this is the archive for the ‘in portugal’ category:


analogue wednesday #207

so, as i was saying, the best part of the vindima is this:

grandma’s fried codfish! :D it’s a hearty breakfast and everyone loves it, from kids to grown-ups. my job is usually to take the breakfast to the people harvesting the wine, and when i get there with my basket there’s always smiles and happiness all around! :)

analogue wednesday #206

september is vindima (or grape harvesting) season in the north. we missed it this year, but here are some photos from my parent’s harvest last year, shot with the boy’s canon ae-1.

it’s a big day for the family, with everyone coming together to help. the best part of it though? i’ll show you next wednesday! :)

walking on history, XVIII: more roman roads

not the first roman road we visit, but this one is much closer to home, in nearby são brás de alportel. the town lays in the crossroads of two historical paths: the road that connected faro to the north of portugal, and perpendicular to it, the road that linked tavira and loulé.

you have to walk a bit down a dirt road to find it, among fields of olive and carob trees, and we were almost turning around when i glimpsed a few arranged stones in the distance. and suddenly there it was! the road is different here, the stones smaller and arranged in patterns, but i found it no less interesting.

another small bit of an amazing engineering project!

analogue wednesday #201

walking around porto, everything feels as if new to me.

the fruit tree collection

so tavira has an “experimental agrarian center” (CEAT), which is a very low-key place with an important mission: it helps local farmers get started and learn more about all kinds of things related with agriculture. like many places in algarve, tavira is a town that lives mostly off tourism, but the more you move away from the coast and into hills, the more you see a kind of dryland subsistence farming that is hard but so important to people’s lives in these villages.

so as part of its mission, the center started a gigantic project to research and collect specimens from the local varieties of fruit trees, which they maintain in a specific area — a seed bank of sorts, but with actual living trees. in the last decade, they have collected hundreds of cultivars of citrus trees (the main crop around here), as well as carob, almond or figs, but also things that you might not expect like specific southern portuguese grapevines, loquats, pomegranate or “pêro de monchique”. researching these species in the region involved talking to a lot of farmers and then doing genetic analysis to identify the differences between certain plants, to make sure they are actually unique cultivars (and not just the same tree with a different name).

so after specimens are collected, they’re brought to tavira where they are further studied and serve as a reference for the future, in case something happens or someone is interested in the local species of these trees. want to know which plants are best for your land, or how much production you can expect from a certain cultivar? they can tell you! want to produce a special wine that is labeled as being from algarve’s region? you’ll need to make sure you’re using the right grapes… guess who you can ask about that?

walking the grounds and looking at all these trees in their neat rows, you get the sense that this is not only an invaluable genetic repository for the future, but also a huge work of love, spread out over many square meters. unlike a static museum collection, this one is alive and needs constant care and attention if it is to fulfill its purpose, and i’m really glad for the humans doing this work.