From the ancient castle walls to the historic town of Aljezur, and to the mountain of Monchique beyond.
This photograph was taken from the walls of the 10th Century Moorish castle of Aljezur in the Western Algarve. The castle, set high on the hill, has panoramic views across the rolling countyside, the historic town of Aljezur and to Monchique mountain beyond.
The situation regarding the invasive Red Palm weevil will never be resolved in Portugal (in my humble opinion) due in part to the apathy and laziness of the few. No action was taken when it first arrived in our area two years ago by some property owners as infested trees on their land were left to die untreated and the weevils then moved on to other host palms. Too little has been done too late and eventually the landscape of the Algarve will change as many of these majestic palm trees fall victim to the weevil and die.
Palm Tree infested with Red Palm Weevil, Western Algarve
Palm tree infested with Red Palm Weevil, left to die – Western Algarve
Some property owners cut down their infested trees and just dump them in the countryside, or on waste ground without any consideration for others or the environment. Their action is totally irresponsible and has no doubt contributed to the rapid spread of this invasive beetle.
Palm tree infested with Red Palm Weevil dumped on waste ground
Red Palm Weevil, Western Algarve – Portugal
Palm trees can be treated to help prevent infestation but for some this may not be an option due to ongoing costs etc
This post is inspired by the WordPress Weekly Photo challenge. This week’s theme is Resolved
Further information about the Red Palm Weevil can be found here
Azulejos are hand-painted tiles used to decorate properties in Portugal both internally and externally since the middle ages. They were introduced to by the Moors and originally decorated with geometric patterns in a single colour.
Living in a city I’m sure has many advantages, but I’ve always pondered on the problem as to where city-dwellers hang their wet washing to dry in these tiny trendy city apartments. Now I know!
How do people dry their washing in the city?
Living in a city aprtment – how do you dry your washing?
Drying washing in a city apartment
Every time I visit a big city claustrophobia washes over me, absorbs my consciousness and makes me feel anxious and dizzy. There are just too many people, too many cars, too much pollution and too much noise! I’m a beach and country person through and through as the hypnotic sounds of the sea and tranquility of the countryside brings a certain peace within.
I could NEVER live in a city.
The only plus side of city living I can think of is that I would not have to contend with the bug problem – just masses of people!
Perhaps looking at this photograph you would be forgiven for thinking the shot was taken in the heart of the country, and not in a small town in the Western Algarve.
Everyday life in the Algarve, but not as we know it!
When I captured this moment it was if I’d stepped back in time to another era and a totally different way of life in Portugal. I wonder how he feels about the changes to his everyday life. Are they better or worse?
Burro and cart in Portugal
What changes he must have witnessed after the Carnation Revolution in 1974, yet his life, to an outsider, seems unchanged. Did he resist change or is he trapped by poverty?
The theme for this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is “Wrong”.
I often reflect on the heated and ongoing debate about the traditional spectacle of bullfighting which is popular in several countries including Spain and Portugal. While some people refer to bullfighting as an “Art” others refer to it as “Sport”. Either way should people inflict pain on an animal in the name of sport or art?
Is it wrong?
As we drove through Spain we saw the iconic silhouettes of the Osborne Bull erected in prominent locations such as on hillsides or on the vast desolate plains. I did not appreciate the size of the bulls until, inspecting this photo more closely, I spotted the people below!
The iconic silhouette of the Osborne Bull in Spain
Originally created as part of an advertising campaign to promote Veterano brandy the iconic bull has over time been adopted as the unofficial emblem of Spain and used on many touristy items. I wrongly assumed these bulls symbolised bullfighting, but fortunately they do not (thank you Mr. Google)!
What a magnificent animal so why “bullfighting”?
Please share your opinion either “for” or “against” in the comments section below. I would be grateful if you would also take a moment to vote in the poll below – it will be interesting to measure my readers view.
Bullfighting in Portugal – Image from Wikipedia
Want to know more about bullfighting?
Check out Bullfighting on Wikipedia
Or should this be “10 useful facts I did not know about the Carob tree”?
Lacking inspiration for this week’s Wordpress Weekly Photo Challenge – theme: “Growth” , I stumbled across this picture of an old Carob tree (Árvore de alfarrobeiras). I’d taken the picture on our first geo-cache expedition and according to the accompanying blurb about the cache, this tree is over 100 years old! That’s one hell of lot of growth!
Carob Tree – Árvore de Alfarrobeiras
However, having unearthed the photograph I paused to consider this magnificent tree and the fruit it bore. I often eat alfarrobeiras (carobs) cake (tarte) in Portugal and it’s delicious! Curious to learn more about the carob I set sail on a “Google” voyage of discovery. Where would we be without the internet? I’m sure you know the feeling…
Several hours later my head spinning with facts and figures, and my fore-finger aching with mouse-fatigued I selected ten key facts.
An interesting exercise because I did not realise carobs are considered one of the “Healthy” foods.
10 Useful Facts About The Carob Tree (Árvore de Alfarrobeiras)
1. The Carob tree prefers a dry climate and is native to the Mediterranean.
2. The fruit of carob is called a pod and is edible.
3. The pod not only contains many small beans, but also a semi-sweet pulp.
4. Locust bean gum is made from the pulp of the pods and used as a stabilizer, emulsifier or thickener.
5. Carob pods contain iron, magnesium, calcium, vitamins A, B2, B3, and D plus etc.
6. Carob pods can be ground into flour and used as a cocoa substitute for chocolate flavoring.
7. Carob contain just 1/3rd of the calories of chocolate so great if you are on a diet.
8. Carob pods are almost fat-free - another plus.
9. Carob is non-allergenic – great if you are allergic to chocolate.
10. Carob has various other applications including the production of cosmetic facemasks, fodder for livestock and firewood to name a few.
In 2011, stranded in the UK due to the volcanic ash cloud we took the opportunity to visit many old towns and villages in the Cotswolds. Rather than taking their quaint charm for granted we viewed the architecture with fresh eyes and appreciated its character as tourists.
The picture below shows the inside of a typical English pub in the Cotswolds. As we entered the pub its interior felt cosy and welcoming, beckoning me to stay longer. I closed my eyes just a moment, and transported back in time I imagined sipping a good red wine on a cold winter’s evening. A roaring log fire burned in the hearth and mesmerised by the flames I felt warm inside. Memories such as these make me feel nostalgic for familiar surroundings.
Nowhere in Portugal, I have found, compares to the ambience of a typical old English Pub.
Last week, on a grandparents day out, we took our little granddaughter to a huge lake with a beach and supervised swimming area. Once we’d found a suitable shady area to set up camp, laid out her blanket so she had a place to crawl, she sat motionless – almost mesmerised as she surveyed all before her. Watching her so lost in her own thoughts I wondered what she could be dreaming about.
Is she looking at the breathtaking scenery or dreaming about playing in the lake?
Could it be the breathtaking scenery or the children swimming and playing on inflatable toys on the lake, squealing with delight as they splashed each other. Or perhaps she felt sorry for the little boy who stood at the water’s edge crying because he was too scared to go in the water. Maybe she wanted to join them, but the look on her face was that of far deeper concentration. How I wished I could ask her to share her thoughts and dreams.