Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Braga Romana Displays — The Military Encampment.

 A month has slipped by since our return from our trip on June 4th. I did get in one post here and another at my Victorian Scribbles blog next door,  just before we left. But on arrival, the election was the very next day here in California. Then my husband had cataract surgery — which turned out well. Then there was gardening to catch up on (pesky weeds); and much of my time has been taken with political matters (I'll be marching this coming Saturday to protest the breaking up of families at the border.)

Still, our trip to Braga, Portugal was filled with spectacular events, and I don't want it to get lost in the busy-ness of life. See the picture of the Roman soldier to the left? There is a four-day festival each year toward the end of May, celebrating Braga's Roman past. It's called Braga Romana, and the whole city turns out in costume, including a children's parade that kicks off the celebration with students of all ages. Performances are held at various sites. Tents and kiosks display arts and crafts, mostly in keeping with Braga's Roman and Celtic past.

The soldier above was posted at one side of a re-created military encampment in the Largo do Paço, a plaza surrounded on three sides by wings of the former Archbishop's Palace. (Paço means palace, and the building now houses books and archives for the University of Minho.) This largo was the perfect site for the "encampment." Here is a better view of the false "entrance":

Before we went entered, outside the gate, two men were demonstrating the way rope was made in ancient times.


Once inside, there were areas with people working the old crafts: weaving, carving utensils, blacksmithing, etc. And something was supposedly cooking in that dangling pot:

         Meanwhile, we became intrigued by how soldiers and visitors were looking at one particular tent:
Even standing guard at one time. What was inside that tent? All kinds of wonders.

              Remember I said this site was perfect for the encampment? Well drapes transformed the arcade of pillars into housing for the Roman big wigs that planned troop movements, and enjoyed perks of power, etc.
Imperial Rome Map

Imperial big wigs resting.
Little vehicles to attend to
big wigs' whims. 

Then, as we came out the exit, we saw the Roman weapons of war shown below. Notice the battering ram with the ram's head:

Finally we exited the encampment itself, into the street, where a Roman legion was passing by:

Throughout the four days, Roman troops appeared regularly, marching through the streets and saying "Ave, Caesar." etc. It really was a kick.

The military encampment was an ongoing feature for the entire festival, day and night. There were other performances and displays that I will share in my next post. I hope you've enjoyed the pictures.

Meanwhile, if you like mysteries involving Sherlock Holmes, I've reviewed a good read on my Victorian Scribbles blog HERE . 

Have you been to festivals where everyone dresses the part and arts and crafts reflect the era? Do you enjoy those kind of events? Do you ever dress up in costume to attend one?

Friday, June 1, 2018

The Beaches in Northern Galicia

A few weeks ago, Rajan and I drove up to the northern coast to see the  beaches called "Os Catedrais" in Galego and "Los Catedrales" in Castilian, inspired by a trip we took last year with our friends, Terri & David. They are called 'cathedrals" because the waves have worn away the rocks and created caves like chambers in a cathedral, but it is only safe to go into them when the tide is out. This is what they looked like last year:

But on this trip, we did not get there at the correct time for going to the caves. We seemed to keep getting high tide. But we had a lovely time, since we love beaches anyway. We stayed at a nice hotel right on a nearby beach, walked to a restaurant we had enjoyed for lunch, and walked back, and took tons of pictures along the way. Here is what the cathedral beach looked like this time:

So we contented ourselves with photos from above.

Nonetheless, we loved the walk along the beaches and waterfront; sometimes along the road, back to out hotel, O Refugio. Here are some scenic pictures along the way:

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I particularly love the crazy architecture of the lavender house. It's actually a popular architecture in Galicia.

And there's a lot of pasture land away from the beaches.

Once back at the hotel, we enjoyed a glass of wine indoors and talked over our day. The hotel was very reasonable, perhaps because Galicia is reasonable, but also because we were off-season (it was still May) and mid-week (Wednesday night). But we had a lovely, clean, charming small room overlooking the ocean, and the management and staff were cheery and warm and welcoming, wanting to know all about us. Here are some pictures from the grounds:

The glass roof you see is the top of the outdoor part of the  restaurant and was right below our room's  window.

And this railing you see, above the glass roof was right outside our window.

 Me after we got back from our long walk, and Rajan the next morning at breakfast, trying to read one of the Spanish newspapers. (You'd be surprised how much news we are actually able to glean now and then! 😊) 

We also learned on this trip that one one of the beaches along a drive there is a small fishing village with wonderful reviews of the food. And at another spot along the drive, there is an ancient castro (and you know how we love ancient castros!) So that is on the travel list for our next trip to Galicia.

How about you? Do you love beaches? Fresh fish for dinner? Spooky caves?