There is a sea

Such a beautiful poem.

Salt of Portugal

Traineira

There is a sea,

A far and distant sea

Beyond the largest line,

Where all my ships that went astray,

Where all my dreams of yesterday

Are mine.

Sofia de Mello Breyner Andersen from A Praia in Contos Exemplares (1962).

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Sweet Sue Busts Us Out

Cats are always helpful when you are in trouble.

The Punchy Lands!

Big ups and thanks to Susan Price for brainstorming with me on this one. In TPL, she’s Sweet Sue. Yo.

If you feel vicious, take it out on the weeds.

V. Shnodgrate, Renowned PL Poet

UntitledSo, there we were.

Sitting in a dark, dank prison. And it was full of lice, ticks, spiders, worms, and the scurvy.

Anyways, it was quite a meeting. Sort of.

We were all sitting in a circle: Schwarz Tauptinker, Bud Parker, Clara Higgins, Gertrude Tauptinker, and of course, this naughty, naughty professor.

None of these dispirited ones were talking either.

“So,” this professor said, breaking the silence. “We’re all going to die, that’s an interest.”

“Shut-up!” Clara snapped.

Schwarz piped up to announce: “I’m not going to die, tell you what, chickit. I’m busting out! Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.”

“Yeah sure, bud,” Parker said. “Like that’s going to happen. We’re like heavily guarded.”

Gertrude started…

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The convent of the blue monks

And today, some tidbits of Portuguese history.

Salt of Portugal

Composit Évora

When we entered the Pousada dos Loios in Évora, we stepped on grounds that have seen war and peace, creation and destruction. The Arabs built a castle on this site that was destroyed by fire during the Portuguese war of 1383-85. In 1485, a local noble built a convent for the order of Loios on top of the castle ruins.

The villagers called the members of this order the blue monks because of the color of their robes. These religious men lived an austere life, working and praying in silence. Their serenity and wisdom led the royal family to choose them as confessors.

The convent was severely damaged by the 1755 earthquake and later rebuilt through the efforts of an enterprising priest. In 1834, Portugal abolished religious orders and the convent was closed down.

In 1963, the ancient building was converted into an historical hotel.  The cells of the monks were turned into comfortable…

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A roadside restaurant

This makes me hungry. I don’t think I have ever visited them. Yet.

Salt of Portugal

Composit Pombal

Before highway A1 was built, it took a long time to drive from the north of Portugal to Lisbon. To make the trip easier to endure, our parents liked to stop at a small roadside restaurant in Pombal called Manjar do Marquês. As soon as we sat down, we were served a delicious tomato rice with a choice of accompaniments, such as codfish cakes, veal milanese, or fried hake.

After a long hiatus, we recently returned to Manjar do Marquês. We entered the restaurant’s new premises just off highway A1 with some trepidation. What if the food is not as wonderful as we remember it? Would we destroy our childhood memories? Luckily, some things never change: the tomato rice is as appetizing as ever.

We asked the owner, Maria Graça, what makes her rice taste so good. She smiled and answered: “My husband really wanted to have a restaurant. I worked for the phone company and had…

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Artistic pots and pans

Another surprise in Portugal.

Salt of Portugal

JV_114_HDR-Edit

Silampos (“seelumpoos”) is a Portuguese brand of cookware that has produced great pots and pans since 1951. Joana Vasconcelos, a Portuguese contemporary artist, used these pans to build giant high-heel shoes. These sculptures were given pride of place in the Room of the Throne when Vasconcelos showed her work at the Ajuda Palace in Lisbon.

What would D. Maria Pia, the queen who lived in this palace, think about Vasconcelos’ work? We like it. And we always liked Silampos pots and pans, even before they mingled with artists in the royal court.

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The Portugal Years: Year Three – The Journey, the Wedding and the Housing

I remember this so well. Found it in On This Cay

The Portugal Years

The Journey

We faced a seven month absence from our home and friends. This trip felt like an unending challenge. It was not a solo flight, nor a flight for two; it was a transatlantic voyage with an infant. Wearing cloth diapers. And she would have no seat. For at least seven hours. (This was not including getting through customs on both end and the long road to Philadelphia). Another couple would be staying in our house while we were gone, and I was uncomfortable about that. Then, before we could leave, we had to find a place to board our Samantha cat. It would not have been my first choice, or any choice at all. She loved me and trusted me, and I was leaving for what would be, for her, an eternity.

The flight was better than I expected. Bethy was eating food, but was still nursing, so…

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