Aug 30, 2019

Drama at Ristinge ends happily, August 25, 2019

Every year, the Tourist and Business Organization of Langeland celebrates the Day of the Fynen Archipelago at Ristinge harbor the last Sunday in August. Locals and tourists can experience the anatomy of a fish, bake pancakes, drive in the donkey cart and much, much more. Also sailing trips from the port of Ristinge with the old schooner Meta from 1884 are on the program. The water depth outside the harbor of Ristinge is not impressive, and this year the last trip ended with a stranding. Will Meta be sailing again, or rests it still stranded there?
View of Ristinge Harbor, Langeland, Denmark. In the background lies Meta, aground.
View of Ristinge Harbor.
The stand of the Danish Society for Nature Conservation.
Meta aground. The small boats from the harbor help in trying to bring her afloat.
Skipper directs the attempt to bring Meta free from the bottom, and the passengers follows the process. Are they going to spend the night at Meta at sea?
The remaining guests in the harbor are eagerly watching whether the rescue operation succeeds.
Waiting for the drama to end, in the meantime view from Ristinge Harbor.
Meta is sailingt again. The drama at Ristinge ends happily. The schooner META is a wooden ship that sails every summer on sightseeing trips and sunset trips with locals and tourist from the three ports of Svendborg, Rudkøbing and Marstal. The schooner META was built by shipbuilder Christoffersen in Assens in 1884. Meta sailed until 1938 as a freighter, after which it was rigged into stone fisherman. In 1961 Meta was sold to Copenhagen, where it sailed with anglers, and after that it was given up and moored in 1978. In 1979, Meta was rescued by a group of people from Rudkøbing and then furnished as a pleasure craft.

Jul 21, 2019

Meat Ball festival, July 18, 2019

The unofficial World Cup in Danish meat balls takes place at the Frikadelle party in the small Harbor town Lohals at the nourthernmost tip of Langeland. It has become very popular.
The harbor area was packed with people busy eating meat balls, drinking beer and listening to the music.
The Danish artists Maria Bramsen and Anne Dorthe Michelsen entertain a lively audience
Every inch of the harbor was packed with yachts
Lohals has got a new cozy eatery: "Restaurant Kaos" with delicious food Restaurant Kaos (Restaurant Chaos), contradictory to its name a very organised and friendly place.

Jun 28, 2019

Midsummer Bonfire in Bagenkop, Langeland, Denmark Sunday, June 23, 2019

We attended the midsummer bonfire in Bagenkop on the southern tip of Langeland.
Knud Pedersen from Bagenkop, a local cultural personality and chairman of the Langeland Museum Association held an excellent bonfire speech.
There were many local listeners to the wise words of Knud Pedersen
The bonfire has been lit. Still we have the unpleasant habit of putting a figure of a witch on top of the bonfire. The habit of putting a figure of a witch on top of the St. Hans bonfire is relatively new. For approx. 150 - 200 years ago, and even further back, bonfires did not include the burning of figures of witches. The witch is a symbol of the evil which will be eliminated by the fire.
A view of the sea just outside the gathering.

May 6, 2019

Praia do Barril, Algarve, Portugal, 2019-04-25

At Praia do Barril we walked across the Ria Formosa to the barrier island protecting the highly productive lagoon system from the sea. Ria Formosa, - The Natural Park - occupies 18.400 ha and are separated from the sea by a cordon of barrier islands and fed in freshwater by small, seasonal water streams. The Ria Formosa nature park includes diverse habitats - dunes, marshlands, mud flats, pine woods and agricultural areas. It has a varied bird fauna, especially wader who migrate to this area in the winter. Today we visited the Barril beach, connected to the mainland by a miniature railway. The 1km railway was originally used for hauling goods and freshly caught fish between the fishing community and the village of Pedras D’el Rei but today transports overly excited children and tired parents! Back in the days, life on Praia do Barril revolved around tuna fishing (bluefin tuna). The beach had a small tuna fishing village. There were about 80 fishermen who lived here with their families, during the tuna fishing season (which lasted from April to September every year). In the second half of the 20th century, the bluefin tuna moved to other waters, which started the decline of the tuna fishing industry here. Nowadays, there is no more bluefin tuna in the waters of the Algarve. The beach started focusing on tourism instead. The old buildings that were used by the tuna fishermen are now converted into restaurants, bars and other facilities
Ruddy turnstone at the Ria Formosa Nature Park.
Eurasian Curlew at the Ria Formosa Nature Park.
Fishing and enjoying life at the barrier island.
Breaking waves and in the foreground a Sanderling (sandløber)
Ria Formosa wetland protected from the sea by the barrier island.
The Barril beach is connected to the mainland by a miniature railway. The 1 km railway was originally used for hauling goods and freshly caught fish between the fishing community and the village of Pedras D’el Rei but today transports overly excited children and tired parents!
Ria Formosa wetland, in the foreground Limoniastrum

Faro, Algarve, Portugal, 2019-04-24

Faro is the biggest city and the capital of Algarve and has a population of 65,000. In prehistoric times many people settled at the Ria Formosa lagoon. A fortified a settlement was built long before the Romans transformed it into a town called Ossonoba to become Faro. The Romans rebuilt the wall around the main city area, which corresponds now to the Old Town, where the forum, the temples and other public buildings were situated. In the Roman period the town grew outside the city walls, where a second quarter consisted mainly in rich patrician houses. Faro became a Bishop’s seat in the 4th century and kept it even after the Visigoth occupation in the 5th century. These people of Germanic origin, ruled the city until the Moors conquered and occupied it in the 8th century and improved the city wall. The Moorish occupation would last about 500 years. Towards the end of this period, the city became the capital of an independent Moorish kingdom, ruled by a family called Harun, whose name would give origin to the actual name of Faro. The famous Arabian geographer Edrici wrote: “The town is built near the ocean and its walls are washed by the ocean at high tide. It is a town of a reasonable size and nice outlook. It has a main mosque, a secondary mosque and an oratory”. The Portuguese king Afonso III conquered Faro in 1249 and integrated it into the Portuguese territory. The city of Faro was defended by strong walls and large wooden doors. In order to enter the city, the Portuguese brought a large quantity of wood, placed it in front of the main city door and burned the wood. When the door was destroyed, Portuguese soldiers stormed into the city. As in many other conquered cities, the main mosque was replaced by a Christian gothic Church, called Santa Maria church (now Cathedral). Short after the conquest, the Moorish population that lived in the town (‘Mouros Forros’ in old Portuguese), was granted civil rights and the maintenance of their economical activities, such as farming, trade and handicrafts. Outside the city wall there were two other important quarters: the Moorish quarter and the Jewish quarter. The first book pressed in Portugal was pressed in a Jewish typography of Faro. In 1596, in a period when Spanish kings ruled Portugal, an English army of about 3000 men, commanded by the Earl of Essex, sacked the town. They burned some buildings and seized the library of the Bishop of Faro. The 18th century was a period of economic wealth in the history of Faro, mainly due to the gold from Brazil. Unfortunately, the earthquake of 1755 destroyed many buildings in Faro. However, the destruction was relatively less than in other cities in the Algarve, due to the sandy banks of the Ria Formosa lagoon protecting the city of Faro. After the earthquake, the capital of the Algarve changed from Lagos to Faro. The earthquake destruction gave opportunity for a large-scale city restoration (mainly in neoclassical style) and the building of a few remarkable buildings. At the centre of the old town is the main square, the Largo da Sé, with the cathedral on one side and the Episcopal palace on another. The cathedral is very simple in style on the outside but inside it is rather more ornate with gilded carvings and decorated tiles. Along the sea front the main row of shops includes some beautiful buildings including the Bank of Portugal
Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Carmo, the start and end point of our city walk in Faro.
Portugise tiles art
Along the sea front the main row of shops includes some beautiful buildings among these the Bank of Portugal
Faro harbour. In the background the garden Jardim Manuel Bivar and the old town.
Stork nests are perched on top of just about every one of the old chapels. Turns out there are all inhabited by a rather large stork population that covers a large portion of Faro. Being a protected species within Portugal prevents the removal of these conspicuous bundles of roughage.
The entrance to the old town: Arco da Vila with 3 stork nests on top.
Largo da Sé is the main square in the old town. On the square, you can find the statue of Dom Francisco Gomes do Avelar, who was a bishop of Faro in the 18th and early 19th century.
The inside on of the mansions of the old town
A part of the old city walls.
Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Carmo is one of the Algarve's most dazzling churches, this twin-towered baroque masterpiece was completed in 1719 under João V. After the 1755 earthquake, its spectacular facade was paid for with Brazilian gold.

May 1, 2019

Trails of Barrocal, Algarve, Portugal, 2019-04-23

The Barrocal area marks the transition between the small coastal strip and the mountains of the Serra. This area is also known as the "beira-serra" (literally the mountain edge). Most of the agricultural produce of the Algarve originates from this fertile area, particularly citrus and other fruits, vegetable and olives. Honey and almonds are also among the typical regional produce. Before the plantation of cork oaks had moved to the north into the Alentejo, the area was also an important centre of cork production.
Barrocal landscape. The Barrocal area marks the transition between the small coastal strip and the mountains of the Serra.
Barrocal landscape.
Barrocal landscape. Most of the agricultural produce of the Algarve originates from this fertile area, particularly citrus and other fruits, vegetable and olives. Honey and almonds are also among the typical regional produce.
Barrocal house.
Cistus ladanifer is a species of flowering plant in the family Cistaceae. It is native to the western Mediterranean region. Common names include gum rockrose, laudanum, labdanum, common gum cistus, and brown-eyed rockrose. It is a shrub growing 1–2.5 m. The leaves are evergreen. The whole plant is covered with the sticky exudate of fragrant resin, the source of labdanum, used in herbal medicine and perfumery. C. ladanifer is particularly well suited to the Continentalized Mediterranean climate, standing both long summer droughts and cold weather. It is an extremely aggressive plant which has taken over much of former farmland and grasslands in the mountain regions of central Spain and much of southern Portugal.
Lavandula stoechas, the Spanish lavender or topped lavender is naturally in several Mediterranean countries, including France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. Like other lavenders, it is associated with hot, dry, sunny conditions in alkaline soils. Lavandula stoechas is used commercially in air fresheners and insecticides. Flower spikes have been used internally for headaches, irritability, feverish colds and nausea, and externally for wounds, rheumatic pain and as an insect repellent. The lavender also produces essential oils, which are not used economically. The infusion of its dry inflorescences are febrifuge and fight the affections of the chest and bronchi. It is used as antiseptic, digestive, antispasmodic, healing and antibacterial. The flowers are used in aromatherapy, to prepare infusions and essential oils. Since its introduction into Australia, it has become an invasive species, widely distributed within the continent. It has been declared a noxious weed in Victoria since 1920. It also is regarded as a weed in parts of Spain.
Barrocal flowers
Barrocal landscape.
Digitalis purpurea (foxglove, common foxglove, purple foxglove or lady's glove) is a species of flowering plant in the plantain family Plantaginaceae, native to and widespread throughout most of temperate Europe. It is also naturalised in parts of North America and some other temperate regions. The plants are well known as the original source of the heart medicine digoxin (also called digitalis or digitalin).
Cork oak trees harvested
Paeonia broteri is a perennial, herbaceous species of peony. It is an endemic species of Spain and Portugal. Its common name in Portugal is rosa-albardeira
Barrocal landscape. with cork oaks. Before the plantation of cork oaks had moved to the north into the Alentejo, the Barrocal area was also an important centre of cork production.
Bee Orchid, Ophrys Apifera (?)
House ruin