Select Page
Local Legend – Francisco Batista (Portugal)

Local Legend – Francisco Batista (Portugal)

local legend circle cut out man white 05

Local Legend Profile

Introducing our Local Legend Francisco, affectionately known locally as ‘Chico’. 

Francisco Batista’s story

Chico grew up in the beautiful Portuguese town of Sintra, a true gem set in the foothills of Portugal’s Sintra mountains. The national park there stretches from the hills to the beaches and the forested terrain is scattered with charming pastel-coloured villas and palaces. 

As a boy, Chico was captivated by the mystery and magic that surrounded him, and his mother was very often to be found searching for him during one of his childhood adventures, exploring his beloved Sintra landscapes, described by Chico as his ‘playground’. Cursing his wild streak, Chico frequently returned home tired, dirty, covered in cuts and bruises, and even with the odd broken arm! Regardless of his mother’s despair, this wild streak and determination to explore every inch of his beloved homeland only grew stronger, developing into a passion for extreme sports, vintage jeeps and local nature. 

These days Chico has successfully managed to combine all of these passions and uses them as a way to introduce his beloved Sintra to visitors from around the world. The result is a unique, fascinating, and intimate guided tour of the region.

During this experience, guests should expect to discover the romantic palaces, mystical forests and hidden corners of Sintra and Cascais by vintage jeep. To be guided by a true local legend who has been exploring the region since he was a child.

Highlights

  • Exploring the hidden corners of Sintra otherwise not accessible by car
  • Travelling in the back of an open-air, vintage Portuguese UMM Jeep
  • Meeting Chico’s childhood friends who are now local chefs, business owners and who work in the palaces
Francisco 'Chico' Batista
Francisco 'Chico' Batista
{

Chico says

I’ve been called a Jack-of-all-trades, but you can call me ‘Chico’.

Some kids grow up dreaming of fairy tales. They imagine kings and queens living in mountain-top palaces, a kaleidoscope of colours. Or maybe they picture magical forests filled with fairies, hidden treasure, or even ghosts! I didn’t have to imagine. All those mysterious legends surrounded me as a little Portuguese kid, exploring his wild streak. I always try to show Sintra’s secret spots, those intriguing places where no one else goes. That´s what keeps our experiences so unique and compelling. I also love to incorporate surprises during the tour for the guests to make the experience memorable.

Local Legend – Cesar Sequeira (Portugal)

Local Legend – Cesar Sequeira (Portugal)

local legend circle cut out man white 05

Local Legend Profile

Introducing our Local Legend, Cesar Sequeira, owner of Quinta de Morrocos family estates.

Cesar Sequeira’s story

Cesar Sequeira was born in 1943 within the region of Régua, Northern Portugal, to a family of wine producers. The Sequeira family ran a collection of family estates (Quinta da Morrocos) surrounded by beautiful vineyards and this was affectionately known as home to Cesar. Life was simple, based around family and community.

Cesar met his sweetheart and late wife Maria Elisa shortly before he first left the family home to complete a PHD in Chemical engineering at London’s Imperial College. Maria Elisa followed Cesar there and remained by his side, encouraging him to follow his dreams and indeed creating her own.

In 1979 Cesar and Maria Elisa took over the running of the family wine business. Until then it had been in the safe hands of his grandfather and uncle. Shortly after, Cesar, inspired by his wife, began the process of certifying the family wines and ports and succeeded in opening their production to Wine Tourism, bringing international prominence to the Douro region. Cesar describes himself as calm but with a love of meeting people and sharing his and his family’s story. It was this love of people and the warm nature of the Portuguese spirit that led to the opening of their home, enabling guests to experience the charm of the family Quintas.

During this experience, guests will hear the story of the family wine estate from Cesar, now run by him and his children. You will sample some delicious wines and share some tasty local dishes prepared by his family. You’ll also learn about the winemaking process itself. During harvest time, you can even try picking the grapes by hand and stomping them by foot.

Highlights

  • Meet and connect with Cesar and his family and share the story of the family wine estates
  • Sample the family wines and home cooked food and learn a little about the wine making process
  • Be guided around the family Quintas and picturesque vineyards
Cesar Sequeira
{

Cesar says

I am a storyteller and feel lucky to have a fascinating story to share.

I enjoy our rural life, with no interest in luxury and very little time or talent for technology. Every day I manage to disconnect my mobile phone unintentionally and succeed in the destruction of the settings of the TV.

I love to learn about each person who visits, it allows me the privilege of learning about their culture! I have simple pleasures, reading, writing, family and sharing my children’s home-cooked food. I believe firmly it is possible to grow without losing simplicity and whilst remaining genuine.

Local Legend – Amílcar Lourenço (Portugal)

Local Legend – Amílcar Lourenço (Portugal)

local legend circle cut out man white 05

Local Legend Profile

Introducing our Local Legend, Amílcar Lourenço, professional surfer and bespoke surfboard shaper.

Amílcar Lourenço’s story

Amílcar Lourenço known locally as ‘Mica’ grew up by São Lourenço Beach in Ericeira, a beautiful spot in Portugal where the beach is renowned for its surfing and big waves. Growing up beside the sea gave Mica a great feeling of calm and ease with the ocean and from an early age, it became centre stage in his life. As a young boy, Mica’s path into surfing was a natural one.

What started initially as a hobby, progressed at the age of 15 when Mica took a job working for one of Portugal’s most established surfboard factories, earning him enough money to buy his first precious surfboard. His fascination grew rapidly and very soon he became an outstanding surfer, mastering his own fast and polished style. His magic with a surfboard earned him sponsorship deals and championships and before long he was participating in both national and European competitions.

Not content with being a champion with a surfboard at his feet, he followed what he had learnt at a young age and began creating bespoke surfboards by hand. This allowed him to marry both his passions, combining surf with his artistic flair and in 2005 he left professional surfing to set up his own business, custom-making surfboards: Mica Surfboards was born. 

Mica works closely with his clients, monitoring their style in order to create a bespoke handmade board especially for them. The end goal? To maximise their progress as a surfer.

During this meeting with Mica, guests should expect to meet a true Local surfing legend. To hear his stories of growing up by the ocean and becoming a professional surfer as well as marvelling at Mica’s work and learning a little more about the skill of surfboard shaping.

Highlights

  • Meet and interact with this fascinating Local Legend in the beautiful town of Ericeira
  • Hear his stories of becoming a professional, surfing champion!
  • Learn some of the skills of surfboard shaping and take a look at some of Mica’s work
Amílcar Lourenço profile picture
{

Mica says

I am pleased to share my story with you, and I hope you can share my enthusiasm. Giving back something to the place I was born and learned so much from is very fulfilling. Building surfboards is my passion, my love, and my life. It is what I do.

Local Legend – Chouny Thidavanh (Laos)

Local Legend – Chouny Thidavanh (Laos)

local legend circle cut out woman dark salmon copy

Local Legend Profile

Introducing our Local Legend Chouny Thidavanh, a talented chef with a passion for food and sharing Laotian cuisine.

Chouny’s story

Chouny was born and raised in the countryside 21km north of the sleepy town of Luang Prabang. As a young girl, her life was very busy taking care of her younger siblings, cooking for the family and helping her parents on their farm. Huge responsibilities for such a young age. At nine years old she took a bold leap of faith and left her family and hometown to stay with relatives in Luang Prabang to pursue her education.

Chouny describes this as a life-changing decision, bringing about so many of the positive changes she enjoys today. After graduating from high school, Chouny joined the hospitality industry, working as a chef in a well-established hotel in this beautiful town. This was when Chouny fell in love with cooking and grew in confidence, meeting and sharing cooking skills with many colleagues and guests.

Her life was to take a further change when she got married and had children. Not quite ready to leave her passion for food behind, she was torn between her work life and her other true passion, her family. Earlier this year Chouny decided to combine her two passions, cooking and family, and now she is offering home-cooked family meals from the setting of her home, a beautiful traditional wooden house with a breath-taking view of the valley.

Chouny is a self-described shy character with a determination to share her story and her beloved Laotian cuisine with those who would like to learn.

During this experience you should expect a real meaningful connection with a Laotian family, to sample delicious home-cooked local food and to understand Chouny’s story from childhood to today.

Highlights

  • Meet Chouny and hear her story of success!
  • Interact with a real Laotian family
  • Sample some delicious home-cooked Laotian food
cork trekking & wine tasting 2
{

Chouny says

I am immensely proud I was brave enough to leave all that was dear to me at such a young age and to follow my education. I love sharing my story with other people and would like them to feel how this has impacted my life so positively. Other than my story, I would love for them to understand my determination to succeed and also to enjoy my home and share some laughs and stories of our food and culture.

Local Legend – Mr Nam Sy (Vietnam)

Local Legend – Mr Nam Sy (Vietnam)

local legend circle cut out man white 05

Local Legend Profile

Introducing our Local Legend, Mr Nam Sy, war hero, storyteller and survivor.

Mr Nam Sy’s Story

This is a truly inspirational story of survival and strength of spirit. Born into a revolutionary family in Can Tho, a town on the banks of the Mekong River in Southern Vietnam, Nam Sy’s father was part of the revolutionary army fighting for the liberation of his homeland of Southern Vietnam from foreign occupancy.

Despite Nam Sy’s best attempts to follow advice from an army commander to pursue his education, he couldn’t resist the urge to join the war effort at the age of 15, distributing leaflets and offering any support he could. 

Nam Sy learned very quickly the dangerous reality of war. Tragically he was caught and imprisoned in the Can Tho prison, known as the ‘Large Prison’, in 1968. He spent four traumatic years there and speaks of the torture he and his fellow inmates endured daily. Still active despite their obvious restrictions, they regularly connected with outside fighters and taught new prisoners about survival and spirit. Nam Sy was part of a six-man real-life prison break operation, where tragically he was one of the two unsuccessful prisoners to break free, his punishment saw him moved to Chi Hoa and then Con Dao prisons where his ordeal continued.

Guests meeting Mr Nam Sy should expect to hear a humbling story of suffering and survival; to learn the true atrocities of the war and feel a real authentic connection from an inspirational, brave war hero.

Highlights

  • Visit the Can Tho Large Prison with a surviving former prisoner
  • Hear first-hand the tales of how Mr Nam Sy time spent in Can Tho prison
  • Connect with a true Local Legend
Mr Nam Sy
{

Mr Nam Sy says

I was part of the war from a young age. The memories for me are as present today as they were then. Together we will return to the Can Tho Prison, where I was captured and tortured. I am an older man now, a storyteller and a survivor.  I take joy and pride in sharing my country‘s history and wish for guests joining me to learn first-hand the pride and bravery of the Vietnamese people.