The statue of Infante D. Henrique (Henry the Navigator), sits pride of place in the Praça do Infante Dom Henrique within a few metres of the “Slave Market”. Born March 4th, 1394 Henry was an important figure in the Portuguese Age of Discovery and sponsored exploration voyages in search of new trade routes down the coast of Africa. In 1434 Gil Eanes set sail from the Port of Lagos in the Western Algarve. Although his voyage was initially a voyage of exploration, the ships returned with slaves, spices, gold dust, kola nuts, ivory, chilli pepper and birds.
The “Slave Market” (Mercado de Escravos), and the first in Europe was built in 1444, now opens its doors as a Museum.
Mercado de Escravos – (Slave Market)
Slave Market Museum, Lagos – Portugal
I’ve passed this innocuous looking building on many occasions without a second glance. But it’s only now that I’ve researched its dark history (no pun intended) I discover it was the first gateway to the slave trade in Europe. Incredible!
Other great explorers of this era include Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama and James Cook.
The theme for this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is “Unusual”.
There’s a pig’s ear on my plate!
This is an unusual photograph of a piglet’s ear. Yes, you read correctly, and what’s more, I was about to eat it!
Lunching with some friends I reluctantly ordered Leitão assado à Bairrada (suckling pig). “Okay, no pig deal,” I thought as squirmed in my seat not wanting to appear whimpish.
The last time I had suckling pig it was just like chunks of roast pork. No problem!
The problem comes when you talk, drink copious amounts of wine and you do not pay attention to what is served up on your plate. It was only when I readjusted my vision (I should wear glasses), paused with fork hovering over the offending article, turned it round for closer inspection, that I realised what it was and pushed it to one side in disgust.
“You’re not going to leave that, are you?” our friend asked.
I nodded, unable to speak.
“That’s the best bit,” he announced as he immediately stabbed the offending ear with his fork, and ate it!
The theme for this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge is The Golden Hour.
In photography, the “golden hour” is the first and last hour of sunlight of the day.
The golden hour – just before sunset
The last sunlight hour is my favourite time of day, and one I love to spend close to water. This particular evening I took myself to the beach with my writing notepad, pen and camera. What better place to be alone with your thoughts and write poetry…
As I lay motionless with camera poised a heron stopped to admire the view before continuing on his way.
Heron at sunset
The final photograph was taken at exactly the same time as those above but for some reason the exposure is totally different.
The Golden Hour
Camera: Panasonic Lumix FZ38 18 x optical zoom
All the above photographs were taken on Auto and not digitally enhanced.
When I saw the theme for this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge was “UP”, I immediately thought of this photograph! No, I was not persuaded to climb up a snaking ladder to the top of this enormous slide. As I pointed out, I may be cabbage looking but I’m not completely mad.
So, who’s daring enough to try one of these slides?
Every week WordPress posts a Weekly Photo Challenge and this week’s theme is Lost in the Details . The instructions direct from the horse’s mouth (aka WordPress) are “This challenge is about getting lost in the details”. Hmmm ponderous! The theme of the challenge was rather lost on me to begin with, until I downloaded the photographs I’d taken of Praia da Dona Ana beach.
Colourful sandstone cliffs at Praia da Dona Ana
I love the layers of colours in the sandstone cliffs and the shape of the rock formations carved out by the sea.
Rocks at Praia da Anna, Lagos, Portugal
There is also colony of birds nesting on the rocks, however my zoom lens was not powerful enough to take a really good close-up. I am not sure if these birds are Cormorants or Shags. I need to research further – what do you think?
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.
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.