Quilts and Other Stuff from Frances

First day out and about…..

On Tuesday morning, Michael and I decided to get out and learn a bit about our adopted village and also spend some time at CIBIO (Centro de Investigacio em Biodiveridad e Recursos Geneticos).  This is the campus where Michael will be working during the next four weeks.

We knew that it was located in the village of Variao, but when we entered the address in our GPS it could not find it.  However, I could enter it into Google Maps so we set the GPS for the village itself and then followed Google Maps when it veered from the GPS. 

I have never used Google Map when I was overseas before but it is a wonderful thing!!!  It is easy to follow when walking or driving!!   My kids will laugh since they have been using it exclusively for many years…..I am just a bit slow!!!

We arrived at CIBIO without incident and were greeted by Paulo with many hugs and cheek kisses.  He said that he was “so proud of us” for getting our car and finding our way to the campus.

He showed Michael to his office……DSC07308

….and introduced him to his office mates and others in the building.   It quickly became obvious that he was going to be talking and working for a while, so I grabbed the camera and headed out the door to do a bit of exploring in the area.

Before I even got off of the campus, I found an area with wildflowers and had a great time playing with the different settings on the camera…..




There are a huge number of Eucalyptus trees in this area as they were brought in many years ago.

I realized that there was a cobblestone road just outside of the compound, so I decided to go for a walk, first finding a landmark to look for.   This time it was two huge cell towers just outside of the gate.

The road was between two large stone walls and it was fun looking at the sun shining thru the flowers growing on top of the wall…..


I had a good laugh when I saw this sign because NO ONE was traveling 40 kms per hour over this stretch….140 maybe!!!



Once again, it was fun to try photographing the floral against the stone wall..



I saw a sign that indicated that there was a Mosteiro ahead so I kept walking until I ran into the Mosteiro de Vairao.  The Monastery itself is relatively plain…. IMG_4504but the cemetery is gorgeous…..


I spent about 30 minutes walking thru it, marveling at the beautiful markers and grave sites……


Most of the marble crypt areas had several markers sitting on top of them.   I am assuming that people have been cremated and their ashes are in the crypt.  Almost every site had a beautiful arrangement of flowers (many of them fresh) and several candles as well.

A glance inside the larger crypts showed an altar, mostly covered with gorgeous lace cloths, and one or more bunches of flowers…..


In many of the crypts, the coffins were simply sitting in the alcoves rather than being closed in…..


….and some of these crypts could hold 10 caskets!!!

I took a few photos from one of the overlooks by the Monastery, watching several people on large tractors obviously harvesting the grain crops….. IMG_4519

By this time, I figured that Michael was almost thru so I started walking back to the campus.  I found it interesting that I kept seeing different things that I had missed the first time thru and realized just how much difference your perspective makes.   Simply heading a different direction greatly changed my view!!!

As I walked, I mused on the fact that when I start traveling, it doesn’t take long for me to get into my “seeing” mode.  I become much more aware of the people, sights and sounds that are around me!!!

I passed stunning bunches of lavender dripping from the wall…..


…..huge Lemon trees weighted down with baseball size Lemons…..


……curtains with sunny, intricate crochet trim……


…..and funky chimney rooftops that mimic the house roof……


I came to this crossroad and thought that I needed to go to the right…..


…..but fortunately noticed the cell tower (that had been my landmark) on the left so I headed that way instead.

About this time, Michael called and said that he was about ready to go and I made my way back.  The only problem with this little jaunt was that I had not taken water with me and was dying for a drink when I got back to CIBIO.  I found a vending machine and bought a small water and drank every drop.  I then confiscated Michael’s bottle and drank most of it too!!!   Obviously, I am not quite in exploring mode yet!!!!

I had seen several backpackers while I was walking and Michael told me that this area was part of the Camino pilgrimage trail.  We are actually planning to drive to Santiago De Compostelo which is the end of the trail which goes thru France, Portugal and Spain.

Our next undertaking was to find the self-service laundry that I would use to wash our clothes.  Once we got the address entered, the GPS took us there easily.   We cased the joint (so to speak) and decided to walk around in the area before returning to our apartment.  

We were very close to the River that feeds off of the ocean and runs thru Vila do Conde and wound our way around to  a place that Michael had visited many times before……


In the 15th century, Vila do Conde became an important center of sea trade and this boat is a replica of the ones that would have sailed during that time.  It is normally open for your to tour but they were apparently doing some work on it today.

We were both hungry so sat down at a local restaurant for a wonderful pork meal…..


But first preceded by Tuna Pate and toast bits….


….and wonderful salty olives…


All of the cooking, whether fish or meat, was done on an outside grill, with just some sea-salt as a seasoning…..DSC07309

And of course we had to have dessert……


Now, we both wanted a nap, but we persevered and took a walk instead.

We came to this lovely statute that saluted the lace making industry which is big in this area…..


I especially loved the detail with the hands and the lace work…..


My sweet husband always encourages me when I take these crazy photos….


We sauntered thru a park area and onto a street and then up a bunch of steps to a large church, passing one of the large Aqueducts…..


It was built between 1705 and 1714 and ran 4 kms with the aim of bringing water to the Santa Clara monastery fountain.

We reached another cemetery and fell in love with the blue sky and the monuments set against the Aqueduct…..


The Aqueduct provided for some interesting photos….


As we were heading back to the car, we passed this small church and had to have a look…..


Although it looks like a Mosque, it is actually a Roman Catholic church called the  Nossa Senhora do Socorro Chapel.  It presents a peculiar architecture, with a square plan, covered by a dome.

The interior is quiet, cool and covered in blue tile work…..


….and the altar has to curve to fit the ceiling…..


I particularly liked that the Madonna was holding an anchor, appropriate for a naval area…..


Just before we reached the car, we looked down on this park area and were surprised to see the tile designs.  We had not noticed them when were on ground level with them……IMG_4605

And of course, I had to finish off this trip with a picture of a man-hole cover….


We returned to the apartment, rested for about two hours and then dressed and headed to a local hotel for the opening reception for the Congenomics conference that is being held at CIBIO for the rest of the week.   We were treated to good food, good drink, fun views…..DSC07320

……and lots of interesting people to talk to.

An end to a wonderful day!!!!!

3 thoughts on “First day out and about…..

  1. Oh I can already see a quilt coming out of these beautiful architectural photos! Enjoy your time. That lemon tree- mmm fresh lemonade from one's own yard. mmm.

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