Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Spain-Portugal-Morocco--Sept 2012-- # 2

In a famous market in Madrid... the presentation doesn't exactly make you want to grab one of these, does it.

In the same market, these were a surprise. I've never seen such huge cherries. I'm curious as to what part of Canada they came from. Note the price: 24 Euros per kilogram-- about $31 Canadian. It must have taken a while to stack them so neatly.

Several of these bulls were along the highways in Spain-- formerly advertising a port wine. Spain ruled that advertising was no longer permitted adjacent to highways though, so these were going to be removed, but the people objected, and the bulls stayed.

They became shout-outs on the bus, "Bull, 10 o'clock", etc. They're 30 feet or so high, so they were easy to spot.

Same story as for the bulls with this guy. He used to advertise a wine too.

This seemed an idea from the past, but a good one. In some Spanish towns they post notifications of deaths of their fellow-townfolk. These were in Toledo. The notices are in or near the town square or some appropriate place. The oldest person here was 101, with a couple others at 92.

The fires in southern Spain this year covered a large area in the Costa Del Sol. Costa del Sol is a beautiful area of Spain, spoiled only by all the homes and apartments that are there now.

Roman ruins are "everywhere"... these ones are at Italica, near Seville. Parts of it are well preserved.

Tiles in the "Bird House".

Cypress & olive trees on the site... the two types of trees that are pretty much representative of Spain.

The arena, where the Romans took great delight in slaughtering Christians & any exotic animals they could find.

Outside a shoe store in ancient Italica.

Spain is the world leader in the  production of olive oil, with Italy and Greece second and third. That's easy to believe when you see the olive orchards of the Andalusia region of SE Spain. They stretch for miles over the hills & valleys, in some cases, almost as far as the eye can see.

The patterns that the trees form on the hillsides are mesmerizing.

More abandoned houses. I can't resist them.

Spain raises 1000s of bulls for the bull rings. We were told that only about 40% of the population favors bull fighting, but it's a big industry of course, so I imagine it'll go on for a long while yet. It has been banned in the Catalonia region of Spain though.

Hilltop towns are common in Europe.

I like shots of ordinary people going about their lives.

She has lots of choice as to what to read.

New meaning for Einstein's most famous equation:
Spain = Much Beer ... A genius you say! (?)

Again, I needed a model to indicate the size of this Agave, aka Century Plant. Century Plant is inaccurate in that it only lives 10 to 30 years. It flowers only once at the end of its life, the "flower" being up to 8 meters (26 ft) tall. This one must be fairly close to that.

This shop was just up the street from the hotel in Madrid. This dog was in the same spot every time we walked by. People-watching I guess.


Portugal had a few surprises for us. I was there on my own in 2001, but we saw some sights that I missed on that trip.

The rooster is a symbol of Portugal. I forget why but it's a long story. Sorry, Ines :-)

It was a steep, but interesting walk up to the University of Coimbra (in Coimbra, Portugal). 

Narrow streets... typical of so much of "old" Europe.

Entrance to the university.

"Academic Conversation" - at the university. This is one of my favourite shots from the trip.

I missed the meaning of this graffiti until I looked it up on the web. If I'd looked closer at the symbols I may have been able to figure it out, but then I didn't realize that atheists had slogans, that they put on T-shirts, and quite obviously, on walls, where this one was. It's one of a number of atheist slogans as I learned on the web.

I'm all for free speech but I think this is in poor taste. One could say, "Atheists are idiots." Live and let live.
Our group after some wine-tasting... one of the more interesting wine-tastings I've been to.
Can't remember where this sign was, but they do make their point.

Fatima, Portugal... a pilgrimage for the faithful.
The square at Fatima is enormous. For penance, some of the faithful walk on their knees down the long "pathway" in this image, a couple 100 yards in length.

The Basilica at Fatima-- at the opposite end of the square. Everything is on a grand scale.

Behind the basilica there's a small park with olive trees, drinking fountains and benches. It was the perfect spot to rest after the sweltering heat of the square.

Mother Goose I believe. Ain't she cute!

The "Monument to the Discoveries" on the Tagus River in Lisbon. It honors Magellan, Vasco da Gama and others from the time when Portugal was a world power. No empire lasts forever.

We had perfect timing at a former palace in Lisbon. The horse guard was performing.

Wires & poles are unavoidable at times, as in the shot above. I don't know how many of you are familiar with Photoshop, but I thought I'd include a "photoshopped" version of the above shot, for those that may be curious.

This was with about 3 minutes work in Photoshop, very sloppily done, hence only 3 minutes. If you're more patient, and the shot is "worth" the time & effort required (this one isn't), you could make the corrections so that no one would notice the changes.

The intricacy & craftsmanship of European cathedrals, palaces, etc. is something to behold. Understandably, many took decades or even a century or two to complete. They're almost beyond belief to me, even when I'm standing in front of one.

And off into the sunset... well, off, anyway.

Worker at the "palace" with her supervisor looking on.
Archway at the palace...
A scenic drive along the coast enroute from Lisbon to Cascais & Sintra.

Jane always tests the water when she's at an ocean or the sea. Here it's the Atlantic.

A colorful painting for sale.

Talent on the beach at Cascais.

The artist's tools. He/she was on lunch break or whatever... nowhere to be seen in any case.

In Sintra...

Cat in a corner. Even though it's porcelain, it looks kind of sad with an eye missing.

A clever shop-display always catches my eye. This was the balcony of the shop, on the second floor.

And the main entrance at ground level.

These guys were good. How often do you see a street performer with a cello?

Kinda corny, but eye-catching.

A couple over-the-shoulder shots from the bus, of an aqueduct.

Struttin' right along... almost like she doesn't have the dogs with her at all. And such good posture.


More sculptures that caught my eye.

Toreador in front of a bullring.

A cool sign, I thought. I took this shot from behind the sign (backwards), but with photo-editing software, a simple horizontal flip and all is well.

This was an interesting spot... the engineer in me perhaps. All those dark lines in the bricks are drainage channels, different lengths and in a rather complex pattern. Seemed a bit overdone, but one has to assume that they knew what they were doing.

Jane & Trevor were holding up this tree, but I had to ask them to repose to get the shot. They let go of the tree just as I was about to shoot.

Looking up from the bricks. We climbed the bell tower and looked down on the city. There were 34 short ramps (numbered for encouragement) instead of stairs, so that donkeys could be used to get the huge bells, etc. to the top.

"Tender Eyes of Childhood" -- another of my favourite shots from the trip.

Flowers, flowers, flowers. Who doesn't enjoy them?

The old and the new.

High on a hill to catch the wind. One of them caught a bit too much it would seem.
Gas has always been more expensive in Europe than here. 1.544 Euros per liter works out to $1.99 Canadian. So, they pay $9.04 Cdn per Imperial gallon to our $5.86, based on our current price of $1.29 per liter. This was in Lisbon but it was the same price in Spain. The premium, at 1.739 Euros is $10.18 Cdn per gallon. Very few Europeans drive big cars. 

When I was in Portugal in 2001, the price was about $6 per gallon. If the trend were to continue, that would put us in the $9/gallon range (for regular gas) in about 2023. Will it take that long even?

To be continued in Part 3.

- fini -


At 19 October 2012 at 13:40 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Bob & Jane,
After a Friday morning meeting :(
I am glad I opened my e-mail and leisurely read your blog. You took amazing pictures and thanks for the story lines. We missed the beach in Caiscais, those sand sculptures are wonderful. With your pictures, I appreciate the olive trees more. Look forward to the next one. THANKS FOR SHARING YOUR TALENT & HOBBY.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

Search my Blog...