Category Archives: Portugal

Precision flying

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No matter how small the fire, everything is thrown at it to avoid escalation. Whatever the cost, it seems a sensible policy. This fire was a few kilometres from us and our closest “helicopter dipping pool” was used. These small reservoirs are located all over the wooded parts of Portugal. Depending on the source, forest coverage is 35-40%.

Amazing zoom photos courtesy of my mother on a recent visit.

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Shoot from the hip – Lisboa

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Last weekend friends invited us to stay in the apartment they had booked in Lisbon. After the family member who was meant to be in the second room cancelled, there was an opening! We were heading down to the big smoke to collect my mum from the airport anyway, so it all worked out beautifully. In preparation, they’d even organized a sleep-over for Juta the dog. How could we refuse!

This wasn’t a tick-off-the-big-5 sight seeing type of trip, but an indulgent eating and drinking amble through some of the city’s back streets.

In our little hideaway from the world in the “provinces” we realised we’d forgotten that there is much, much more to Portugal than how it looks an how things are done round here. Of course a big city is going to be busy, we get that. Lisbon is a capital city, like most others, with an international outlook and where people buy stuff. Look at all the shops with shiny things! And look at that guy’s suit; his outfit must cost as much as our house!

For a couple of recent converts to the dark side of veggie, or vegan as it’s commonly called, the real eye opener for us was that the veggies seem to have have taken a foothold. Yes – in Portugal! The area we were pottering about seemed like every third café and restaurant was veggie and vegan friendly. Trumpet fanfare please – Portugal we love you more.

As we were to be led from one indulgence to the next, I was conscious of holding up the party if I got carried away and put my photography head on. Aligning lamp posts or waiting for the perfect splash in a fountain was not going to win friends. So the theme of this blog was set just before I took the first shot. The camera stays strapped to the shoulder, no looking through the viewfinder. Set the aperture and let the camera do the rest. See something interesting – click. Shoot from the hip. So pretentious. Enjoy!

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I had a request from a certain lady to recreate this elegant stone work in the garden. Keep dreaming.
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The atrium of a vegetarian restaurant. Eating veggies and feeling like a vegetable in a big green house.
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A pro-life demonstration. Later we saw an abortion clinic with flowers placed at the door. We don’t have to agree, but great respect to civilized voicing of opinions. Nothing smashed and I presume nobody hurt as there were no sirens.
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Love the crazy angles. No beer or wine consumed at this point in case you were wondering.
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Ooh yes, a pair of white plastic framed glasses at 400€ for me.
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An ale house. Specialist beers from Portugal and all around the world. You heard it here: beer and Portugal in the same sentence. That afternoon a new brew by an Aussie and a Portuguese was launched. We had a discussion comparing prog-rock to their new beer. Not an instant hit single, but after a little while the 10 minute drum solo with harps sounds pretty cool. Or something.
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No dearest, I can’t do that either.
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Art Nouvaeu 1890-1910. Inspired by organic forms and structures with extensive use of curved lines. Is it just me or is it getting hot in here?
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Marathon man. In the lead for now…
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Historic regatta or we’re about to convert to Islam again. They’ve come back for Moor. I know it’s a bad joke, but look, knitted love hearts around a sign post!
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No…
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Traction Avant, I bow to you.
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Lofty ceilings with tile art in the metro. Bonkers, but likeable.
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Game of two halves

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Our neighbours are such friendly and generous people. It’s all been going along nicely with them popping over or stopping as they pass to hand over a bag or two of home grown, picked and brewed goodies. Call the initial gifts a welcome to the village. If it was a match this is just the pre-season friendly. A warm up to test fitness and try combinations of those young players desperate for a spot.

Sarah has been creating wonderful things in the kitchen. Onion marmalade/relish, cinnamon plum jam and spicy chutneys to name a few. These are our opening shots in Portugal’s National League of Home Produced Stuff for the Neighbours. Really should work on that acronym. The Portuguese love anything with sugar, so a jar of this stuff is going to be a winning shot in the back of the net. One jar of onion marmalade delivered. Bam, you can’t come back from that! 1 – 0. Thank you and good night.

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But that was just the first half. It appears sitting back and defending doesn’t work. The response was a bombardment of vegetables which made the score an embarrassing 6 – 1. Damn it. Next time we’ll get them.

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The other day I saw a flatbed truck pulling up to deliver some 1000 litre water tanks to a neighbour. They aren’t that heavy, but can be a pain to move in a tight spot because they are cube-shaped and a bit bulky. I was already in gardening clothes, so let the lady of the preserves know what I was doing, grabbed my heavy duty gloves with the hole right on the soft fleshy bit between the thumb and forefinger and headed out the side gate to see if I could lend a hand. By the time I arrived, the tanks were already plonked in a random way like a handful of giant die tossed in a field opposite the neighbour’s house. Gate being closed “no help thank you, I will do it later”. “Hey you want some vegetables?”. Me, confused look, “Umm, sim obrigado!” Having done nothing I returned home, still with confused look on face and wondering how I was caught off guard, with two plastic bags full of vegetables that were picked fresh right in front of me. I think we just lost that one 6 – 0.

My contribution:

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The response from team Portugal:

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These guys play dirty, not sure we can win this…