Guided tour of Braga

Follow Teresinha da Cunha Pinto’s trip to Braga.

Braga station: I have arrived in Braga. There I was in my window seat. The world running past and I wanted to catch it. And there I went, running away, sitting in my seat with eyes wide open to catch life and people, paths and the sun. It was my heart that was travelling.

This is where the trip begins. The Arco da Porta Nova was one of the city gates and it is now its oldest entrances. Coming in through the gateway is coming in through history and being part of it.  

Everyone is stunned by the age and beauty of Braga cathedral. It has been standing here for more than 900 years and its has remained faithful to itself generation after generation. It is the greatness of history you can feel within its walls and the silence of those who take a few minutes to contemplate and pray. 

"Coming to Braga and not having a coffee at the Brasileira, is like going to Rome and not seeing the Pope" – they said almost in unison. Jorge, Murilo and José are a few of the many customers who come here every day of the year to have the best coffee in town. The house traditionally serves drip coffee that tastes all the better because it is served by old-timer Francisco Marques. He has been working at the Brasileira for 27 years, as he tells us full of pride and happiness. It's the way he serves, the knowledge of every nook and cranny in the place, the talkative eyes and the patience to listen to others.

The morning goes by with snide remarks, laughter, fresh gossip and the news from the front pages. It's a great way of showng who you are and your pride in where you come from.

“Oh Miss, you really have to go and see for yourself” That's what they said, and that's what I did. No-one ever tried putting me off going to the  Jardim de Santa Bárbara.  Lucinda has worked in the garden for 20 years and I got the chance to meet her. Her life has been spent in the midst of the flowers and all the colours of the rainbow. She knows all the varieties by name and each one has its own secrets that earth lets flourish. Lucinda takes care of the garden as if it were her own and as if each flower was unique in the world. When the soul of the garden if its caretaker, it has to be the most beautiful garden in the world. 

The city's typical mince-filled puff pastries are called frigideiras' and are almost as old as the town itself. The first ones apparently were made in the "Cantinho". The 'Frigideira do Cantinho' was founded in 1796, and is the oldest party store of its kind in the town. The entire town 's tradition is baked into these wonderful delicacies. But don't take my word for it, you have to try them for yourself. The frigideiras are hand-made puff pastry filled with tender minced meat made using a secret recipe so the flavour never gets outs until you bite into it.  

See the trip photos here.