Saturday, 22 July 2017

Aveiro, marjoram and beat thing mash.

Once again, I am finding the people of Portugal to be very friendly and helpful. On arrival I asked someone where a shop selling beer would be open. "They are all closed after 8.30PM" came the rely. The guy then showed me to a fabulous little bar. I could have searched this city for weeks without finding a bar I like more. Golfinho Bar. Amongst all the tourist bars between Praça Julio 14, and Praça Peixe (the fish market) at the end of Rua Tenente Resende. Lovely people, great prices. Typically traditional Portuguese snacks and a large beer (caneca???) for €1.90.

I sold a sketch to a couple who have filled me in on information about local villages I can't wait to visit. I need to stay here to save enough money to take a leisurely hike in the direction of a village named Figueira da Foz - it sounds very nice. Thanks for the info´.

Thanks also to Cristiano and Clown Mario Faisca for treating me to a couple of large glass of local red wine and a Bohemia beer.

I visited a gastro bar full of iPhone people last night, but it was actually nice. There were pots of marjoram on the tables, so I asked if I could take a small sprig. My plan today is to catch the fish market just before closing time and take the cheapest, or free option. Stuff it with marjoram and tomatoes to serve on a bed of beet thingies mash (these are everywhere for free, and I like them) with a sweet chili, lime and coriander salsa. I will try to photograph as and when.

Aveiro is much smaller than I was expecting. I'll see how I get on sketching this afternoon. Perhaps Two days working here, them marching on at a very slow pace.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Spicey vegetable stew. No! Spicey 'seasonal' vegetable stew.

I will go into the ins and outs another day.

We have...











On top of what I have, and what I had, we take...
Leek (30 Cents), beet things - have to admit I am a bit clueless. Huge tomato and fresh parsley (it may have been hemlock, but I am still alive, so I guess it is actually parsley).

I fancied a vegetable stew, and I trust my instincts.

Olive oil in pan. Finely chop garlic and onion with a crushed chili. Simmer until all are soft. Next bit is easy. Add a bit of water. Chop and slice everything else (except tomato and leek), chuck in pan and boil hard for 15 minutes. When all is to your taste, add herbs - parsley and thyme today. Finely chop a small bit of lime peel (no more than a square centimeter). Add that with chopped tomatoes and thin sliced leek (aloha frances here apparently). Simmer for 10 minutes. Then leave to stand for a further 10 minutes.












Notice how I am sheltering from the wind to save gas and control temperature. I am in a car park looking like some sort of English weirdo, eccentric tramp sort of person. Did I say 'looking like'?












Delicious.

I have just spent Two hours alone in a pool hall. My pool hall memories are precious. I may tell another day.

When I have a decent camera, I will pay attention to my culinary presentation!


Santa Maria da Feira, and the smell of freshly mown grass.

It has been a long, long time. The powerful memories your sense of smell can evoke. Being based in Southern Spain, the smell of fresh mown lawns is a very rare thing away from the Costas, and British ex-pat resorts. As a child I suffered horribly from hay fever, however that doesn't seem to have affected my fond memories of summer growing up on the Welsh borders of England. Very nice smells here.

Equally, in Madrid a couple of weeks ago, I was reminded of things associated with 'dead space'. The absolute base smell of lifelessness. Not even the bacterial stench of rot - just dry dust and nothingness. Underground car parks in summer. Metro systems. Long road tunnels. Perhaps an occasional hint of spent oil, but nothing more. Yet, that smell holds a promise of the chaotic life on the sunlit streets above. It is a smell full of latent excitement.

Here in Santa Maria da Feira the smell is clean, freash and very organic. A very pretty little town centre recently restored. A new hotel opened just a few months ago. The place is full of interesting buildings; old and new. Two huge churches and many, many funky and contemporary bars. The place has a bit of a sophisticated air about it. It also has a turreted castle and an annual medieval festival. I am told there is even a Buddhist temple close by.

The town is surrounded by beautiful parkland and countryside. It is a very nice place. All of which makes me wonder where all the tourists are. So close to Porto and the coast. If I was driving around the North of Portugal, this would be a perfect base. I imagine the place is chocker blocked during the fayre, but in mid July it is as peaceful as.

Everyone in Portugal has been extremely friendly. This makes a huge difference to a visit. Thank you to both who bought sketches!














I have harvested goodies to cook. More tomorrow. I need to work now. I call it 'work', but you know...


Thursday, 20 July 2017

Living off the Land as an Itinerant Artist.

 
Myself at work in Porto. Photo sent by Alex. Thanks.

Living off the land as you travel? This would save money and is something I have always wanted to try. During the years of this blog I have hiked over 10,000 KM across Europe (and, a little across Africa). Within Spain especially I pass all sorts of interesting foods growing at all times of year. Unsurprisingly, Portugal seems to be equally abundant. I love fishing. There is a lot of coast, and many rivers.

Next to accommodation, the biggest expense for a travelling artist like myself is food. Finally I have decided it is worth carrying a camping stove, pot and pan with utensils to cook my own meals. I love cooking and miss having my own kitchen as much as I miss friends and my own bed.

One year in Granada I kept a list of everything I picked and ate from fields, hedgerows and woods. Over 40 different plants, fruits, nuts, herbs etc. That was without even really thinking about it. So, on this slow hike through Portugal I will be harvesting as much as possible from the land and the sea. Or, bartering for fresh produce in return for sketches, or other work. My intention is to live solely on local produce, freshly picked, freshly caught, or making use of preserved food stuffs. So far I have spent just a single €uro on food since walking from Porto (I should reach Aveiro tomorrow).

The €1 bought a fresh mackerel. Potatoes, broad beans, herbs, lettuce came from fields and allotments belonging to people I met as I walked. Other food has been recycled from spoils at small outdoor markets. Plenty here grows wild in hedgerows and on the side of roads and footpaths. I also have no problem with helping myself to a cob of corn from a large, commercial field if there is no-one around to ask! The list of possible sources and food types is endless.

A very healthy, cheap and fun way to live and eat. A little extra work each day, but the quality of what I am eating beats a €10 menu of the day hands down.

As well as my pots and pans with stove I am carrying a bottle of olive oil, small jar of chilies, a garlic, and will buy limes (to use instead of salt - I don't use salt, so another good reason for avoiding cafe foods). It is not the season for lime picking. I can't cook fish dishes without lime juice. I may also buy a small bag of flour. Other than that, everything I eat will come fresh from the land and the sea for as little as possible. I intend to use shops and bars for beer alone.

So far, I have harvested/gathered/caught/recycled/robbed...

Mackerel, thyme, mint, potatoes, tomatoes, broad beans, lettuce, corriander, grapes, apples, pears, onions, red pepper and eggs.

I am going to miss cheese unless I get lucky and meet a cheese maker. More than happy to live without meat, but would rarely say 'no' if it becomes available. All will be recorded here daily if possible. ATM I am using an awful webcam. A new camera should come my way soon.

Very loose plan on direction. May well even backtrack at times. Who knows?

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Hiking very slowly south.

Very slowly!

Currently in Santa Maria da Fiera. It is very nice and very posh and apparently there is a Buddhist temple here.

I am foraging for food as I go. Look what I cooked today for just €1!




















All came for free from the land except for the fish which came for €1 from the sea.

Potato and broad been salad with mackerel in a grape and chili sauce cooked on my new camping stove. Some people say I am stealing. I'm not so sure.


Friday, 14 July 2017

A few Porto Observations...

I really, really like the place as a visitor.

A few general observations from a personal perspective.

I am still really enjoying Porto. Let's get the negative stuff out of the way firstly - it is very minor. Almost insignificant, but needs to be mentioned for the entire story. My painting box was stolen last night. I'm not really bothered, because I was going to pass it on to a fellow artist before starting to hike anyway. My own fault for sleeping out in a vulnerable place on a half bottle of ruby port. I took the risk simply because I felt there was no risk. It is incredibly safe here. No obvious risk of muggings, or bag snatching - nothing like that whatsoever. I should consider myself fortunate that they didn't get anything of real value. Paints and brushes can be replaced easily for about €100. I saved €35 on a bed anyway. Nothing has spoiled my experience yet.

The biggest risk here comes from short changing/over charging. Be careful. If you hand over a €20 note for a small purchase, say 'Twenty' and make eye contact when doing so. It is sadly very prevalent here in the heart of the tourist town.

I spend free time out in the suburbs. Touristville is my work - I come from a very different perspective to the average visitor. The average visitor will never see the real Porto. Very easy to forget about the 'other' city when it is screened from view by the hills on the river bank. I haven't managed to find an 'alternative' barrio. There doesn't seem to be a centre for artists, musicians, writers and the like - everything and everyone is all over the city mingling together.

Generally the atmosphere is much more gentle than Spain. Less noise (except for the way parents seem to shout at their children as is they're dogs). There is no macho bravado. Everything is a little more sophisticated and refined. Cafes and bars to suit all tastes in decor and food. Plenty of 100% vegan places. Almost all half decent places offer vegetarian menus. Get away from the high business rates and rents of the old town, and you will find stupidly cheap fruit and veg shops stocked with seasonal, local produce. I just bought Three juicy peaches for 30 Cents!

Beer is more expensive than Spain. Super Bock (stupid name and shit beer) seem to have a bit of a monopoly here. Alternatives are not easy to find. Tax plays a bigger part in most things. Want to receive a parcel of goodies from ebay here? You pay 25% tax on the value of goods plus an administration fee. Go look at the shipping options for Portugal on any website - many don't even offer delivery to Portugal.

Port is as cheap as you would expect. €5 will buy a bottle of reasonable quality, famous name Tawny, Ruby, or White. If you want to die young from liver rot and lose your teeth prematurely you can do it very affordably here.

Cannabis is decriminalised as mentioned earlier. Police tell me personal possession allowance is 25 Grammes for weed, 5 Grammes for hash. Personally, I would stick to the 10 and 2 Gramme allowance I mentioned earlier. I could see an easy argument for 'intent to supply' if you're on the street with 25 Grammes in pocket.

Bar and cafe culture is fabulous. Possibly better than any other city I have visited. The choice is so varied. My personal favourite for treating myself is a bar not too far from the Ribeira named Cris. Not good for outdoor terraces, but the interior and the service makes you want to enjoy a good meal indoors.

I don't really have anything to complain about as a visitor. However, I wouldn't choose to live here. As a tourist you probably wouldn't notice. My own perspective is finding the Catholic conservatism, and the 'in your face' preaching from total strangers very oppressive. That's just me - I do my best to respect every belief, but if you start throwing bollocks in my ears I will start to spit.


A few general observations from a personal perspective.

I am still really enjoying Porto. Let's get the negative stuff out of the way firstly - it is very minor. Almost insignificant, but needs to be mentioned for the entire story. My painting box was stolen last night. I'm not really bothered, because I was going to pass it on to a fellow artist before starting to hike anyway. My own fault for sleeping out in a vulnerable place on a half bottle of ruby port. I took the risk simply because I felt there was no risk. It is incredibly safe here. No obvious risk of muggings, or bag snatching - nothing like that whatsoever. I should consider myself fortunate that they didn't get anything of real value. Paints and brushes can be replaced easily for about €100. I saved €35 on a bed anyway. Nothing has spoiled my experience yet.

The biggest risk here comes from short changing/over charging. Be careful. If you hand over a €20 note for a small purchase, say 'Twenty' and make eye contact when doing so. It is sadly very prevalent here in the heart of the tourist town.

I spend free time out in the suburbs. Touristville is my work - I come from a very different perspective to the average visitor. The average visitor will never see the real Porto. Very easy to forget about the 'other' city when it is screened from view by the hills on the river bank. I haven't managed to find an 'alternative' barrio. There doesn't seem to be a centre for artists, musicians, writers and the like - everything and everyone is all over the city mingling together.

Generally the atmosphere is much more gentle than Spain. Less noise (except for the way parents seem to shout at their children as is they're dogs). There is no macho bravado. Everything is a little more sophisticated and refined. Cafes and bars to suit all tastes in decor and food. Plenty of 100% vegan places. Almost all half decent places offer vegetarian menus. Get away from the high business rates and rents of the old town, and you will find stupidly cheap fruit and veg shops stocked with seasonal, local produce. I just bought Three juicy peaches for 30 Cents!

Beer is more expensive than Spain. Super Bock (stupid name and shit beer) seem to have a bit of a monopoly here. Alternatives are not easy to find. Tax plays a bigger part in most things. Want to receive a parcel of goodies from ebay here? You pay 25% tax on the value of goods plus an administration fee. Go look at the shipping options for Portugal on any website - many don't even offer delivery to Portugal.

Port is as cheap as you would expect. €5 will buy a bottle of reasonable quality, famous name Tawny, Ruby, or White. If you want to die young from liver rot and lose your teeth prematurely you can do it very affordably here.

Cannabis is decriminalised as mentioned earlier. Police tell me personal possession allowance is 25 Grammes for weed, 5 Grammes for hash. Personally, I would stick to the 10 and 2 Gramme allowance I mentioned earlier. I could see an easy argument for 'intent to supply' if you're on the street with 25 Grammes in pocket.

Bar and cafe culture is fabulous. Possibly better than any other city I have visited. The choice is so varied. My personal favourite for treating myself is a bar not too far from the Ribeira named Cris. Not good for outdoor terraces, but the interior and the service makes you want to enjoy a good meal indoors.

I don't really have anything to complain about as a visitor. However, I wouldn't choose to live here. As a tourist you probably wouldn't notice. My own perspective is finding the Catholic conservatism, and the 'in your face' preaching from total strangers very oppressive. That's just me - I do my best to respect every belief, but if you start throwing bollocks in my ears I will start to spit.
A few general observations from a personal perspective.

I am still really enjoying Porto. Let's get the negative stuff out of the way firstly - it is very minor. Almost insignificant, but needs to be mentioned for the entire story. My painting box was stolen last night. I'm not really bothered, because I was going to pass it on to a fellow artist before starting to hike anyway. My own fault for sleeping out in a vulnerable place on a half bottle of ruby port. I took the risk simply because I felt there was no risk. It is incredibly safe here. No obvious risk of muggings, or bag snatching - nothing like that whatsoever. I should consider myself fortunate that they didn't get anything of real value. Paints and brushes can be replaced easily for about €100. I saved €35 on a bed anyway. Nothing has spoiled my experience yet.

The biggest risk here comes from short changing/over charging. Be careful. If you hand over a €20 note for a small purchase, say 'Twenty' and make eye contact when doing so. It is sadly very prevalent here in the heart of the tourist town.

I spend free time out in the suburbs. Touristville is my work - I come from a very different perspective to the average visitor. The average visitor will never see the real Porto. Very easy to forget about the 'other' city when it is screened from view by the hills on the river bank. I haven't managed to find an 'alternative' barrio. There doesn't seem to be a centre for artists, musicians, writers and the like - everything and everyone is all over the city mingling together.

Generally the atmosphere is much more gentle than Spain. Less noise (except for the way parents seem to shout at their children as is they're dogs). There is no macho bravado. Everything is a little more sophisticated and refined. Cafes and bars to suit all tastes in decor and food. Plenty of 100% vegan places. Almost all half decent places offer vegetarian menus. Get away from the high business rates and rents of the old town, and you will find stupidly cheap fruit and veg shops stocked with seasonal, local produce. I just bought Three juicy peaches for 30 Cents!

Beer is more expensive than Spain. Super Bock (stupid name and shit beer) seem to have a bit of a monopoly here. Alternatives are not easy to find. Tax plays a bigger part in most things. Want to receive a parcel of goodies from ebay here? You pay 25% tax on the value of goods plus an administration fee. Go look at the shipping options for Portugal on any website - many don't even offer delivery to Portugal.

Port is as cheap as you would expect. €5 will buy a bottle of reasonable quality, famous name Tawny, Ruby, or White. If you want to die young from liver rot and lose your teeth prematurely you can do it very affordably here.

Cannabis is decriminalised as mentioned earlier. Police tell me personal possession allowance is 25 Grammes for weed, 5 Grammes for hash. Personally, I would stick to the 10 and 2 Gramme allowance I mentioned earlier. I could see an easy argument for 'intent to supply' if you're on the street with 25 Grammes in pocket.

Bar and cafe culture is fabulous. Possibly better than any other city I have visited. The choice is so varied. My personal favourite for treating myself is a bar not too far from the Ribeira named Cris. Not good for outdoor terraces, but the interior and the service makes you want to enjoy a good meal indoors.

I don't really have anything to complain about as a visitor. However, I wouldn't choose to live here. As a tourist you probably wouldn't notice. My own perspective is finding the Catholic conservatism, and the 'in your face' preaching from total strangers very oppressive. That's just me - I do my best to respect every belief, but if you start throwing bollocks in my ears I will start to spit.
A few general observations from a personal perspective.

I am still really enjoying Porto. Let's get the negative stuff out of the way firstly - it is very minor. Almost insignificant, but needs to be mentioned for the entire story. My painting box was stolen last night. I'm not really bothered, because I was going to pass it on to a fellow artist before starting to hike anyway. My own fault for sleeping out in a vulnerable place on a half bottle of ruby port. I took the risk simply because I felt there was no risk. It is incredibly safe here. No obvious risk of muggings, or bag snatching - nothing like that whatsoever. I should consider myself fortunate that they didn't get anything of real value. Paints and brushes can be replaced easily for about €100. I saved €35 on a bed anyway. Nothing has spoiled my experience yet.

The biggest risk here comes from short changing/over charging. Be careful. If you hand over a €20 note for a small purchase, say 'Twenty' and make eye contact when doing so. It is sadly very prevalent here in the heart of the tourist town.

I spend free time out in the suburbs. Touristville is my work - I come from a very different perspective to the average visitor. The average visitor will never see the real Porto. Very easy to forget about the 'other' city when it is screened from view by the hills on the river bank. I haven't managed to find an 'alternative' barrio. There doesn't seem to be a centre for artists, musicians, writers and the like - everything and everyone is all over the city mingling together.

Generally the atmosphere is much more gentle than Spain. Less noise (except for the way parents seem to shout at their children as is they're dogs). There is no macho bravado. Everything is a little more sophisticated and refined. Cafes and bars to suit all tastes in decor and food. Plenty of 100% vegan places. Almost all half decent places offer vegetarian menus. Get away from the high business rates and rents of the old town, and you will find stupidly cheap fruit and veg shops stocked with seasonal, local produce. I just bought Three juicy peaches for 30 Cents!

Beer is more expensive than Spain. Super Bock (stupid name and shit beer) seem to have a bit of a monopoly here. Alternatives are not easy to find. Tax plays a bigger part in most things. Want to receive a parcel of goodies from ebay here? You pay 25% tax on the value of goods plus an administration fee. Go look at the shipping options for Portugal on any website - many don't even offer delivery to Portugal.

Port is as cheap as you would expect. €5 will buy a bottle of reasonable quality, famous name Tawny, Ruby, or White. If you want to die young from liver rot and lose your teeth prematurely you can do it very affordably here.

Cannabis is decriminalised as mentioned earlier. Police tell me personal possession allowance is 25 Grammes for weed, 5 Grammes for hash. Personally, I would stick to the 10 and 2 Gramme allowance I mentioned earlier. I could see an easy argument for 'intent to supply' if you're on the street with 25 Grammes in pocket.

Bar and cafe culture is fabulous. Possibly better than any other city I have visited. The choice is so varied. My personal favourite for treating myself is a bar not too far from the Ribeira named Cris. Not good for outdoor terraces, but the interior and the service makes you want to enjoy a good meal indoors.

I don't really have anything to complain about as a visitor. However, I wouldn't choose to live here. As a tourist you probably wouldn't notice. My own perspective is finding the Catholic conservatism, and the 'in your face' preaching from total strangers very oppressive. That's just me - I do my best to respect every belief, but if you start throwing bollocks in my ears I will start to spit.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Porto.





















Beautiful weather. Happy sketching.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Portugal.

Currently in Porto - very nice. More later. My mobile number does not appear to be roaming ATM. Email is better for the time being if you want to contact me.

Plan is to make my way very slowly south along the Atlantic coast. No idea how far I will get. Vague plan is to continue until September before returning to Granada and then going wherever work takes me. Evolution of a Goddess will continue then. As will theworldsmostexpensivechocolate project.

About to do my very first Portugal sketch. It will appear here later.