Café Crem

Art, Music and Words around The Coffee Table

Fortitude – Portugal 17

Braganca Castle

Braganca Castle

We finally found Braganca, and, after some to-ing and fro-ing, managed to point ourselves in the direction of the “local” campsite. But as 2 kilometers turned into 5, and then 7, and the terrain became “gradient heavy” our enthusiasm for cycling in the next morning waned considerably.

The campsite was great however, and very cheap, with a river running through it that acted as their own swimming pool. With the rising heat, we opted to avoid coronaries and stayed just the one night, planning to go into town in the Boomobile in the morning.

We met an English couple who were on their way down, having caught the ferry from Plymouth to Santander in Spain, and, like us, were away for around 7 weeks. We gave them some info about places we’d seen we thought they might like.

As expected so close to the border, the town of Braganca was overlooked by a large fort, built in the 12th century. It wasn’t until the 15th century that the imposing Castle rose within its walls, giving the town an impressive skyline.

I am resolved to explore the origins of this country on the net, particularly with regard to their relations with Spain along the border. I suspect resilience, and at the risk of excessive punning, fortitude, were required to keep the hombres at bay.

We stayed true to form; Miki reached for her pencil, and I reached for a coffee. As I immersed myself in the Robert Silverberg sci-fi classic “Hot sky at Midnight” , I had to smile at the incongruity of my Medieval location, when compared with the Futuristic, artificial worlds of which I was reading.

The town once again exhibited two things that have been prevalent throughout our trip; Civic pride, with a beautifully realised waterfront, comprising fountains, bridges and walkways, and inventive, chaotic art, be it giant mirrors leaning against trees in a town park, or a mist of water rising up around a sculpture of a family taking their wares to market, complete with donkey.

Miki on the bridge at Braganca

Miki on the bridge at Braganca

It seems to me the Portuguese are “ideas people” – sometimes almost with a childish lack of restraint. It makes for some wonderful sights.

Then , for us, it was even further South-East, heading for a town that would place us within 3k of the Spanish border for our next overnight stop. One begins to feel the lingering proximity of Spain like a monkey on our backs, a harbinger of the closure of the holiday, and we are working hard not to make unfavourable comparisons with Portugal, a land we’ve grown to love.

Braganca Waterfront

Braganca Waterfront

 

Kev Moore

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July 15, 2008 - Posted by | Art, culture, life, personal, travel, writing | , , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. Looking great, miki! and Kev, still perky and interesting reading! (spain, like “a monkey on our back”…!)

    Still want to retire to Portugal…

    Comment by ivdanu | July 15, 2008

  2. Thanks Danu! Us too, I think!!

    Comment by kevmoore | July 15, 2008

  3. Yeah Kev, you better watch out, falling in love with Portugal – you might have to move yet again!

    Comment by Susan Cornelis | July 15, 2008

  4. Hi Danu and thanks for the kind words! I just had to check which photo Kevin put as he read me your comment. Just after the photo I have made a sketch (“a la Miki”, of course, a little bit unrealistic) of this bridge. It was hard work!!!
    And yes, Portugal is a great country, in all points of view. We have been amazed from the beginning until the end by the people, by the landscapes, by the towns… surely a great place to retire. Next time when we are there I will have to look which kind of paintings they do, i am really curious about that.

    @Susan
    We might have to move again, Susan, but somehow I don’t want to move to Portugal (and i do hope Kevin won’t move without me!).
    I have done this mistake with Spain once, moving to the country of my dreams, but in the meanwhile, while I was dreaming of it, Spain changed and now had become almost a nightmare for me. We will return to Portugal many times, this is for sure, perhaps this year already, in autumn…

    Comment by Miki | July 15, 2008


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