Tuesday, October 22, 2013

reeadinig cut from barca de alva

In the evening we went to the Captain's dinner and had a fine time.  It was fine food. I actually had steak and it was fantastic.  The wine and brandy loosened up my arthritis so that it was more than tolerable;   I actually was almost pain free.

Oddly, we get at a table with a fellow who is an expert on fracking for oil and gas.  He goes on and on in support of his ideas.

Finally, I tell him that I look forward to fracking because it will save so much on electricity if we can light up our house by just turning on the water tap and  setting it on blaze.

Well, he begins to get it.

He tells me that has nothing to do with fracking and is just a natural process. 

Yeah, John, like those Pennsylvania folks could always light their water faucets.
Then he made an argument for our grandchildren.

Well, I tell him.  I am hoping by by grandchildren's time that a radcial green revolution will be a totally new revolution and change the way we thing and do everything.

I tell him I don't understand why we don't just invest in solar where there are no chances that anything will go wrong.

He tells me about the smart people and how if the fracking is done smart, then it will be okay.  He is really in favor of nuclear.

Well, I say, the nuclear option really went well for the Japanese. 

And then I tell him that I don't worry so much about the smart people, but that always its seems that decisions are made by the dumb people and that bothers me.  I want to protect us from dumb people.  I also want to be protected from the immoral smart people who want to take the money and run.  Our last economic crisis was caused by a union of smart money grabbers and dumb people who could be convinced into overextending their resources.  Here in Portugal there were smart people who went around to dumb people and told them that they would exchange their old currency for the new Euros at the bank and help them out.  The dumb people never saw their money again. 

And he starts talking about how we should not discuss politics on a cruise and so perhaps we should not discuss energy.  

I laugh and tell him it is fine.  No one is offended really ,but We have marked out our political territory.  I don't tell him all that I am thinking, that I am afraid of the dumb people who start a war over weapons of mass destruction that don't exist. And even when he explains why he did not have to go to Vietnam although he did have to join the Navy, I don't tell him about the dumb people who led us into that war for no reason whatsoever.  The other fellow next to me fought in that war.  He remembers “Hello, Vietnam.”

We had a port wine from 1984.


We loved these little run down homes and gardens and walls and such.  ??see photo?? stopped at a little cafe bar and bought a Portuguese brandy ?? photo?? and sat and watched three men enjoy each other's company and have a drink.  They ordered cocacola and Sprite poured from a liter bottle in a wine glass.  It was very odd.  They were very entertaining although we followed little.  At one point one of the dogs roaming the street wandered into the back room and a man looked for it.  The owner was annoyed at the dog.

On the TV was an afternoon talk show and they had a dog that looked almost like Luna and were trying to get viewers to adopt an animal.  Then they announced the lottery and then a woman who did small handcrafts showed her wares.  The show was called “Boa Tarde” which I took for Good afternoon, but that is Bom Tarde.  We noticed the locals who greeted us all shortened the Tarde to Tard. 

There were quite a few opportunity for found art photos of delapitation in walls and wood and even one old half of a truck used as a trailer.  There was a garden of kale and oranges.  And we took a good view of the bridge from here.

There were few people here in the town and I think that fellow was overjoyed at making such a huge sale to Elizabeth.

I felt like we were the kind of tourists I used to be when I could easily walk and would be isolated in the midst of the population rather than in a group with guides and a

Here are my notes on the books I looked at earlier in the day.  OPORTO  and Northern Portugal a Golden Book published by Casa Editrice Bonech.  This included lots of photos, including photos of that Livraria Lello bookstore where we were not allowed to use our camera.  Casa Orienta was described as an “old establishment in the Cordoaria District” and there was a photo with fewer handing bacalau. 

I learned also that the train station I liked in Porto takes its name from Convento de S. Rento da Ave Maria.


“What Pinhao lost in river traffic it made up for in rail freight and when wine began to be transported by road, Pinhao adapted to the new situation.”
And so while at first it was shrinking in population, it then began to boom.
Portugal's Wines and Wine makers was a great book on the subject by Richard Mayson, but I don't think I'll buy it.  I learned that crushing the grapes is best done by human foot, but the area is depleted of people willing to do that work.  So Sandeman has that robot foot machine we saw.  And there are many systems for crushing the grapes that have been developed.
Movimosto  crushed grapes are tapped into legares to ferment, but it does not work so well.
Algerians developed the Ducellier system that uses “autovinification vats” and many of the wineries use that system.
Tawny that is less than 10 years aged is really not very tawny and that might explain the port we tasted last at Sandeman which I think had aged 8 years.  I think it is still more Ruby at that point.
That fascist dictator no one here likes, Facist Salazar and prime minister (1932-1968) said,

“If Portugal exported rock, it would be the richest country in the world.” 
That sure fits this area of Portugal.

Shistous rock is the key to all these vineyards.  It splits easy enough for the roots of the vines to penetrate and find water even in dry times.  And it holds the heat collected from the sun and radiates it in cold times.
The Rooster legend was explained.  There are many versions.  But all have a tourist convicted of robbery (or murder) who is arrested and supposed to die.  He asserts his innocence and finally is taken to the judge.  The judge is eating his chicken dinner.  The accused man (with St. James help) says that he is so clearly innocent that the rooster in the dish of the judge will stand up and crow, and that happens.  So it is a symbol of Portuguese justice, especially in North Portugal.
In a cookbook I found mention of breads.  Pao caseiro seems like what we are eating that is much like pan.


Here is the version we saw growing in Barca de Alva

The book presented two kinds:   couve talo bravo -  White stalk Kale good for soup.  However Caldo Verde soup uses Galega, a taller kale.  One of these we saw growing in a yard here in Barca de Alva.
Cavoloverde vates is closer to the kale I eat at home.
The cookbooks said that they don't cut it, they tear it, but not why.
For the cabbage soup used a Savoy cabbage with sweeter leaves.  I want to find that for all my cabbabe dishes.
This from “Portugese Homestyle Cooking” by Ana Tatulea Ortive.  Too much of this is meat and rice for me to buy the book.
I took the books back to the cabin later and read some of them  Here are notes I took:
This one I have to buy.  It is a great book and very simple. I wish we had read it before we came.
The Painter of Birds  Lidia Joyce
Set in Portugal this looks like a great little novel.  However, it is not set in the area of Portugal we visited.

A Little Larger Than the Entire Universe
Selected Poems
Fernando Pessoa
I like these poems. They can be easily comprehended.   In translation I suppose they lose a good bit of what makes they work in Portuguese, but they still offer ideas to consider.
I especially liked this one: 

You say I'm something more

Than a stone of a plant.

You say:  “You feel, you think, and you know.

That you think and feel.

Do stones write poems?

Do plants have ideas about the world?”


Yes, there's a difference,

But it's not the difference you suppose,

Because being conscious doesn't oblige me to have theories about things;

It only obliges me to be conscious.


If I'm more than a stone or a plant? I don't know.

I'm different.  I don't know what more is or what less is.


Is being conscious more than being colorful?
It mighty be or might not be.

I know only that it is different.

No one can prove that its more than just different.


I know the stone is real and the plant exists.

I know this because they exist.

I know this because my senses show it to me.

I know I'm real as well.

I know this because my senses show it to me,

     though less clearly than they show me the stone          and the plant.

That's all I know.


Yes, I write poems and the stone doesn't write poems.

Yes, I have ideas about the world and the plant has none.

But stones are not poets; they're stones.

And plants are just plants, not thinkers.

I can say this make me superior to them

Or I can say it makes me inferior.

But I say nothing.  I say of the stone, “It is a stone.”

I say of the plant, “It is a plant.”

I say of myself, “It's me.”

And I say no more.  What more is there to say?
Written 5 June 1922

Carl's pics from Portugal... Viking Tour Host





Barca de Alma bridge






Museum de Fado Lisbon