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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Montalegre and surrounds

Montalegre is where Cabrillo was born.  Cabrillo was the navigator who initially discovered San Diego.   

Nearby is the Alto Rabagao dam and reservoir.  Many ghost fishermen were partaking of the fish in the reservoir. 

Bells in the tower by the Montalegre castle

Ancient baptismal font?  

How attractively you play with your dolly!  This was a cart sitting across the street from the restaurant we ate at.  Apparently every Friday the 13th, they have a festival and parade here.  

The stairs into our restaurant, from the vantage point of dolly above.  

A mannikin advertising his meat and fish.   

Montalegre Castle.  

This pyromaniacal gentleman was setting off fireworks, as part of a non- Friday not the 13th parade happening in the town.  We could see the parade march along from our vantage point in the castle.  And we eventually found the parade route and watched some directly as well.  When he finished the sack full of pyro technics, he went back to his car and got more.  Each went bang bang bang bang: 3 sets of four bangs. 

Here is Cabrillo's monument.  

Directional signs.  From here, you can get most anywhere.  

Vilarinho Seco

Vilarinho Seco is an old heritage town.  They are no longer allowed to make modifications to the external look of the town.  Two things were new in the town: all the house numbers appeared new, and the electrical fixtures appeared recent and professionally attached.  So they had running electricity.  Not clear they had running water, but there was a lot of available water in the village, running straight out of the taps along the main road. 

This is a water driven mill.  As the stream goes past, it turns a wheel which grinds the grain.  This was a 'vertical' mill.  I guess the stone or water wheel is placed in a non-standard direction compared to most mills in the area. 

Thatched roofing.  

Water for the humans.  

A little chapel built by the owners of one of the houses on either side of the street.  

Storage facility, meant to keep the food cool and dry.  Possibly designed also to keep rats out.   

These two gentlemen were sitting against the water trough that the animals drink out of.  Both characters were happy to talk to us.  No doubt they thought about us about what we thought of them, odd local (non-locals) good for some information about the world beyond our usual boundaries. 

I asked them, through my blogwife interpreter about the electricity.  They said they'd had electricity for perhaps 20-30 years now.  I was a little surprised as the electrical hookups seemed so brand spanking new. 

Porto Along and Over the Douro River

Bridges and objects along the Douro river on approach to and in Porto. 

Every bridge is different. 

A high bridge, with what looks like trolley car or train electricity cables. 

A steel railroad trestle bridge in Porto.

Silhouetted against the evening sky.  

A close up picture of the Dom Luis two level bridge.  The other photographers are capturing the wrong picture.  Upstairs carries trains, downstairs carries cars and pedestrians.  If you don't mind a traffic jam, take a car across. 

Pousada do Porto, naturlich.  An inn to stay at.  

Chimney in front of apartment building.   Whatever they cook in that oven, it must be good. 

Signs from Porto and Northern Portugal

Another in our popular series on signs of the times.  These signs come from Porto and the north of Portugal. 

Imperial McDonalds.  No kidding.  Letting Portugal know who's boss. 

This car of the train is for (i) Handicapped folk, (2) People with baby carriages and (iii) People with surfboards.  I've always put those three classes of people together.  

Sadly, the World of Music Megastore closed.  

This is the high water mark set in 1909 in Chaves.  The next photo gives a little perspective.  

That's the bridge and your friendly neighborhood photographer shadows.  We saw a picture of the bridge earlier.  The water line is visible at the bottom.  Someone's house got wet that year. 

Water fit for human consumption.  

Old school street.  

A personal favorite.  Watch out for old couples walking along the road and him with a cane.  This particular sign was out in the middle of nowhere. 

Another warning: Beware of centaur shooting arrow. 

A Water Visit to Porto

We traveled along the Douro river.  The trip ended in Porto, and we have a few posts with pictures from Porto.  Porto is a grand decaying old city.  The water front along the Douro river is spectacular, and there are other buildings of interest. Some pictures are from the boat, some are from our walk in the city.  

Another cruise boat on the Douro, and the city as backdrop. 

The waterfront, and the houses along the water.  Note the tarps, umbrellas, wash, and satellite dishes hanging off the homes.   

Close up of the umbrellas house, with streamers along the balcony.  

City hall spire.  

Nude woman with seagull hat.  

City scape along the water and below the castle wall.   

Eau de Chaves

Some water related scenes from Chaves.  A beautiful series of parks and bridges ran along the river. 

Stepping stones across the river, with blogdaughter.  Blogson made it across, there was one stone in the middle missing, requiring a leap of faith as well as a leap to cross.  A man on this side of the river told us that the previous kids to cross had fallen into the river. 

An interesting take on a bridge.  I like that the Portuguese will experiment with different types and styles of bridges.  

A smaller bridge across a tributary draining into the Tamega, the main Chaves river.  

The Roman bridge across the water -- now a pedestrian crosswalk.  

Reflections on the water.  

Vidago, Portugal

Vidago is near Chaves on the road from Lisbon.  We stopped for a short visit. 

This church sat at a top of the hill.  Personally I'd be inclined to place a castle here, but it's true, there isn't much demand for new castles any more. 

The bell tower in the back and perhaps a shed or baptismal room adjacent to the church.  Love the stonework.  

The view and the steps down from the church.  

A prehistoric Cro-magnon picnic bench.  

Friday, July 29, 2011

Chaves, Forte de Sao Francisco

Forte de Sao Francisco is one of two forts in Chaves.  We did not get to see the other.  Beautiful and interesting landscaping.  Not to many people in view, and I wondered how the workers were getting paid. 

Rooftops.  From the walk to or from the Fort. 

Portuguese are always ready for a battle.  

Bicycle sculpture.  There was quite a bit of sculpture around Chaves.  

Door and mini-tower for observing the walls.  Also blog-brother-in-law and blogdaughter.  

Corner tower for defending the wall.  Portuguese have put a lot into restoring their heritage, and Chaves was a clear beneficiary of the largess.  

More sculpture and tile art.  I forget the general on the horse.  The Roman name was Aquae Flaviae after the spa which was in use even by the Romans. 

View of gardens from roof above.  The sculpture and its tile wall is also visible. 

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