospitable would not begin to explain how quick to give and share these people were with us.
After dinner, we headed back to the guesthouse where the family had waited up for us to share in a traditional Portuguese drink called Ginjinha- not to mention her father had specially made this batch. Ginjinha is a strong sour cherry liquor, the perfect nightcap. We shared stories about our travels, talked about our families, and shared in what felt like a brief moment in time…
The next morning we were greeted by Elizabeth to a full breakfast spread of fresh cut fruits, yogurt, fresh juice, homemade pastries, cereal, coffee, tea, whatever our heart’s desired- also fresh flowers- my favorite. The father bid us farewell on his way to work and helped us with directions to our next stop. Iva’s mother came to see us off and packed us food to take on the road with us.
It always hard to convey the true beauty of a place and the people through words. Driving away from the guesthouse I knew I had found more of my family within the world. I would absolutely re-visit the people of Paço de Sousa in a heartbeat and would highly recommend staying with the Vinha family.
Here are some of my other favorite photographs from the stay…