The Birds Of Guimarães Castle

When we were visiting Guimarães a week and a half ago with our couchsurfer, we stopped by the castle and to our surprise found a few birds of prey inside. They weren’t there the last time we visited Guimarães in March. There was a scout group passing through, but I didn’t catch what the falconer (?) was explaining to the kids. I was a little preoccupied watching the owl, a fascinating creature that is nocturnal for the most part. Those orange eyes!

We’re heading off to the home village tomorrow morning for Halloween castanhas season — that is, chestnut-picking.I grew up with Halloween as a tradition in Canada, but since my family’s religion shunned Halloween, my childhood memories of October 31 were spent celebrating my mother’s birthday and collecting money for UNICEF door-to-door rather than candy. Halloween isn’t a thing here in Portugal, so like last year, I don’t expect to see any trick-or-treaters this weekend. But this time last year I was picking chestnuts with my in-laws while my husband was shipped off to Atlanta (USA) to work, and this year is already looking better since he’s here and we will be bringing along our newly-adopted pooch.

Happy Halloween/End of October and see you after the weekend!

October 19, 2014
Album: Guimarães + Braga

Autumn In Braga

autumn on Bom Jesus do Monte (Braga, Portugal) (1)

Autumn leaves and flowers graced by bees and butterflies are brought to you by Bom Jesus do Monte, a sanctuary high up on a mountain overlooking the town of Braga. It’s a continuation from the preview of our day trip to Guimarães and Braga a few weekends ago.

I hope this post brightens your day!

autumn on Bom Jesus do Monte (Braga, Portugal) (2)

autumn on Bom Jesus do Monte (Braga, Portugal) (3)

autumn on Bom Jesus do Monte (Braga, Portugal) (4)

autumn on Bom Jesus do Monte (Braga, Portugal) (5)

autumn on Bom Jesus do Monte (Braga, Portugal) (6)

October 19, 2014
Album: Guimarães + Braga, Portugal (October 19, 2014)

Marquês Metro Station, Porto

Marquês Metro Station, Porto (3)

If you’re a card shark, I know just the place for you to play to your heart’s content: Marquês Metro Station in Porto. I’ve been routing in and out of that station on a regular basis since last week, and I had one of my cameras with me because I was just finishing up a shoot before leaving the house. When I was on my way to class earlier in the day, the tables were occupied but there were only a few spectators. When I came out of class, there appeared to be a dedicated audience.

I’m keen to find out if this is a regular tournament — not because I play cards (I don’t), but because I’m fascinated by this sort of street-based activity for photography. I’ve written before how lame I am as a street photographer, but I enjoy it all the same and that’s why I keep doing it.

Marquês will be my regular metro station for months, which means I’ll be able to see more of the card sharks. I figure if they see me enough they’ll ignore me, which is exactly what I want, versus them being wary of me. Further down, you’ll see my attempts at stealthy street-shooting by pretending I was photographing the water fountain. Can you see the pigeon that got away? Yes, that’s why I’m not a street photographer — I can’t even sneak up on pigeons.

Marquês Metro Station, Porto (2)

Marquês Metro Station, Porto (1)

Marquês Metro Station, Porto (4)

Marquês Metro Station, Porto (5)

Marquês Metro Station, Porto (6)

Marquês Metro Station, Porto (7)

Marquês Metro Station, Porto (8)

October 27, 2014
Album: Portugal [Autumn 2014]

Festival Da Castanha, Arouca

Festival da Castanha (Arouca, Portugal) (3)

Yesterday we stumbled upon the Festival da Castanha (“Chestnut Festival”) in the town of Arouca, which was taking place the entire weekend. It was a gastro-celebration of all things chestnut: special chestnut menus in the restaurants, chestnut sweets, and of course chestnuts roasting on the streets. This being the end of October, roasting chestnuts usually makes for a cozy harvest ambience mixed with the crisp autumn air. Except these days in Portugal are far from crisp: it’s been hanging around 30 Celsius since last week and I felt sympathy for these guys holding fort over the roasters!

Festival da Castanha (Arouca, Portugal) (5)

Festival da Castanha (Arouca, Portugal) (2)

Festival da Castanha (Arouca, Portugal) (1)

Festival da Castanha (Arouca, Portugal) (4)

October 25, 2014
Album: Arouca + Janarde

Portuguese Village Postcards

Janarde, Portugal

Janarde

Today we visited the town of Arouca, about 60km southeast of Porto and a jumping off point for the Arouca Geopark. We also visited a couple of villages nearby, where time seems to stand still, namely Janarde and Ponte de Meitriz.

And speaking of time, Daylight Savings Time ends in our neck o’ the woods tonight. We’ll lose that extra hour of light in the evening, but get it back in the morning. But you know what most people are really glad for: that extra hour in bed.

Arouca pics to come!

Janarde, Portugal

Janarde

Janarde, Portugal

Janarde

medronhos near Janarde, Portugal

medronhos near Janarde

Ponte de Meitriz, Portugal

Ponte de Meitriz

October 25, 2014
Album: Arouca + Janarde

Porto Delights

mini-eclairs and a savoury @ Leitaria da Quinta do Paço (Porto, Portugal)

mini-eclairs and a savoury @ Leitaria da Quinta do Paço

The past few days have been very active at Casa Aguiar, between houseguests and work and school and my life beyond this website. But despite feeling like I could fall asleep at this keyboard any minute now, it’s always worth it to take a time-out to write a few words and publish some pictures of the little things that make the days extra colourful, eg. food, street scenes, nature, et cetera.

Happy weekend, everyone!

a very stacked francesinha @ Taberninha Do Manel (Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal)

a very stacked francesinha @ Taberninha Do Manel

a very stacked francesinha @ Taberninha Do Manel (Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal)

a very stacked francesinha @ Taberninha Do Manel

Rua de Cedofeita (Porto, Portugal)

Rua de Cedofeita

Rua de Miguel Bombarda (Porto, Portugal)

Rua de Miguel Bombarda

Rua de Miguel Bombarda (Porto, Portugal)

Rua de Miguel Bombarda

Quinta da Macieirinha, Romantic Museum (Porto, Portugal)

Quinta da Macieirinha, Romantic Museum

all this good weather brings out the laundry (Porto, Portugal)

all this good weather brings out the laundry

Porto from Gaia

Porto from Gaia

October 22-24, 2014
Album: Portugal [Autumn 2014]

Kim Gravelle of Dappled Sunlight Music

I had a little photoshoot on the Gaia side of the city this afternoon, drawing a small crowd of curious onlookers. You see, I was photographing Kim Gravelle of Dappled Sunlight Music and her unusual handmade instrument. It took her three years to build it and it has various sound-making parts, including strings and a hollow tube like a flute. You can read much more about the yet-to-be-named instrument here.

It was amusing to have people run up to me at Cais de Gaia and ask what kind of instrument it is. (No, my Portuguese was not good enough to explain that it’s made from a single piece of wood from the bottom of one of the Great Lakes, and it’s truly one-of-a-kind.) The instrument was built to be taken apart and to fit into carry-on luggage, which also means it takes time to set it up properly from its compact state.

We have another shooting location or two planned, stay tuned.

Kim Gravelle | http://www.dappledsunlightmusic.com/ (1)

Kim Gravelle | http://www.dappledsunlightmusic.com/ (2)

Kim Gravelle | http://www.dappledsunlightmusic.com/ (3)

Kim Gravelle | http://www.dappledsunlightmusic.com/ (5)

Kim Gravelle | http://www.dappledsunlightmusic.com/ (6)

Kim Gravelle | http://www.dappledsunlightmusic.com/ (7)

Kim Gravelle | http://www.dappledsunlightmusic.com/ (8)

Kim Gravelle | http://www.dappledsunlightmusic.com/ (9)

Kim Gravelle | http://www.dappledsunlightmusic.com/ (11)

Kim Gravelle | http://www.dappledsunlightmusic.com/ (10)

October 23, 2014
Album: Portugal [Autumn 2014]