Architecture, Photography & Beaches Oh My!

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the view from Castelo De Vide

200 kilometers NE of Lisbon, Castelo De Vide was a breath of fresh air.  A tiny town only 20k from the Spanish border whose attractions boasted of castle ruins, a juderia (old Jewish quarter), old synagogue (converted to museum), church and a fountain.

Castelo De Vide

The narrow cobbled streets were lined with whitewashed houses bursting with colourful flowers.

meeting the locals – Castelo De Vide

Every now and then you would come across some elderly residents sitting around chatting, whichwas good for Deb to practice her street photography.

Spring has sprung – Castelo De Vide

Not far from the town was a fantastic campsite on a beautiful lake but on our way there we discovered some more menhirs.

Temple, beacon or bear cave?
Now your just showing off!
Near Castelo De Vide

Further south we stopped off at Evora for a few days to catch sights and have some minor repairs done on the fridge.

Evora – the mixture of architectural styles was fascinating.
Evora – local wildlife

After a day of looking at fine examples of Romanesque, Baroque, Manueline, Gothic & Moorish architecture we were surprised to come across this well preserved Roman ruin in the middle of the town.

This site tells a story which is typical for Spain & Portugal.  First the Romans came and setup shop around 100 BC defeating the local Visigoths & Celts.  Then when the Roman Empire collapsed somewhere in the 700s the Moors invaded from North Africa.  After 500 years of rule the Crusaders reconquered the area and set about spreading Christianity.

Evora – Temple Diana

Quite often during these centuries of conquest the victor would build their forts/temples/palaces/churches on the foundations of previous structures, and so it was with the above Roman temple.  First enclosed by a fort by the moors and then a castle by the christians and as time went on it was forgotten until restoration work was carried out in the 18-19th century.

Praia Marinha

Finally reaching the Algarve (Portugal’s southern coastline area) we desperately wanted to avoid the over commercialised resort towns and fortunately we were still able to find some treasures like these that so far has escaped.

Praia Marinha
Villa Romana de Milreu

The last major town in Portugal we visited was Tavira.  Filled with similar sights to those we had already witnessed we managed to find one attraction that was different.  An entrepreneur had converted an old water tower that had excellent views over the city to a camera obscura.  For the uninitiated this is a primitive form of photography dating back to Greek & Egyptian times where a darkened space such as a room had a very small hole in one wall (or floor or ceiling) and the an image of the outside world would be projected on the opposite surface in reverse,  making this method very popular with Renaissance painters.

Tavira Camera Obscura – our Japanese guide who is married to a Portuguese man she met while travelling Australia.

One should note that it was not until the 18th century that a way of ‘fixing’ the image was discovered leading to todays technology which in principle is still the same.  In this particular installation they were using a lens & rotatable mirror in the roof and projecting the image on to a concave dish mounted on a mechanism allowing it to be raised & lowered thus effecting focus.

Manta Rota

We had certainly enjoyed our time in Portugal and found the people very friendly and the landscape different to that of France & Northern Spain.  Only a small country in size & population (10 million) it had not taken as long as we thought to cover it which helped us make up some time we had lost in the French vineyards.

As we start heading for Southern Spain the skies have turned clear blue and the temps are up…..I’m definitely ready for some more seafood paella.


9 Replies to “Architecture, Photography & Beaches Oh My!”

  1. Hi guys, I am really enjoying your blog. All the pics are fantastic. Deb, you’re becoming quite the photographer! The pics of the rocks in the sea at Praia Marinha look like their equivalent to the Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road. Any chance when you post on here you can use white font? It’s so hard to read black font on a black background. Keep on having fun & enjoying your amazing trip. Love & hugs, Janette. xoxo

  2. Love the photos and the commentary. Good to see that some of Deb’s photos are making the cut. Keep it up Deb.

  3. photos are so captivating, crisp and telling. by the by my Kelly is in Spain as we speak. just left France and spent time with Jason

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