I’ve always meant to tell the story of Flor de Sal, so much a part of summer here in the Algarve. A walk through the salt marshes is one of the joys of summer, though you do have to pick your days as it can be unbearably hot. A hint of breeze can make all the difference.
The pink colouration, from crill, especially transfixes the eye. The fusion of sunshine and salt water creates the salt crystals, which need high temperature and strong sunshine with only gentle winds. This year conditions have been perfect and it’s a very good harvest.
The process starts around April, when the tanks are prepared. Mud and clay has hardened over the years and a first channel of salt water is fed in with the tide, to a good depth. The system of tanks or reservoirs are connected with locks and channels, and gradually the saltwater is transferred to increasingly shallow tanks, warming the water in the process. Finally it reaches the crystallisation tanks where, from June to August, ‘flor de sal’ is formed. The fragile crystals form on the saltwater surface. Harvesting is done by hand, the ‘marnotos’ being highly skilful in collecting the crystals, which must never touch the bottom of the pans. They are raked gently off and left to dry in the hot sun for 7 days, where they become more crunchy, and identifiable as the ‘flor de sal’ which is sold in the markets. Their appearance through a microscope is like a flower. Just one more miracle of summer.
Many thanks to Paula, at Thursday’s Special, for the inspiration.
Spanning a river and several challenges
When Ann Christine suggests we Pick a Word on the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, I’m tempted. But when Paula offers another five on Thursday’s Special… what’s a woman to do? Give in, graciously!
Several bridges Span the river in Tavira, including Ponte Romana, a Roman bridge that isn’t; an uninspiring but very functional road bridge that soars across the water, and a small scale model of the same, nearing completion, to replace the former dilapidated Military Bridge. Construction of the latter has certainly been a challenge!
One of my favourite things is sailing out of this river to the Ilha beyond. Exuberant water fizzes and gurgles as it washes surfers and fishermen alike. So often flat calm, I love the sight and sound of leaping waves.
Two out of ten will do for now, don’t you think? And far too many words for Six Word Saturday! Have a good one, everybody!
Described as the ‘most complete Roman cavalry fort in Britain’, Chesters dates from AD123, just after Hadrian’s Wall was completed. In a lovely setting by the River Tyne, the most visible aspect of the fort are the Roman baths. A full history of the ruins can be found here.
An overview of Chesters
What the spy glass reveals
The cavalrymen’s barracks
The cavalrymen lived in close confinement with their horses and some interesting thoughts and details are provided on information boards.
After a sweaty day with the horses it must have been wonderful to indulge in a little scrubbing in the tub.
The commander, of course, lived in relative luxury. He must have wondered what he’d done to be exiled to the ‘edge of Empire’.
I had intended this to be the subject of a Monday walk, but I’m running out of Mondays before I’m back in the Algarve. Paula has obligingly included Fortified in her Pick of the Week in August and I’ve just time to slip this in before the next Thursday’s Special.
Help me to pick a word?
I think Debbie might have accused me of being too wordy this week, but I don’t mind because the lady produces incredible images, day after day. Someone else who produces very special images is Paula. I haven’t had time for Thursday’s Special – until today.
Have a lovely weekend everyone!
An interesting ‘Traces of the Past’?
Rather special to find the photographic studio of a former war correspondent in Angola on Tavira’s Rua da Liberdade. Luis Andrade studied film making and photography, as well as journalism, and you can find 4 generations of photography in the tiny museum above the shop. Read all about the family business here. The museum is a photographic history of Tavira and I found it fascinating.
I also thought it might appeal to Paula, even though her Traces of the Past is intended to be in full colour this week. Tavira under snow is a rare sight. Talking of snow, I’m keeping my fingers crossed this weekend. We’ve had hailstones this morning. Enough of Siberia!
Bring on Spring, and share your six words with Debbie! Happy weekend!
Azulejo panel in Santa Maria church
The view from the bell tower
Wood carving panel in the museum
Food for thought?
A pretty doorstep
A sweet treat?
Waiting for the ferry
Meanwhile, waiting on the beach
A little beach art
And a marooned boat
I’m interpreting the Weekly Photo Challenge to suit myself this week. On Monday’s chilly walk I suggested that I still have a few warm Algarve images to share, and here they are in Variations on a Theme
Those of you who know me will have spotted that the theme is Tavira. I’m heading there this weekend and this will be my last post for a while.
I love the shadows on this one
But I love the close up too
I couldn’t leave without one more tribute to Paula. She works hard and still manages to bring us Thursday’s Special each week. Two views on the same subject. What do you think? Take care, till next time.
I wanted somewhere suitably elegant to end my daughter’s visit to the Algarve, and they don’t come any more elegant than the Estói Palace. In A palace in warm sunshine, back in November 2014, I suggested that it might make a good venue for afternoon tea. Do you remember it, Paula? Long overdue, I think. The sun was just sliding down the sky when we got there and the terrace looked so inviting.
What a study in opulence this place is. No need to introduce you to azulejos after Monday’s post but I can never resist sharing a few more beauties.
More restoration work had been carried out since my last visit. The small summerhouses were a picture, with their vibrant stained glass and painted walls and ceiling. The grotto was open and my son-in-law, who has a particular interest in ironwork, studied the details with interest.
Enough of admiring our reflection. It’s time to go indoors for refreshment. Truth be told, it really couldn’t compete with the decor.
Does that window look familiar, Becky? You’ll be happily ensconced in your Algarve life by now. I’ve taken liberties with your Past meets Present. I’m sorry! You did such a nice job on the Palacio not long ago. Paula- I thought you might like an update for Traces of the Past?
Oddly enough, the waiter said they only had cheesecake. Ah well! Cake’s cake, isn’t it? There wasn’t a crumb left when son-in-law had finished.
Fizz! Bang! Whoop-whoop-whoop! I know they’re a dreadful waste of money, but I can’t help the excitement I feel whenever I see fireworks. The child in me claps it’s hands, and beams at the sky.
When my Polish family invited me to Norfolk to join their New Year celebrations, I knew there would be dancing, vodka- of course!- kissing, and more food than I could reasonably be expected to eat in a week. I wasn’t disappointed on any of these counts, but the promise of fireworks at Cromer on New Year’s Day was the icing on the cake. (and yes, there was plenty of that, too).
Impatiently, we waited for the lights to dim and the show to start, gazing across the water for signs of activity on the pier.
And then, finally, the count down. 5-4-3-2-1- whooppee!
Impossible to replicate the sounds, the colours and the pure joy. This week Paula has asked us to Pick a Word in Thursday’s Special. I’ve picked an easy word, Festive, to stave off the January blues.
Sleigh bells ring, are you listening?
This is how Christmas looks in my part of the world. Darkness and Light. And a few Square skies. How about you? However you spend it, I hope that your Christmas is full of love. And maybe just a little magic? Thanks, Tom!
Now, off you go to Debbie’s world, for a little upside down skiing. And don’t forget to take Six Words with you!
This is SO not the day for a walk, as storm Caroline huffs and puffs her way towards us, but Paula’s magnificent Sequence this morning sent my mind drifting back to late summer. I was pootling around in Saltburn-by-the-Sea when I spotted a signpost promising a clifftop walk to Marske. It was only a mile or 2 down the coast, but the climb up to the cliffs appeared a little daunting. I knew the views would be great, though!
With a sense of achievement after my climb I set off on the clifftop, peering over the edge at a lone rider and, off in the distance, the towering offshore wind farm at Redcar. Sweeping views right along the coast.
Soon Marske was ahead of me and I needed to get down off the cliff top. Uncertain of which way to choose, I made a delightful discovery. A row of terraced houses with themed seaside gardens overlooking a lovely cove.
And what else, draped in all their winter finery, but a Sequence of tractors, for Thursday’s Special.
Can I just remind you that Becky is playing with square skies all of December? The lead photo needs to be square, and contain sky. Like mine!