Fado is a Portuguese music style, the most internationally famous type being that sung in and around Lisbon, the type sung by the late Amália Rodrigues and today’s Mariza. There are other styles of fado, however, including that from the city of Coimbra, which is home to Portugal’s oldest university, the Universidade de Coimbra. The following video is an example of fado from Coimbra performed by university students, and it is really fun! I hope that you like it.
Just outside of the city of Porto, in the municipality of Paços de Ferreira, there is an awesome, 2000+ year old castro, which is a “pre-Roman Iron Age Celtic village”, that sits at the top of a large hill. The Citânia de Sanfins is a big castro, so that’s why it is called a citânia. It is believed to have been later occupied by Romans. They have a nice website for the place, but it’s in Portuguese. It was free to walk around the site, unless we just got lucky on the evening that we went. To go inside the re-created house, you might have to pay, but we couldn’t find anyone around to let us in.
Anyway! Here are some photos…
Ponte de Lima, founded in 1125, is known as Portugal’s “oldest town”, but it wins that distinction on somewhat of a technicality… it is the oldest town because it has not grown enough to be a city! Plenty of old cities were older towns than Ponte de Lima when they were in fact old towns. But it doesn’t really matter; Ponte de Lima is still, in its own right, one of the most beautiful little spots in Portugal. It has a fantastic bridge spanning the Lima river (hence its name: Ponte (bridge) de Lima), and a beautiful church on the opposite bank that really makes for a great view from a little cafe in the waterfront plaza.
According to Wikipedia, Ponte de Lima has a population of only 2,800, although the municipality of Ponte de Lima has more than 44,000 inhabitants. It is located far in the north of Portugal, towards the west, and close to the northern border with Spain.
Guimarães is, in my opinion, one of Portugal’s most beautiful cities, but today I am going to post pictures not of Guimarães, but of the Penha mountain that overlooks it. These pictures were taken around January of 2010, when there was an unusual amount of snow on the mountain top (it had even snowed in Oporto that month!).
One morning a couple of weeks ago, I visited the Parque Biológico de Gaia, a medium-sized nature reserve in the middle of a forest housing many local species of animals, many of which were found injured in the wild and brought to live out their lives here. There were many baby animals, too, born in captivity. Gaia is on the other side of the Douro River, opposite Oporto, so it was an easy and fun trip. There was a group of school children at the park, too. They were really cute and really excited to pet the donkey.