The memories of holidays usually blend into one long warm and happy fuzz: beach, drinks, dinners, sleep. There are some days that stand out though, the really special days.

My parents came over to Portugal to celebrate my mom's birthday and we decided to take a boat to the outlying islands on the Rio Formosa (the river that separates the mainland from the Atlantic). We took a tiny fishing boat to navigate between the shores, it was low tide and we could see fishermen standing in the water, looking for crab, the skies were endless and blue and the wind smelt of the ocean.

We arrived to an island: a secret place where one can only get by boat. The island reminded me of a painting by a Latin American or Greek painter: lucid colours, turquoise water, white-washed walls, with strokes of blues, yellows and greens, a few small streets. It felt surreal, an outwardly Utopian place where time has chosen to run it's own pace, on one side it was faced the busy lagoon, on the other it met the ocean.

We sat down at a small local restaurant indulging in some delectable seafood: lightly fried baby squids, prawns, clams and a giant grilled fish. The freshest food from the ocean, pure in it's taste and simplicity.

Such  food of course called for an afternoon nap, which we decided to have on one of the nearby islands. After a 5-minutes boat ride we arrived on a small piece of land surrounded by a few shrubs, nothing but white sand and turquoise waters.

Yet despite the idyllic picture, nature, ever the box of surprises, had one up it's sleeve for us. It was the time for the tide to return. Omnipotent,  it came from the Atlantic, powering ahead and leaving no prisoners behind, the sheer speed of it was unbelievable. After 10 minutes we realised that our island was being eaten away by the tide. We moved further away from the fast disappearing edges, towards the middle of our little spot of land. According to our boat driver the tide would lose it's steam in a few minutes. Yet 15minutes later there was no more space for us to move, we were all huddled together surrounded by ocean. The boat driver swam to our now seemingly far away and lonely boat and took it right up to what was left of our island.

We headed to the closest island that was big enough not to sink under the unstoppable tide. The lack of people, the lucid colours, the adrenalin from the sinking island adventure, the smell of the island grass and the ocean - it was intoxicating, raw and liberating. Ever restless, I set out on a narrow yellow brick road to explore the island heading towards the only building I could see on the other side.  (OK maybe it was a wooden path but how wizard of Oz does it look on the photos? If Wizard of OZ was set in Portugal and not in Kansas I am sure the road would be exactly like this one). 
I arrived at the building after a few minutes, comes out that one man discovered this island a few years ago and built a modern yet simple wooden restaurant in the middle of it. All straight, sharp lines, this place felt like it was inspired by Le Corbusier, it was a little surreal, the only building for miles around. 
It was time to head back, unaware of the real size of this island I decided to do a full circle, and ended up walking along the beach, followed by a wooden path for what seemed like an eternity. Unsurprisingly, instead of sleeping my family were frantically searching for moi who in fact was away for almost an hour.

We jumped into the boat and headed back home. Our second island was now completely covered by water, apparently this was the highest the tide has been in many years. Sun was starting to set, soon it would be time to head back to Hong Kong.

Outfit: Dress American Vintage, hat Panama, glasses Ray Bans, shoes Bimba & Lola

On the photos Alex's mom, my mom (right) and my hubster. 


  1. Such a great place to spend the holidays there!

    Fashion Cat

  2. Beautiful and i love the 4th photo! miss you so much xx

  3. Beautifuuul pictures! cute hat xx

  4. gorrrgeous photos~ I could only imagine from what you've written how serene and beautiful this place is :)
    I was thinking for a moment: "where are photos of the tide-washed island?" hahaha, yeahh...we'll just leave it as a brain-fart moment.
    hope it was a splendid celebration!
    xoxo Diana