The Maldives – Political Situation

Thank you to all the friends who have emailed me noting that I got out of the Maldives just in time due to the 15 day State of Emergency… The reality of the situation may be unclear to someone who has not visited the islands and atolls… it reminds me of the political unrest that has plagued Nairobi and people asking if they are safe on safari in the bush hundreds and hundreds of miles away…the response is Yes you will be safe in these areas. 
This note is from the Four Seasons to their guests: Political situation in Male
On February 5, 2018, the Government of Maldives declared a 15-day state of emergency. Political events in the Maldives are typically confined to the capital island of Malé and do not affect the resort islands.
The situation in the capital is calm. Malé International Airport which is located on another island (Hulhule), separate from the capital, is operating as usual. We do not expect any disruption to air services.
Four Seasons Resorts Maldives continue to operate as usual – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa, Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru, Four Seasons Private Island at Voavah and Four Seasons Explorer look forward to welcoming our guests.
Rest assured that you will have a fantastic holiday, if you choose to continue your holiday as planned. Should you prefer, I would be more than happy to have my manager call you and explain the situation.
We still endorse the Maldives as a divine location to visit and we will be sharing our stories in upcoming posts!

The People You Meet Along The Way

Meandering through cities, wandering across ancient stone hallways of massive churches and monuments in the countryside, occasionally we pass a farmer and his wooden stand along the side of the road,  I always make a point to stop and investigate the local produce they grow. I have a photo of myself along a rural road in France, wallet open, letting a withered old farmer pull Francs out of my wallet for the bag of walnuts I purchased. We communicated with nuts, he may have robbed me of Francs, but I’ll never forget the simple encounter.

In Portugal, everyone snacks on sweets, I love dark chocolate, but multiple sweet stops is not high on my list, thus if I encounter a vendor selling nuts or fruit, I line up front & center!

The Convent of Christ, Tomar Portugal

A historic visit in Tomar to the Convent of Christ, originally a 12th-century Templar stronghold, the order was dissolved in the 14th century the Portuguese branch was turned into the Knights of the Order of Christ, that later supported Portugal’s maritime discoveries of the 15th century. The convent and castle complex is a historic and cultural monument and was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983. Filled with cloistered rooms, numbered crypt laid under the stone floor, radiant religious Portuguese tiles and fading frescoes.

An upper rampart view provided an elevated view of the original vegetable and fruit gardens which sustained many people hundreds of years ago. These empty buildings and grounds are haunted by interesting stories.

Gardens at the Convent of Christ, Tomar Portugal

On departing, I turned back toward the garden and to my surprise a woman had set up a fruit trolley while we were inside the convent. Perfect- healthy snacks. Helia spoke a bit of English, and my guide translated for me… I carried that little bag of dried figs around for days, noshing from a local garden. She had a basket of small wild strawberries, that she fermented – just the aroma of the liquor was too much, so I didn’t indulge in the local berry liquor, but I did buy a large bag of dried oregano! I’ll be reminded of this simple exchange whenever I stir the fragrant oregano into a delectable salad dressing or marinade.

Helia’s Fruit & Vegetable Trolley – The Convent of Christ, Tomar Portugal

Wild strawberries and Fermented berries in jar- too strong to taste!

Helia, a local woman selling her fruit, spices and vegetables at The Convent of Christ, Tomar Portugal

Through The Frame