27 Mar 2015

Little beauties

Even in winter, in Portugal, there are wild flowers. They defy the freezing winds from the North, heavy rains from the South, frost of the night and blazing sun of the day, standing out fearless and brave.

With the naked eye you hardly notice them. They are so tiny, hardly 5 mm in size. Little beauties.

Photos from Gião, Vila do Conde, 2014.

24 Mar 2015


From the city to the country. I live on a farm in Northern Portugal. There´s a big field next to the house, with a track running alongside it for the tractor. I often take the dog out there for a walk, and while she´s having her fun I´m having mine, studying the diversified life on the path.

A flower in bud holds a promise. It promises to open up its secrets, reveal everything in front of any pair of eyes that will see it. But while it is still but a bud, it remains an enigma, a mystery, pure and innocent.

Next time, tiny flowers.

Photos from Gião, Vila do Conde, 2014.

19 Mar 2015

On display

I live on the outskirts of a small village. It took me almost a year to find out that there are two grocery stores in this street. They have no signs, no big windows, nothing to reveal that there´s a shop inside. Hidden shops. Camouflaged in the downstairs of regular houses.

It was the same in the city of Vila do Conde. On my walks in daytime I passed by many shops without any idea of what they held inside. They were dark. Only after sunset the lights were lit, revealing the offering of the little boutiques.

Also in Salamanca, Spain, the shops come alive at night. The bright windows offer a feast for the eye even when you don´t buy anything. Oh, I did want to bring one of those cured hams, home… mmmm!

Photos: Salamanca, Spain, 2015

16 Mar 2015


Southern sun, the heat is beating down on you. You’re dying for a drink, and sit down in one of those many cafés that spread out on plazas and streets and little parks on a beautiful spring day. Oh, what a relief to rest your feet for a bit after an afternoon spent seeing the sights of the city.

It won´t take a minute for an agile waiter to hurry up to greet you with a smile and ask what would you like to have. “A beer, make it a large one”, you ask, hiding your face from the blazing sun underneath a large umbrella.

A couple of minutes later you have a refreshing drink in front of you. A few more moments to down it, and after paying the bill you continue your walk with much happier feet. 

At the end of the day, at night, that waiter spends his last working time and strength to clean the tables, stacks them up as well as the chairs, by the entrance of the café, binds them together with a wire, carries in the big, heavy umbrellas and heaters, menu stands and whatnot. He closes the café and heads for home, rather tired. 

The next morning it may be the same waiter to undo the piles of tables and chairs, to carry the big, heavy umbrellas back on the street, the heaters, menu stands and whatnot. He lays the tables, puts on the tablecloths, napkins, forks and knives, glasses, candles and vases with flowers, and waits for the customers with a smile on his face.

He does it every day, perhaps six days a week. For his living, and for your relief. Next time don't forget to leave him a tip. He deserves it, don´t you think? 

All photos Salamanca, Spain, 2015.

2 Mar 2015

No shades of gray

It was one of those days yesterday – and a Sunday, too – with a soft, sticky rain that clings to everything; your clothes, your hair, the line where on a sunny day I hang the laundry out to dry, the walls, the windows, the plants. Everything. No wind to lift off the misty humidity. It was even heavy to breathe. 

The rain makes everything gray. Dead. It kills the colours. 

There was no point in going out to get wet, so after lunch I finished reading John Irving’s The Fourth Hand. It was okay. I didn’t fall asleep. I almost wish I had.

After a few cloudy days I was missing the sun, so I looked for it where I knew I would find it; in photos. They took me back to a June evening in 2010, when I was staying in the fishing village of Vila Chã for holidays, and the photo session that I had with a seagull prancing on a wall between the beach with the fishermen's boats and their little houses. 

No shades of gray there.

This week I head for Spain. A few days’ journey in several cities, back via Guarda, the highest city in Portugal. New places, new faces, new ideas, new photos.