It can get very flower laden around here at this time of year, so today I’m going to take you on a stroll around Almodôvar, a little known village in the Alentejo. Why? Well, just because I can, and also because I was intrigued by these red shoes. Seriously, don’t you ever want to go somewhere just to see what’s there? I do it all the time.
It’s not the easiest place to get to, and after an hour and a half of rocking and rolling along switchback country roads, car sickness was beginning to threaten. I knew that, once over the border from the Algarve, the land would begin to flatten out. Still, it was a relief to step out of the car. An elderly lady was pegging out her washing and regarded me with some curiosity. Visitors from out of town are obviously a rarity.
It’s an ordinary enough place, the likes of which you will find throughout Portugal. The charm lies in wandering the quiet streets, simply observing life. It was just before Easter and preparations were underway in Igreja Matriz de Santo Ildefonso, the imposing 16th century church which dominates the main square.
A map on a nearby wall points out places of interest in the village. Just what’s needed! Number 2 is the clock tower, or Torre do Relogio. In the 8th century, Almodôvar (literally ‘place in the round’) was rebuilt by the Muslims, with a surrounding wall. No trace of this exists today. A clock tower, served by an outside staircase, would typically have been part of the ramparts from the 17th century. The clock was housed in the right tower of Santo Ildefonso, but was removed in 1889 when the parish church was struck by lightning.
As so often in Portugal, the smartly modern sits alongside the shabby and forlorn. A pedestrianised shopping street comes as something of a surprise, but I am no longer surprised by wall art. Meet poet Fernando Pessoa, and friends!
Still loosely following the map I headed along Rua do Convento, the convent of Our Lady of Conception inviting me closer.
What to make of this? I hunted high and low for an explanation of this fanfare of an art installation. Why red shoes, I was at a loss to know. No clues inside either, but the interior was a show stopper. All that glitters…
I did solve the mystery, though. Close by the convent there’s a 6 metre high sculpture of a cobbler on a roundabout. Marked ‘Aureliano, 2001’, in researching it I discovered that Almodôvar had a history of shoe making. Between the years of 1940 and 1970 there were around 200 manual shoe makers working in the town, and selling their wares at fairs throughout the county. This sculpture, made by Aureliano Aguiar of Coimbra, from cogs and recovered bits of metal, is in their honour.
I strolled back to the sleepy little square with a fountain, and found a cafe opposite the museum. In the shade of the trees, sensible villagers idled to pass the time of day. This place would be like a furnace in full summer. I was melting in March. So when I was offered a half litre bottle of vinho verde (they didn’t sell it by the glass) there was nothing to do but sit and watch the world go by. Of course, I needed a substantial amount of food.
Back in the car, we rolled down the N2 towards the coast, passing the village of Ameixal with its Thursday morning roadside market. The stalls were all but empty. A venue for another day? I had been thrilled by the wild irises, dusting the kerbside, on our way north. Worth a last quick leap!
And that was Almodôvar. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. I do like a wander. Sorry about the lack of cake again. I was too full after that enormous toastie. Speaking of which, it must be time to put the kettle on.
Cuppa to hand, it’s time for this week’s wonderful shares. Thank you all for your company and the great support I receive on here. If you’d like to join in at any time, details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page. You’ll be made very welcome.
Look where Lexi’s landed! Doesn’t it look fine? You just might be surprised :
I love a sing-a-long, and where better than the charms of Paris? (and Drake) :
From one magical city to another! So lucky to have Debbie show us the heights :
There’s always something to be thankful for in the company of Lady Lee :
Geoff’s lessons on life, ably assisted by Dog :
Jackie’s not quite so exuberant this week, but then, look at the weather!
It’s not every day that I’d go walking around a complex, but Sedona surely makes a stunning backdrop. Thanks, Marsha!
Woolly wins it for excitement this week. Up, up and away!
Amy goes hunting for wildflowers in Texas, and finds boots and saddles!
But Dawn is more than happy with her finds :
I went looking for wood sprites or elves with Denzil, in Belgium :
And then I really struck lucky when Gilly found me a baby dragon!
And finally, what did Carol find at the top of a hill?
My English walk today has been rained off! And it’s not even a Bank Holiday. That’s next Monday, isn’t it? See you then!