Flashback Friday: Switzerland Panorama

gailatlarge-Switzerland

my first panorama, April 2002 (click to enlarge)

I was looking through my photo archives and found this one that never made it to the blog, which is a shame because Switzerland is beautiful and I took loads of photos… with a very basic point-and-shoot, but some of them are worth showing, nonetheless. It was a trip I took a few months before I started gailontheweb.blogspot.com (this site’s predecessor before I migrated everything to WordPress and my own domain more than nine years ago), which means Switzerland 2002 didn’t get much blog exposure. That year I rented a car and drove around the country, oohing and aaahing at the scenery for a total of about 1,200kms. Whenever I tell that to the Swiss they’re very surprised because Switzerland is relatively small, but when you see how mountainous the country is and how twisty the roads are, you’ll see how easy it is to rack up the distances. That trip got me hooked on Switzerland and I returned the following year.

According to my notes, this panorama was taken between Geneva and Neuchatel at a very fancy rest stop (in Switzerland, that would be all of them) and I’d locked myself out of the car. Don’t ask me how I got back in but I did, apparently. It’s funny that almost 13 years later I don’t remember that particular detail at all, but I do remember this first panorama was taken with my first digital camera, the Canon PowerShot A30 (1.2 megapixels, movie mode without audio). Such a geek!

Album: Switzerland

Vintage Porto

Tram 18 and Igreja da Nossa Senhora do Carmo das Carmelitas

Tram 18 and Igreja da Nossa Senhora do Carmo das Carmelitas

Walking the streets of Porto is like time travel. (Click to enlarge the pic.)

December 21, 2014
Album: Portugal [Winter 2014/2015]

Scenes From Praia Do Furadouro

Praia Do Furadouro (Ovar) - Aveiro, Portugal (1)

Last year someone posted in a travel forum about driving down the coast of Portugal from the north to the Algarve, and asking which beaches were best to stop for that wouldn’t be too crowded. I remember replying and telling him not to worry about crowded beaches since there is more than 900km of largely unspoilt sand greeting the Atlantic Ocean in Portugal. I have yet to see a truly crowded beach here; the coastline is long enough that everyone has plenty of room.

The first beach we went to on Saturday for our day road trip was at Furadouro (Ovar) in the Aveiro District south of Porto. Although a small beach town, we found a quirky house, good spots to eat, interesting architecture (have a look at the painted tile street signs), and best of all: enough sand for Ice to run to his heart’s content. More pictures in the full album.

Praia Do Furadouro (Ovar) - Aveiro, Portugal (12)

Praia Do Furadouro (Ovar) - Aveiro, Portugal (11)

Praia Do Furadouro (Ovar) - Aveiro, Portugal (10)

Praia Do Furadouro (Ovar) - Aveiro, Portugal (9)

Praia Do Furadouro (Ovar) - Aveiro, Portugal (8)

Praia Do Furadouro (Ovar) - Aveiro, Portugal (7)

cachorro (Portuguese-style hot dog with francesinha sauce)

Praia Do Furadouro (Ovar) - Aveiro, Portugal (6)

prego no prato (steak and egg)

Praia Do Furadouro (Ovar) - Aveiro, Portugal (5)

an unusual house

Praia Do Furadouro (Ovar) - Aveiro, Portugal (4)

an unusual house

Praia Do Furadouro (Ovar) - Aveiro, Portugal (3)

beautiful tiled street signs

Praia Do Furadouro (Ovar) - Aveiro, Portugal (2)

Praia Do Furadouro (Ovar) - Aveiro, Portugal (13)

January 24, 2015
Album: Beaches From Ovar to Aveiro [January 2015]

Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Piedade e Santos Passos (Igreja do Sameiro), Penafiel

Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Piedade e Santos Passos (Igreja do Sameiro) - Penafiel, Portugal (17)

This church is hard to miss, sitting high atop a hill overlooking the city of Penafiel, about 40km east of Porto. This church is also hard to say all in one breath. Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Piedade e Santos Passos (Igreja do Sameiro) translates to Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy and Holy Steps (Sameiro Church) in English. We spent the day around Penafiel because I wanted to pay a proper visit to the city and photograph this church against a blue sky to make up for the one other time I’d passed through, a year ago on a cloudy day enroute to Amarante. I remember the first time I saw the church and how dramatic it looked from the road, but when the sky is white the photographs turn out flat. On Sunday the weather was much more co-operative, and the sandy colour of the church was the perfect contrast to the backdrop of blue.

Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Piedade e Santos Passos (Igreja do Sameiro) - Penafiel, Portugal (16)

Igreja do Sameiro is one of many churches around Portugal with two and sometimes three names, much of that owing to their long histories. Information about this church was hard to come by on the internet, and after some research, I found only one website (below) with much detail about it. The building looks quite new, but according to the website its construction began on February 1, 1886, and was only fully completed on July 14, 2002! Needless to say, with the blood, sweat, and tears invested into this 116-year project, it is a great source of civic pride for Penafiel.

The site is in Portuguese, but check out the aerial views of the church to see the architectural details from above:

http://sameiropenafiel.blogspot.pt/

We spent some time in the surrounding network of park and gardens, which include ponds, bridges, water features, and sculptures. I remember a year ago remarking on how skilled the builders are who make the concrete look like wood. It’s an aesthetic I haven’t seen anywhere outside of Portugal (at least to the degree where it looks that natural), and the first time I noticed it was in Penafiel.

Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Piedade e Santos Passos (Igreja do Sameiro) - Penafiel, Portugal (11)

The church has an unparalleled view of Penafiel from the steps of the sanctuary, and I had a look inside while Paulo supervised Ice. There’s a sign on the door prohibiting photography in the interior of the church, but since the church attendant was standing right there I thought I should ask him permission to take photos from the doorway facing outwards to the town. He agreed and watched me taking the pictures, and then suggested that I go inside to take photos because I didn’t use a flash.

Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Piedade e Santos Passos (Igreja do Sameiro) - Penafiel, Portugal (8)

So for anyone reading this and wondering whether I ignored the No Photography sign, I did not. (I’m the person who only photographed the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel after a raging case of the guilts and much hemming and hawing and my friend poking me to hurry up and take a picture already, because every single person around me was ignoring all the signs and pre-recorded warnings and the guards were ignoring the tourists’ blatant disregard for the prohibition.) Anyway, all that to say: promise the attendant you won’t use a flash to take pictures of the inside of the church and hopefully you’ll have the same outcome.

I usually take many more interior photos of churches versus their exteriors, but as you can see I was quite taken with this one. You can find more photos of Penefiel in the (growing) album.

Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Piedade e Santos Passos (Igreja do Sameiro) - Penafiel, Portugal (10)

Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Piedade e Santos Passos (Igreja do Sameiro) - Penafiel, Portugal (9)

Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Piedade e Santos Passos (Igreja do Sameiro) - Penafiel, Portugal (15)

Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Piedade e Santos Passos (Igreja do Sameiro) - Penafiel, Portugal (14)

Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Piedade e Santos Passos (Igreja do Sameiro) - Penafiel, Portugal (13)

Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Piedade e Santos Passos (Igreja do Sameiro) - Penafiel, Portugal (12)

Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Piedade e Santos Passos (Igreja do Sameiro) - Penafiel, Portugal (7)

Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Piedade e Santos Passos (Igreja do Sameiro) - Penafiel, Portugal (6)

Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Piedade e Santos Passos (Igreja do Sameiro) - Penafiel, Portugal (5)

Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Piedade e Santos Passos (Igreja do Sameiro) - Penafiel, Portugal (4)

Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Piedade e Santos Passos (Igreja do Sameiro) - Penafiel, Portugal (3)

Santuário de Nossa Senhora da Piedade e Santos Passos (Igreja do Sameiro) - Penafiel, Portugal (2)

Penafiel is about a half hour drive east of Porto

Penafiel is about a half hour drive east of Porto

January 25, 2015
Album: Penafiel [JAN 2015]

Postcards From Ria de Aveiro

Ria de Aveiro, Portugal (1)

Last Saturday after watching the sun drop to the horizon beyond the dunes of São Jacinto, we made a lanche stop at twilight along the Ria de Aveiro near Torreira. The Ria de Aveiro is a 45-kilometre lagoon that is home to a wide variety of birds and other wildlife that are supported by the marshland. For the humans the lagoon is a source of excellent fish and high-quality salt, as well as ecotourism.

Ria de Aveiro, Portugal (2)

Ria de Aveiro, Portugal (6)

Ria de Aveiro, Portugal (5)

Ria de Aveiro, Portugal (4)

Ria de Aveiro, Portugal (3)

January 24, 2015
Album: Beaches From Ovar to Aveiro [January 2015]