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Exploring Portugal like a local, with accessory designer Beatriz Jardinha

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31 Dec '21

Accessory designer Beatriz Jardinha took a trip down memory lane when she explored the picturesque seascape of the South-West coast of Portugal.

Author

Shriya Zamindar

On a quiet afternoon in Lisbon, Portugal, Beatriz Jardinha sits in her work studio, reminiscing about the adventures of the green valleys of Peru, the summer in Pushkar, India, and the exploration of her native homeland of Portugal. Jardinha’s view on vacations or travelling is a far cry from the predictable island paradise or European getaway that one might typically expect to hear. The designer loves to explore and is the kind of travel junkie who will never be satisfied with a surface level dose of adventure, which is why Portugal through her eyes is a unique account for all travel aficionados.

As she talks to us from her studio, peeking from behind her are canvases and aisles belonging to her visual artist boyfriend, scattered around. Next to the aisles is her workstation that has trinkets and shiny berrings covering the surface. A solitary red wall plays a dramatic visage for an antique-looking wood and glass cupboard in the studio where all her finished pieces are displayed. It’s a coworking space shared by her close friend, boyfriend, and herself. Although Jardinha’s set-up may be elaborate, she is ever ready to pack off for her next adventure, at any moment, and perhaps for any amount of time.

What are the things you will never travel without?

“I don’t think anything is really essential to me that I have to take. I am very free in that respect, I like to travel easy. I can always get clothes and essentials wherever I go,” says Jardinha, who is a true example of wanderlust-addicted individuals.

What do you look for in an ideal vacation spot?

“I look for places with a lot of culture and those that can be explored. I love the hidden rural areas rather than the city.”

The accessory designer moved to London a few years ago to gain experience and learn new skills of the trade. Experiencing the burgeoning creativity of London’s fashion scene, Jardinha especially remembers discovering her love for handcrafted items. “All these experiences were enlightening because I’ve always been amazed by the work done by hands, it gives you a certain freedom, and it became even more special after my time in India and Brazil,” muses Jardinha.

The designer learnt the traditional skill of handcrafting jewellery from precious metals during her time in India in 2015. Her friend, who was then living in India, convinced her to move there.

Portugal through her eyes is a different scenery though. “I have a weird connection with Portugal. It's an amazing place to live, the weather is amazing, my family and friends are here, but at the same time I have this feeling of FOMO, about living abroad,” she explains. For now, until her next call of adventure, Jardinha has temporarily placed her foot in her hometown, exploring the countryside ever so often to indulge her wanderlust spirit.

Jardinha’s Portugal

“The weather is amazing here, and the beach and the coast are wonderful. When I think about my future in Portugal, that is probably where I see myself, living a more chill life. Not that Lisbon is a busy city, but the coast of Portugal is beautiful and peaceful.” Some of Jardinha’s favourite things about the city are the majestic old buildings and squares that outfit a colourful sky. “Lisbon has a beautiful light. The sky turns purple or orange on some afternoons, it is really beautiful.”

Hidden Alcoves

Jardinha recommends taking a trip to the South-west coast of Portugal. She recently returned from a trip to the quiet coastal town of Vila Nova de Mil Fontes.It was a re-energising escape from work and the city, she says. “The best thing to do is to rent a nice place in the middle of nature, rent a car and visit different beaches every day. Buy fresh vegetables and foods at the local market, that's the vibe there.” Jardinha also suggests visiting the beach Praia do Malhão while there, which is surrounded by cliffs, basalt rocks, and deep blue ocean waves.

Local Markets

Expect lots of seasonal vegetables, fruits, and flowers. For Jardinha, who is vegan, it's pure joy to see fresh greens at the local market of Feira das Brunheiras– a must-visit when going to the Western coast. “You can also find a lot of basket makers making cute raffia baskets. Oh, and a lot of embroidered items created with antique techniques.” For meat lovers, the array of delectable ham and cheese is a popular category waiting to be explored.

Jardinha’s vegan dine-out hotspots

The designer finds that Lisbon’s Middle Eastern diners are fairly great places to indulge your taste buds, no matter your preferred food group, making it comfortable to bring a big friend group. Her go-to restaurant is Farès. It’s a super trendy restaurant that offers a huge menu. Another favourite that both her boyfriend and she often visit is the Janis Caffe. The designer swears by the cafe’s vegan burger.

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