The Casa da Dina is one of those mysterious insider’s tip about which you hardly can find anything in the Internet. Although there are a rather spare homepage, half a dozend enthusiastic comments on tripAdvisor as well as some mousy web pictures, but nothing more. However, the little you get to see is still teasing and so we decided to check it out. Arriving at Casa da Dina we firstly realized that the whole facility, i.e. house, grounds and rooms/baths, was smaller than we assumed solely based on the pictures in the web. Furthermore, the four guest rooms were closely together in the attic of the house. That much closeness to other potential guests is not really what we are normally looking for, as mostly the night’s sleep depends on respective neighbours, which can backfire badly. Hence our first thought: borderline.
On the other hand, the appearance of the rooms – design, furniture and decoration – perfectly succeeded. The simple cement flooring, the all in white colouration and the unpretentious but stylish interieur pleased immediately. Everything was discreetly arranged, with a lot of feeling for the plain beauty. This soothing style was seen all over in the Casa da Dina, unspectacular but inherently consistent.
At the end of our tour through the house, we arrived at the living room, together with Dina and Walter, the two friendly hosts, and we had to admit that the first impression not necessarily has to be the right one. Our overall impression now: simply wonderful. So we booked two nights.
A decision, we did not regret, although the night’s sleep was not always great, partly due to country background noise (dogs, cocks, ducks, donkeys, cows), partly because of inevitable mosquito attacks. But alone the breakfast on the beautiful terrace, made up for any night sleep deficiency: fresh fruits from the garden, savoury goodies, homemade chocolate cake and “pasteis de nata”. Hence our conclusion: who knows how to bake such great sweets, must be able to cook deliciously and so we decided to take their claim of the house (“Casa da Dina – bed and breakfast and dinner) at face value and booked for dinner; nothing too complicated though, some meat, vegetables together with an honest, sound bottle of red wine from the region.
The grilled filet steaks they served that evening were of best quality. Upon request, Walter surprised by admitting that he was actually born in southern America, in Uruguay to be precise. Although he has been living in Portugal since many years, he continued, and despite of liking it very much he still cannot cope with the poor quality of Portugues beef. And that’s why you exclusively get beef from South America at Casa da Dina. About that we got to talking, over quality of food, quality of life in general and his life of art in the USA, where he also met Dina, who meanwhile joint us chatting.
We learned a lot about the history of their house, about the United States and Portugal and their reasons to leave the United States, only to return to the Costa Vicentina. As we went back to our room, we were once again pleased and felt confirmed: this kind of stories is what gives traveling the extra something. Life stories, of which google doesn’t know anything, which never will end up in facebook and which you only get to know if you turn off your computer and pack up your bags to follow some mysterious insider’s tip, for example to the Casa da Dina.