Cascais Capers #PortugalPlots #28DaysInPortugal

If you were roaming around aimlessly on the streets of the fishing village of Cascais near Lisbon yesterday, you would have seen a strange sight- a man and a bear hugging each other in public.


That’s me, by the way, the big, fat one.


OK OK, I understand, not enough information.

I’m the brown one.

I get it, still not enough info.

OK, so I’m the hairy one.

Oh God, how do I explain

Aah, got it. I am the one wearing the sunglasses. All clear now? Can I please continue? Thank you.

Coming back to my story, the bear in the picture is Bruno, my best friend. And we are not hugging in the picture, I am trying to hold him back, because he is hell-bent on attacking his enemies all on his own.

“Have you gone crazy, Bruno?” I almost shouted at him.

“I’ve never been saner in my life,” he replied in a deep voice, which, to be fair, is his normal voice.

“But you can’t expect to go up against so many of them and win,”  I tried again.

“You don’t understand, do you,” he said plaintively, “It’s MY castle, and they took it from me by treachery. I have the blood of generations of martial killing machines in my veins, I can’t let my ancestors down like this. I’m going to reclaim my castle, so what if I am alone.”

“You are not alone my friend ” I said, hugging him again, “we shall do it together.”

And so, together, as one, we ran through the streets of Cascais, crossed the pretty squares…


stopping only to grab some sardines from the table of a hugely-surprised tourist


and finally, found ourselves at the beach.


“Are you sure about this?” Bruno asked me.

“Let’s do it,” I grinned and replied.

And then, taking a few steps back, we ran, and jumped, straight on to the beach, to reclaim Bruno’s sand castle from the kids who had won it from him in a game of cards.



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Ominous Obidos #PortugalPlots #28DaysInPortugal

With its picture-perfect vistas


and its white, yellow, and blue winding narrow streets,


Obidos was the textbook fairytale town.

But what we didn’t realize was, that like in all fairy tales, lurking just beneath this magical facade, was dark evil.


And we got the first indication of it when we entered the church.

From the outside  it was like any normal church, grand, imposing, beautiful.

But it was only when we ventured inside that we realized that this was not a church  but a bookshop.


What utter perfidy was this? We were shocked beyond words. And then we saw it. The book, which made everything clear… as mud, for those of you who cannot understand Portuguese.


We were on an animal farm, and we were in danger.

We quickly ran outside, and realized that the scenery had changed, and we were now imprisoned inside the high, impenetrable walls of a medieval castle.


Just as we were trying to find a way out, my world suddenly went dark, as if someone had put a dark cage around me. And then, I was scooped up, and I realized that I was in a gigantic cup, and a huuuuuge rabbit was just about to lift up the cup, and gobble me up.


I screamed,  I am not ashamed to admit, but there was nothing I could do. Within seconds, he had picked me up, and brought me close to his lips. I was gone for sure, and so, I said my last prayers, and waited for it to be all over.

And then, I heard a small creak, which progressively became louder, till suddenly, there was a loud CRACK, and I felt my cup, and me, falling towards the ground at a great speed.

I got up, dusted myself, and turned around to check what had saved me. And when I saw what it was, I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. For it was my greatest weakness that had now become my greatest strength. My weight had caused the rabbit’s arm to break off at the elbow, and all his evil plans had come to nought.


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Pasteis de Belem – A True Crime Story #PortugalPlots #28DaysInPortugal

She stood in a mile-long queue for an hour, while he sat on a bench twiddling his thumbs.


Finally, they gained entry into the sanctum sanctorum of Pasteis de Belem, and sat down to eat.


Orders were placed, for two if their legendary custard tarts. After a longish wait, they finally arrived, and like a true gentleman, he picked up the plate and said, “You first, my love.”


She was pleasantly surprised. He had never been so caring and courteous before. She stretched her hand to pick one up, when suddenly, a pigeon swooped down and swooshed by her head. She ducked to avoid getting hit, and just managed to save herself.

Recovering somewhat, she looked towards the plate…only to find that it was empty. He looked tenderly at her and said in a commiserating tone, “That damned pigeon ate both the pasteis.”

He would, of course, thank the pigeon later. It was tough on her, but had to be done, for these were the Pasteis de Belem pastels, and no can have just one!



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The Sexiest Show on Earth #PortugalPlots #28DaysInPortugal

They came in hordes, flocking to Praco do Comercio in Lisbon from across Europe, awaiting their turn.


“Are you here for the finals of the Eurovision contest like us?” I asked one of them.


“Are you crazy?” he scoffed, “we’ve come all this way to experience something we have been missing all our lives. We’ve come to visit…


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The Invitation

“Spend some time with me,” she said seductively.

I demurred, “Sorry sweetheart, we cannot give you the love and attention you deserve this time, but we will be back, and that’s a promise.”

“In that case, drinks are on me,” said Paris with a wink.



On a brief layover at the Paris airport, on our way to Lisbon for a month-long Portugal vacation. Cheers 🙂


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Game of Stones

With a spring in my steps, and a song on my lips, I I hoisted my bag on my shoulders and set out towards the home of the love of my life. I was finally going to meet her parents today, and ask for their permission to marry their only daughter. You would have thought I would be nervous, but with my winsome personality, and roguish good looks, how could they say No to me?

I took my usual forest trail to go towards her cottage. It was a bright and sunny day, the birds were chirping, the flowers were singing, it was almost as if the Gods themselves were blessing our union. I was half-way through my journey when suddenly, I saw something that I had never seen before- two large boulders right in the middle of the trail, blocking my path.

Photo prompt courtesy Sue Vincent

I looked left and right, but the foliage was so thick on either side that there was no way around the stones. I could go back of course, and take the longer main road, but that would mean an extra one hour, time that I did not have. I had to go to work after meeting my girlfriend’s parents, and could not afford to take too many leaves, now that I was going to get married.

All these thoughts swirling in my mind, I started climbing the rocks to go past them, when something pushed me, and I fell back on the ground. I looked up in shock and saw something that stunned me. The two ‘rocks’ had faces, and small but powerful arms and legs were jutting out of them.

Before I could react, one of them, in a deep voice, said, “Stephan, wait.”

I was shocked beyond belief. Not only could these rocks speak, they also knew my name.

The same rock continued, “Yes, we know who you are, and where you are going.”

I replied, “Errr…that’s creepy.”

The other rock now replied, in a female voice, “Not for us. The laws and norms of you humans do not apply to us. We are the last trolls left on this planet, and we need your help.”

That shook me even further, if that was possible. My head was getting all muddled up with all these strange happenings. But somehow, I managed to speak out, “Good morning trolls, but I am confused. You are among the most powerful magical beings in the world, how can I possibly help you?”

The male troll took a deep sigh and said, “We ruled this land for millennia, we were worshiped as Gods. However, in the last century, humans have mined and blasted us almost out of existence in their quest for making roads and reclaiming land for construction. Our brethren died one by one, trying to protect the rocks and mountains that formed their homes. Now, only the two of us are left, and we are weakened beyond belief.”

I could understand their grief and frustration, but I had places to go, and so I said, “That’s really sad to hear, O Great Ones, but how can I possibly help you?”

The female troll replied, “Around 15 days walk away, to the west, at the point where the earth meets the sea, there is a huge cave. It is made of white limestone, while every other cave in that region is black in colour. So, it should be easy for you to recognize it. In the cave is a huge diamond. This is no ordinary diamond, for it is the source of all the powers of us trolls. Go and get us this diamond, so that we can regain our powers and stop this mad rush for what you humans call progress.”

I thought about the quest for a few moments, and then asked, “But what is in it for me?”

The male troll replied, “Our blessings, and the satisfaction of saving us from extinction.”

I mulled over it, and then asked, “And when does this quest start?”

The female replied, “Immediately, we have enough power only to sustain ourselves for a month, just about the time you will take to get to the cave and come back. We can hardly move as it is, all our powers have left us.”

That finally convinced me, I could not allow this to happen.

I quickly opened my bag, and as I started fishing around in it, said, “I would have loved to help you, but there are two problems:

  1. I HAVE to meet my girl’s parents today at any cost; and
  2. For them to say yes to me, I need to be holding a steady job

But if I help you, neither can happen, for as you no doubt know through your residual magical powers, I am a demolition man at the mines.”

With that, I finally found the dynamite in my bag, set the charge, and walked away. I had already wasted too much time, my girlfriend and her parents would be waiting. I could always go for the diamond after our honeymoon.


Written as a part of  Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt.  

Trolls have always been a fascination with me since I visited their home country of Norway last year. I had done a series of posts on them during that trip, using photos of various locations there. In case anyone is interested, here are the links of some of those stories:



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I got out of my business partner Harry’s home, and started walking jauntily towards my car. Our long-running dispute about embezzlement from the company was finally over, and I couldn’t be happier.

But suddenly, everything became hazy, and I stumbled and fell.


Photo Prompt © Jill Wisoff

And then it hit me.

Poison in the wine….Harry….betrayal….

I somehow dialed 9-1-1 with my fumbling fingers. They’d be here soon, and I would be safe.

I knew I should not have had that wine, even though it was just a sip, but how else could I have convinced Harry that it was not poisoned!


98 words.

Written as a part of the Friday Fictioneers challenge, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (more details HERE). The objective is to write a short story in 100 words or less, based on the weekly photo prompt. To read many more wonderful, quirky, and fun stories inspired by this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

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