Viana do Castelo

fountainFinally we have made it around the notorious Cabo Finesttere and into the Promised Land of Portugal. Here the air is redolent with the sweet nectar of Southern flowers and the warm breezes fan our bare legs as we stroll in shorts and t-shirts through the narrow winding streets of Viana do Castelo. Mind you … having recently read of the confirmation of the Higgs Particle’s existence in 2012 we have another suggestion … apparently bare feet and hairy legs (both of ours) are very heavy in Higgs Particles (a unit that stands as a proxy to gravitational potential) – simply let loose an ugly pair of Australian hoofs clad in thongs (flip-flops to the Yanks and Poms) and suddenly eyes are dipping down to the force of these errant particles and lips and eye brows droops into uncontrollable frowns.

templeBut as we dodge the occasional disgruntled local (clad in several layers of wool) we have both been amazed by this part of the world. Perched on the hill above us is the temple of the Santa Luzia which looks very grand from afar (though the festoons of Christmas lights lend it a slightly comical air at night) but is spectacular once you clamber up the several hundred step that lead the way from the town centre. Of course you could take a cable car, but where’s the fun in that? From the high eerie of the temple you can see the land of Portugal unfold to the south over the river that wends its way through the city. The city itself is composed of grand sandstone structures that echo a past age of discovery and nautical dominance, with statues holding model ships aloft as testimony to the Portuguese power over Poseidon’s realm.

Our own nautical dominance is somewhat circumspect after the pirate Poseidon stole our cherished inflatable … we are also set to venture forth into unknown territory. A short voyage to Lisbon is ahead and from there we launch south towards unexplored shores and the mystique of Africa…

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