WELCOME TO Val's Alentejo -I write about my region of Alentejo. My art ,painting, my cottages, Family life, my animals -Travels And my love for Roses- and rural country life.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Along the way and some Geographics.

Along the way home from shopping this Saturday ,  camera now always at hand .    I took a few shots along the way, through my car window.

I never tire of Alentejo.     I do love living here . Life is taken at a very slow pace.  When you go to the village, its like going back in time.   Cobbled streets , whitewashed houses.  The church bell ringing when a village member passes away.  
Alentejo, has always been known as the bread basket of the country.  Producing most of the wheat necessary . (that has all changed).
   It is a very unique province .  Very very different from all the others in Portugal, In its gastronomy, dress  and accent and it's low lying rolling hills.
 A very proud people, and hard workers.  Unfortunately due to the EU rules. Many of the old traditions are dying out.   In January alone, 4 young boys from our village left to work in Germany.     The affects of the world crisis has arrived here. 

Last year,I posted some photos of these almond trees.   Its such a shame that they are just left and not pruned by the municipality.  Last year  there were more blossoms on the trees.
looking at them as I pass by and seeing the flowers.   My heart skips a beat, as I know that spring is just around the corner.

I live in the region of Baixo Alentejo (lower Alentejo)   Alem-Tejo(arabic)  Alentejo borders on the east with Spain.
          Some of the farms around me are large and others small.   We cannot have less than 3 hectares of land in this region.  Unless living in the village.     Vila Nova has 1,245 habitants- last census 2011.

Three of gates I pass when i go to the village.  The first two are Village gates.     The bottom one being mine.
In the distance is my son's barn.

No... its not snow.  Although its snowing in the very north of the country.  This last weekend, the hotel's up in the high mountains of the north were full  for the  skiers.  Others just wanting to experience the snow and make snowmen.

Temperatures can reach up to and over 40 degrees celsius here in Baixo Alentejo . Basically we have mild winters.  Although, when one gets used to this climate.  when its cold.. its really cold for us.  Today here it's 12ºdegrees. February, brings a little more sun, and our days become a little longer.

                                  It really does look like snow.    I am sure you have guessed what it is.. Its the tiniest  white 'Margarida' ' daisies.  This year , some of the fields are just like a blanket of snow, in my area.   I live 2k outside of the village off the tarmac, onto a dirt road.

I had to stop. to take a photo of our traditional black pigs, I spied while driving home.    Many of them were brown.  This region is known for black pork and used in many traditional dishes.   The pigs eat the acorns from the cork oaks that fall onto the ground below.
Not only does the tree provide cork.   It provides food too.

Jeffrey and Hardy -They love a drive out with me.   They too had spied the pigs.

     This pig looks really brown, its the color of the soil.    The pigs look very happy - A black pig in the middle.  

                           This image (courtesy) is of the west coast of Alentejo, about one hour from me.  The Alentejo coastline is rugged and breathtakingly beautiful.  lots of little protected beaches.  Two of my sons prefer the west Alentejano coast.

I have had a few followers commenting on where I live and wanted to know a little more about it.
This is a map of Portugal.
The area in red is Alentejo.   The largest province in Portugal.
Also one of the hottest regions in Europe.

I am at the beginning of a semi arid area about 45 min away in the direction of the Town of Beja. 140 k from the Capital city Lisboa. (Lisbon)..

Today has been a lovely sunny Monday, just a little chill still in the air.

I would love to know where you live and some of the traditions.

Happy week.



  1. loved taking this drive with you (and your pups). and LOVED seeing the gates! such beautiful country you live in.

    1. Thanks for popping over Tex. Thought of you, when i took the gate photos.
      It is lovely here.

  2. Dear Val, This was a wonderful journey. It definitely gave me the wanderlust. Years ago we stayed in Estalagens as we traveled through Portugal. Would you recommend
    traveling through the Alentejo by staying in these country houses. Do you personally know of any?

    1. Thank dear Gina.
      I make this run often. Somehow though, I seem to see different things every time I go . I like to take the back road, more to see
      Alentejo has lots of country houses to stay in.
      Our Pousadas are beautiful.
      I think you have visited Portugal before.. take a look on the internet.
      E mail me if you would like more info.

  3. I always love seeing photo's of your homeland,Val. I may never get to visit it in person but now I can feel like I've been there, thanks for the tour.

    1. Thank you Sylvia for leaving your comments.
      Its exciting to see where some of our followers live.

  4. I would love an almond tree...I love them! And those pigs are enormous. Thanks for showing the map of where your province is, Val. It is truly a beautiful place!...:)JP

    1. Hi. JP. thanks for your comment. Nice to see you.
      I am sure that an almond tree would grow in a pot. You would probably have to take it in during wintertime and the snow. !! I do enjoy the peace and quiet of the country.

  5. Good morning Val, and thank you for the lovely photos and the map. Now I know exactly where you are! Those piggies look very plump and very happy, a good sign. I love your pretty blue gates, very crisp against the gorgeous snowy white daisies! You live in a beautiful place and thank you for sharing it. xox

    1. Hello Patricia.
      I am pleased that you know know where I live. So many people have asked me. The pigs are just adorable.
      Thanks for coming to visit.. xx

  6. What a beautiful walk through the village. So scenic and serene ❥

    1. Thank you Pallavi. Its beautiful here. I love it.

  7. I can certainly understand why you love living in your area – it sounds so comfortable and it looks lovely. When I saw the white fields my first thought that it could be cotton, but then I thought, no, that cannot not be cotton like we have in the Deep South of the US. I am surprised the flowers are out already in early February, but it does look beautiful.

    1. Thank you for your comments Vagabonde,
      It is just what I love, to live here in the quiet of the countryside away from it all. I have lived in the country most of my life.
      I can see how one could mistake the daisies for cotton.
      I first saw cotton while in Texas. Never seen it before.
      Thanks for your visit..

  8. Thanks for the indepth tour Val. You live in a beautiful area with a fascinating history.
    I love the enthusiasm of your dogs.
    Have a great week

    Helen xx

    1. Thank you Helen,
      I am pleased you enjoyed seeing some of the countryside around me. Its my home and where i live.
      My dogs Jeffrey and Hardy , love to put their heads out of the window.
      wishing you a great week too. xx

  9. Hi Val. I loved this trip home from your village and hadn't realised how vast and open the countryside is around you. The village sounds a lovely place to have nearby with its cobbled streets and traditional values like the bells at the church. The fields of daisies are very pretty and really could be mistaken for snow. Have a good week Val and speak soon.
    Patricia xx

    1. Thank you Patricia,
      My village here is such a small village. Its old , but has some charm.
      all our streets are cobbled. Just the highroads that have tarmac.
      wishing you a great week. Nice to see you.x

  10. Such an interesting post, Val. Loved seeing the area where you live. And thanks for the map; now I can "place" you. Yours is a part of the world I've never visited so it's always nice learning more about areas with which I'm not familiar with. Pigs are so much smarter than we give them credit for. I've heard they make great pets. If I think about it long enough I won't be able to eat pork ever again. Did you see the movie "Babe?" After seeing it some years ago I DID give up pork for quite awhile. Wishing you a great week, Val!

    1. Thanks for your comment Sanda.
      Pigs are very clever. I did see the movie Babe. Gives us food for thought.

  11. To answer your question......Oh no, I didn't paint the pictures. I can't draw or paint haha. They were painted by some very talented artists, don't you think?

    Val, I love this picture of your dogs looking out the window at the pigs. It is priceless. They are enjoying the ride as much as you. The field of margarida daisies is beautiful. I love daisies, you know. I enjoy seeing pictures of the Alentejo. The almond trees are so pretty with their sweet flowers blossoming.

    Thank you for the pictures today. Your area is simply gorgeous.


    1. I love the gypsy paintings Sheri.
      pleased you enjoyed knowing a little more about the area I live in.

  12. Dear Val - that is such an amusing photo of Jeffrey and Hardy, they look so cute peering out of the window looking at the pigs. You can almost imagine them having a little conversation together.
    My understanding of pigs fed on acorns is that it is the best possible diet for them to eat and in turn makes their meat delicious.
    The fields of margarita daisies are wonderful. I have a big plant in my conservatory and it is in full flower too, but it would probably not be very happy outside.

    1. Jeffrey and hardy, love to go for a drive in the car with me. They adore the feel of the wind in their faces.
      Acorns are the best feed for pigs. These really are in the catagory of organic.. they are local pigs that we get after preparation ! on our table.

  13. Thank you for sharing this. I would love to visit there one day.

    1. Thanks for visiting Jen.
      You would love this area, I am sure.

  14. Dear Val. It is always wonderful to learn more about where you live. How exciting to see the almond trees coming into blossom and the sea of daisies too. Thank you to Jeffrey and Hardy and you too for showing us around. Sarah x

  15. Thank you Sarah,
    Just a little more of the area I live in.
    Way deep in the southern interior.

  16. It may still be winter with you, Val, but not as we in the UK know it. All those flowers in early February look wonderful. Thanks for this new glimpse into your lovely area.


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