There is an astonishing array of beautiful fountains adorning Portuguese towns and villages. Here are just a few I can’t resist sharing.
Varied aren’t they? There are hundreds I could have shared. Do you have a favourite? I think probably the last one’s mine, but I love Nabia too. I also came across the term “chafariz” in relation to fountains and am not sure if this refers to a specific type. Maybe my Portuguese friends can help me out with this?
The word “fonte” appears in many place names in Portugal. In fact, when we’re directing people to our home in Tavira, we tell them to turn off the E125 at the roundabout signed Fonte Salgada. In this sense it relates to a natural spring.
My first sighting of natural springs here in Portugal was in the village of Alte. Fonte Pequena (little spring) and then Fonte Grande (large spring) and the surrounding lush greenery came as a complete surprise. It seemed a world away from the Algarve to which I was used. Alte is described in detail in my Personal A-Z of Portugal, but I came across a lovely snippet of the poetry of Cândido Guerreiro, born in the village in 1871 and commemorated at the fontes:
“As the place where I was born lies encircled by four hills
Through which waters run singing
The songs of fountains and mills,
Waters taught me to speak.”
(Porque nasci ao pé de quatro montes
Por onde as águas passam a cantar
As canções dos moinhos e das fontes,
Ensinaram-me as águas a falar.)
I often go out with a walking group in the Algarve, or rely on a map and my husband, to find local beauty spots. We found Fonte de Benemola, the Eternal Spring, one February day with the help of Julie Statham’s book, “Algarve-Let’s walk”. The white faced cistus I love wasn’t yet in bloom and the valley was peaceful as can be, the fonte rippling silently in its depths. On our way back to the car we spotted the solitary basket weaver, his wares strung along a reed fence. He rather charmingly demonstrated his whistles and we purchased a small bowl. A slightly wonky fruit bowl now sits on top of my fridge!
There is a wealth of natural springs in Portugal, some of which have been developed into health resorts. The term “caldas” refers to thermal springs, as in Caldas de Monchique in the Algarve. Further north, Caldas da Rainha (Queen’s hot springs) has had a thermal hospital since 1488, when Queen Leonor discovered the curative power of the waters. Beautiful Sintra was also a spa.
Spring water is a popular source for drinking water because of its relative purity and high mineral content, believed by many to have health benefits. Just north of Coimbra, the small town of Luso is home to one of the most famous bottled waters in Portugal. I seldom go walking without a bottle.
This post is part of my Personal A-Z of Portugal. I’ve been following Julie Dawn Fox’s challenge for a while now. If you’d like a look at what’s gone before, and maybe to join in with an A-Z of your own, please follow the links. I need to catch up with my personal A-Z of Poland next. See you next time.