Sunday, July 29, 2012


Jake has suggested "Road" as the theme for this week's Sunday post.

I am partial to the tree-lined variety.
Road through the spa town of Caldelas, near Braga, northern Portugal
I also like roads that have lots of interesting things to see on either side.
Samora Machel Avenue, running all the way through the city of Harare, Zimbabwe (Jameson Avenue)

The road between S. B. Messines and Algoz in the Algarve is very boring in comparison.

When I arrived seven years ago people were already complaining about it. I later found out why - it wasn't very wide, lacked markings and good lighting but had loads of pot-holes. In the rainy, winter months it was hell to navigate!

Like every normal person, I love roads to be safe and well-paved.

Each time elections came, whether it be national or local elections, politicians always promised to fix this particular road but nothing happened. It seemed nothing would ever change. There were protests by the local population and more promises from the politicians and again nothing happened. It went on and on and on.

Last year when I read that they were actually going to do something about it, I thought, "Yeah, right, I'll believe it when I see it."

And I finally saw it today! It still needs markings and pavements and good lighting, etc. but it has a new tarmac!

Lots of people who live in Messines and work in Albufeira can finally give a sigh of relief. 

Jake's comments' section, has lots more interesting takes on this week's theme, but I would also like to suggest you take a look at the magnificent photos of a road on a blog I follow, Zimbabwe Absurdity.

Also on my blog: Flamboyant tree-lined streets in Harare

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Jake has suggested "collectibles" as the theme for this week's Sunday post.

I have never been much of a collector but after going to a few car boot sales I have begun to collect African "sculptures".

 This giraffe was given to me by my friend from Cape Town in 1999.

The others have joined my very small collection over the past two years and were bought at car boot sales. 

To have a look at more collectibles, check out the many interesting entries in the comments' section of Jake's post here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Time Out

Although I would much prefer to be preparing a few more posts and taking photos, I find myself unexpectedly having to deal with the fact that the school where I have taught for a few years will no longer need my services.

So, like another 7 thousand experienced teachers in the same situation all over the country I will be busy applying online for a new position. That and end-of-year paperwork is taking up all of my time and energy right now. 

As soon as I have all that sorted, I' be back to visiting blogs, and blogging myself.

I will be back!

Sunday, July 15, 2012


bridge over Aveiro Lagoon
Bridge over the Aveiro Lagoon (Ria de Aveiro)
"SOLID means : Stable, sturdy, firm, established, strong, durable, rigid, substantial, strong, ..." - so goes Jake's prompt for our Sunday post this time.

I believe this bridge has all of these qualities and is also a very elegant structure, in my opinion.

It makes it possible to travel from the north bank of the lagoon (left) to the south bank without taking the long way round.

monument by Aveiro Lagoon
Modern structure that livens up the roundabout at the foot of the bridge
Roundabouts have been replacing traffic lights and junctions in recent years. There are many, many roundabouts now all over Portugal - some big, some grand, some in ridiculous places and some too small for trucks to negotiate them comfortably. It is also the custom to erect a sculpture or some sort of decoration in the middle of each roundabout, which can be quite useful  when giving directions. 

At the foot of this bridge (north bank) we have a roundabout with a modern, solid monument, parts of which are covered by decorative ceramic panels.

bridge over Aveiro Lagoon on cloudy day
The bridge from another angle - good spot for fishing
The area around the Aveiro Lagoon (Ria de Aveiro) is another of my favourite places and I promise to write more about it in the near future.


If you'd like to see more interpretations on this theme, just pop over to Jake's blog.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Algarve gems

This is the first time I've written a post first in Portuguese for my Portuguese blog. Usually it's the other way around.

Most Portuguese and foreign tourists spend their holidays in the Algarve between the beach and the apartment or hotel and go away tanned, relaxed and happy without ever getting to know the gems that lie further inland.

For those who live here, the beaches are too crowded in the high season, so we look for other places to visit and relax. One of those places is called Alte.

It is part of the Loulé county and is situated in the geographical centre of the Algarve, between the Barrocal and the Serra (inland area between the coast and the hills), about 31 km from Albufeira. It is considered one of the most traditional and well-conserved villages in Portugal.

According to the poet, Cândido Guerreiro, who was born there, "Alte was born and grew sheltered by the four hills that surround it: Gelvana, Francelheira, Castelo and Rocha Maior. The stream that runs through it, from the Fonte Grande (Large Spring) to the Vigário Waterfall, is responsible for the personality of the village and its inhabitants. On its cool and wet banks lie fertile vegetable gardens, vineyards and orange groves."
Area of the Fonte Grande (Large Spring) - a long swimming-pool, with a café and DIY barbecue/picnic area ( right)
Area of the Fonte Grande (Large Spring) - downstream
Area of the Fonte Pequena (Little Spring)
In the garden of the Fonte Pequena (Little Spring) you'll find a small monument in honour of the poet. You can also read some of his poems on ceramic panels and marble plaques dotted over the grounds.

The village continues true to its origins. The Parish Church is the oldest historical reference and there is a curious legend attached to its construction. The white houses with elaborate chimneys contrast with the bright colours of the geraniums in flowerpots.

It is definitely worth taking a walk along the narrow streets and cobbled stairways. But, be careful not to slip on the cobbles that are polished by so many years of use!

The Rocha dos Soidos is the highest place in the village. From there you have a fantastic view of the village and surrounding countryside!

View of the landscape to the south of Alte

In the distance you can see the drier and striking landscape that surrounds the village.

It's easy to understand why Alte is one of my favourite places, isn't it?

N.B. You'll find more information here and photos of Alte's past on the  Junta de Freguesia's website.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


Algarve's Galé beach sunset 1

What could be more relaxing than enjoying a walk at sunset in the silence of an Algarve beach  in low season?

romantic walk on Galé beach at sunset
 And perhaps going for a swim later...

This is my take on "Silence" , this week's theme for the Sunday post. To know more, please visit Jake's blog.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sunshine Blogger Award

You may have noticed, if you are a frequent visitor here, that I used to have a pretty picture that read "All awards gratefully declined" in the right sidebar and now it's not there any more.

The reason is that Marcia, author of Menopausal Mother, has given me the Sunshine Blogger Award. As she is such a lovely lady and great blogger, I have made an exception and decided to accept her award. Thank you, Marcia!

   I am told the rules are as follows:

1. Include award logo in a post or on your blog page.
2. Answer (10) questions about yourself.
3. Nominate 10-12 other fabulous bloggers.
4. Link your nominees to the post and comment on their blog, letting them know about the award.
5. Share the love and link the person who nominated you.


1. What would you most like to change about yourself?
My metabolic rate. It's very sluggish so the kilos are too easily put on and a right pain to remove. I am so envious of those who are thin and can eat great quantities of any food, with no worries. I don't mind being a bit overweight, I just wish it didn't take so much effort to keep that weight stable.

2. What's your theme song?
I'm not sure I have only one. I'd say it could be "Only time" by Enya or "I have a dream" by ABBA, or "This could be Heaven" by Queen.

3. One part of your life, a memory, action, etc. that you wish you could surgically remove from your brain?
I'm afraid that would have to be the morning my mum passed away 10 years ago in July.

4. What generation do you wish you had been a part of?
Like Marcia, I'd like to have been a teenager in the 1960s. That decade sounds so much more exciting than the ones that followed!

5. What was your favorite childhood toy?
A small Barbie-like doll. I loved making it new clothes from scraps of fabric and dressing it up. OMG, this sounds so old-fashioned! Do little girls do this nowadays?

6. What is your favourite housecleaning chore?
You can't be serious! There is no such thing! The chore I dislike less than the others is vacuuming, but my dogs think the vacuum-cleaner is a monster.

7. Do you Twitter?
 I have an account but I feel a bit of a twit because I don't tweet.Yes, I know, that's weird but I recently discovered there are other bloggers out there who are not savvy about this tweeting business either. I am not alone. Yay!

8. Any goals?
Yes, to get this post ready and published asap.

9. Do you really drink margaritas all the time?
Pardon? You must mean coffee or liqueurs. Most Portuguese drink several strong coffees a day. I also love a variety of liqueurs made in the Algarve and "Aguardente de medronho" (but only the one with honey), which is a traditional fruit brandy from the Altentejo or Algarve regions of Portugal. It is made with the fruit of the strawberry tree ( Arbutus unedo).

10. What is the ugliest car you've ever driven and were embarrassed to be seen in?
I wouldn't be seen dead in an ugly car unless it was an emergency! Can't remember driving a single ugly car. Mind you, I've never driven an Audi or a BMW or a Porsche or a Ferrari... - you get the drift...


(in alphabetical order)

     Have fun all of you, answering these questions!

Oh, I nearly forgot. The pretty picture that says "All awards gratefully declined" is going back on my sidebar very soon.

Monday, July 2, 2012


The Sunday post challenge this week was "Valuable". 

Time is valuable and it was scarce this weekend. So without further ado, here is my entry:


Some of those books were presents, some were school prizes, some I needed for study, some I use for my work...



For more Sunday posts, visit Jake's blog.

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