Trading trad skills
Trip Start Nov 27, 2009
147Trip End Ongoing
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On our way up to the project, which is near Portugal's capital Lisboa, we stopped for a night near the beach at Melides. We witnessed some wonderful churning waves (West Coast again, it's true what they say about the wind)
We arrived at our new host's the next day. As it is the start of the project and we are the first helpers, we got the hard landscaping job. Veronica is developing a renaissance food producing garden. Our primary tasks were to dig pits in the water logged clay soil where leaf litter, good soil and manure would be heaped as well as build a fence to keep the planned animals out of the veg plot.
On truly appalling weather days, we were asked to carve spoons for the medieval cooking course and nalbinding needles - a Scandinavian way of knitting but with knots rather than loops so the finished fabric doesn't ladder or hole when a thread is broken.http://www.thegenieslamp.com/crafts/nalbinding.pdf for the basic stitch. You know you want to!
We spent a day exploring Lisboa (Lisbon), arriving just as the commuters started. Set on a few hills, Lisboa is up and down for walking, and has three funiculars on the steepest ascents.
The old tram network is still in use, hosting both modern and quaint trolleys. And, in keeping with all Portuguese settlements, there are at least three churches for every family in the province. There are tons of photos so less words!
Near Europe's most western point, (visited, tick in tourist destinations check sheet), we had a gawp at Sintra, a UNESCO world heritage site for it's cultural landscape.
The valley is stuffed full of bizarre architecture, each designer out doing the last with stone ornamentation, spires, turrets, battlements, gargoyles, romantic ruins etc.
There's an old Moorish fort that you could pay £15 to go in, or you could explore the woodland locally and, oops, find you'd just descended into the grounds (was that a wall we climbed down, officer?). Unfortunately (perhaps fortunately for our readers) the camera battery died during our exploration, so no pictures of our accidental transgression....
We had a really interesting couple of weeks with Veronica and her partner, helping get things started for the course centre. We wish them luck, and if you're interested in traditional skills or would like to do an early singing course check out www.quintadamandragora.com
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