Aveiro: the portuguese Venice
January 1, 1970
by Andreia Rodrigues
Aveiro it’s a beautiful city in the center of Portugal and it’s well known for it’s famous “Ovos Moles” and for the beautiful channel across the city, reason why a lot of people call it the “Portuguese Venice”. It’s only 70 km away from Porto. It’s a place that you should take some time to visit when coming to Portugal and an amazing place to live, here you can find the nature and the urban part are connected all around (and the people are amazing as well).
History of Aveiro
So now I’m going to start by telling you something about the history of this city. The proximity to the sea and the salins (by the
way you can still visit some salins and see the process of making salt in Aveiro, it’s worth the time visiting them) attract a lot of people and soon this land started to get richer and in the 16th century it was a very important port for the ships that went to the New Earth (the sea in the north of Europe that they used to go to fish good codfish, of course if we are talking about Portugal codfish and salt will always be connected to each other).
All went well but it wasn’t everything a sea of roses and in the year of 1575 a huge storm arrived to this city and the port was closed by the sand and everything changed because the stagnated waters that remain when the connection to the sea was closed originate a lot of fevers and people get sick and some of them decease and the population decrease as well. Only after more than two centuries trying to connected the Ria to the sea everything normalizes when in the year of 1808 they built the “Barra Nova” (new bar) that finally connected again the Ria and the sea (You should visit the “Barra Nova” not only because it’s a beautiful beach with a lot of importance to the city history but also because you can find there the tallest lighthouse of Portugal).
Typical Boats of Aveiro: Moliceiros
All around the city you can see along the “Ria de Aveiro” some small and colorful boats and they are called “Moliceiros”. They are a work boat that are typical from there but although they are used to work on the pick-up of “moliço” (a type of seaweed typical from there) they are very colorful and a little humorous as well (I guess they like to go to work happy, so the boat it was always there to make sure that happen). Actually because of the pesticides the “moliço” don’t have so much demand and usually this types of boat nowadays have other use and the most common one is the tours around the channels around the city (that’s something that if you come to Aveiro you must certainly do, it gives you another point of view to the city).
Once a year in July or August it occur the “Festa da Ria” in Aveiro and one of the events of this festival that celebrates the ria and everything connected, is the regatta of the “moliceiros” where you can see a lot of the exemplars of this type of boat together (it’s a beautiful image and you should try to come to the city when it happen, it’s only once a year and it’s amazing to see all this colorful boats together, giving the ria a new look).
The Most Amazing Sweet of Aveiro: Ovos Moles
And now because we are talking about a portuguese city and one of the best things in Portugal is the food let’s give you some water on your mouth talking about the traditional pastry of Portugal, the Conventual Pastry. This type of pastry was origin a long time ago in the convents by the nuns but only after the Portuguese Discoverys in the and centuries it was the big boom. With the extra sugar that arrived for the Portuguese colonies, such as Brazil, the nuns start to make more experiences and more pastries adding to the sugar the eggs yolk that usually went to trash or for the animal after separated them for the eggs white that they used back them for so many other things such as iron their cloths or making the communion wafers. It was the beginning of lots of different pastries but they all have in common the huge use of egg yolk and sugar and a lot of them also used almond. This type of pastry leave the convents when the religious orders in Portugal was extinct and the nuns start to make this pastry outside and passed the recipe for the families who welcome them making of it a way of living.
Aveiro isn’t a exception and the conventual pastry that is the symbol of the city it’s the famous “Ovos Moles”,
translating word by word it mean Soft Eggs.
This sweet it’s only made with egg yolk, sugar and a little of water and you can find them inside some typical small pipes that are very colorful and usually are very attractive it’s like you can take some piece of the city to record after eating everything. You can also find them inside some hosts and when they come like that they usually assume different forms all of them connected to the sea such as fish, shells or whelks. In my opinion inside the hosts it’s a better way to taste them while you’re there and you should buy a pipe to go with you because when you eat it you still have some souvenir to remember the city. (In that department I recommend you to visit the “Oficina do Doce”, there you can see how to make them, hear it’s full history and taste them in the end of the visit. You can also visit the convent where this sweet was origin, it’s the “Convento de Jesus”, it’s a beautiful space and it contains inside museum of the city).
I guess I already told you all about the amazing things you can see when visiting Aveiro but you should as well go for walk around the whole city or if you prefer you can ride a bike around because one of the things the city also have to offer it’s the BUGAS (Bicycles of Free Use of Aveiro), that’s a bike that you can rent for free so you can see the city as you like.