Saturday, 17 May 2014

Ancient Travels

During the week, I was blog hopping, and found a blog by Jen at the Bower Bird Patch where she mentioned that she had been on a trip to Portugal.  She showed some stunning photos of the tiling that is prevalent on buildings in Portugal, and which she called azulejos.  Now I hadn't heard that term before, but I had been to Portugal, and I remember that beautiful form of decorating, so I thought I would share some of my photos from that trip.

We stayed in Braga, which is in north western Portugal.  According to Wikipedia it is considered the oldest Christian archdiocese in the country and one of the oldest in the world. Under the Roman Empire, it was known as Bracara Augusta, and was the settlement at the centre of the province of Gallaecia.  It is a beautiful city, and for a history nut like me, full of glorious buildings and churches, so I was in seventh heaven.

The Bom Jesus Cathedral on the hill just outside Braga was stunning. 

Access was via a long flight of stairs, on each side of a massive fountain.  Along the way, by the side of the stairs were dozens of statues and little grottos recessed into the rock face with dioramas of biblical scenes such as this.
The view from the top of the stairway was well worth the climb.

The colours in Portugal were wonderful.  This is the Rooster of Barcelos. Barcelos is half way to the coast from Braga. 

And the entrance to the market place in Barcelos.

But what really took my fancy in the places I visited was the mosaic tiling or azulejos.  This is just an ordinary house in an ordinary street in Barcelos.

And here is a whole row of terrace houses in Oporto (and a fountain too).  Each one is tiled with different coloured tiles.

Even the ordinary everyday train station in Oporto has magnificent murals on the arch ways through to the platforms, albeit in need of some attention.

By contrast this is a particularly elegant private building in Oporto.
Apart from the intricate mosaic on the face of the building, there are beautiful arched windows and doors each one accented with tiles, little ornate crenulations on the roof, and lovely iron lacework too.
An ancient church in Oporto. 

And the detail from the photo above.  This is just a small section of it.  Looks like it is the section to the left of the lamp post and under the window.

Unimaginably difficult jig saw puzzle!  These days tiles come in sheets of a couple of dozen tiles webbed together on a stabilizer so they get slapped up on the wall or onto the floor and glued as is.  The tiles in these murals would have been placed one piece at a time.
To finish up this post a couple of photos from the coastal town of Poavo de Varzim.  We came across this old boy and his wife, who were collecting seaweed.  Here he is clambering up from the rock pools with a load on his back.  What a tough way to earn a living!

The seaweed is built up into these stooks and left to dry.  It is then sold as fertilizer.  Bit fragrant in that area!  I am glad I don't live in that block of units.  LOL

Well not much on the sewing front in this post, mostly because not much was done all week.  But I hope you liked the photos I have shown you.  It was difficult to pick just a few from the dozens I took of the trip.


  1. What a great tour through the parts of Portugal you've visited. What a treat to read! Especially after just returning myself. Portugal is just gorgeous and I really do love visiting there with my family. Every time I go, I always see new things that inspire me and my camera always gets a work out. Thank you so much for sharing your travel stories.....

  2. I appreciate travel photos so much. They tell a vivid story of history and local life. That photo of the fellow collecting seaweed...!


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