Category Archive 'Portugal'

09 May 2022

Capela dos Ossos

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Entrance to the Capela dos Ossos [Chapel of Bones] in the Igreja de São Francisco, Évora, Portugal.

The inscription reads : ” Our bones are here waiting for yours to join us.”

16 Nov 2020

Killer Whales Attacking Boats

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The BBC reports on at least 40 incidents of killer whales attacking boats off the coasts of Spain and Portugal.

[There have been] at least 40 similar incidents in the area. During the summer of 2020, the strangest of summers for so many of us, a group of killer whales off the coast of Spain and Portugal began to act very strangely indeed.

Accounts of the incidents suggested that the animals were deliberately targeting sailing boats. As David puts it: “They came to us, not the other way around.”

The first reported incident was back in July, the most recent at the end of October.

Behind international headlines about “rogue killer whales”, “orchestrated” orca attacks and the videos shared thousands of times on social media, there is a forensic marine science investigation that is still trying to work out what is driving these complex, intelligent and highly social marine mammals to behave in this way. …

In July, a sailing vessel had to be towed back to shore after a group of orcas repeatedly hit and damaged its rudder.

In August, a French-flagged vessel radioed the coastguard to say it was “under attack” from killer whales.

Later that same day, a Spanish naval yacht, Mirfak, lost part of its rudder after an encounter with orcas. A video of that incident showed the crew trying to outrun the animals, which appeared to pursue the boat.

In September, a man sailing his boat home to Scotland from Spain suddenly had the wheel spun out of his hands. A killer whale broke the surface at the side of the boat and he says that for 45 minutes, the animals bashed and chewed at the rudder, spinning the boat around.

“It’s getting worse and worse,” says Dr Renaud de Stephanis, another biologist involved in the investigation.


HT: Bird Dog.

29 Mar 2014

Another Tumblr Image Identified

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Francis Frith, Photograph: Batalha, Portugal, mislabeled “Capela Imperfeita [Unfinished Chapel],” actually Main Portal of the Mosteiro de Santa Maria da Vitória [Monastery of St. Mary of Victory], photographed between 1850 and 1880, whole-plate albumen print from wet collodion glass negative, Victoria & Albert Museum.

My personal version of OCD makes me research and identify striking unknown Tumblr images which come to my attention.


The Monastery of Batalha (Portuguese: Mosteiro da Batalha), literally the Monastery of the Battle, is a Dominican convent in the civil parish of Batalha, in the district of Leiria, in central region of Portugal. Originally, and officially known, as the Monastery of Saint Mary of the Victory (Portuguese: Mosteiro de Santa Maria da Vitória), it was erected in commemoration of the 1385 Battle of Aljubarrota, and would serve as the burial church of the 15th-Century Aviz dynasty of Portuguese royals. It is one of the best and original examples of Late Gothic architecture in Portugal, intermingled with the Manueline style.

The convent was built to thank the Virgin Mary for the Portuguese victory over the Castilians in the battle of Aljubarrota in 1385, fulfilling a promise of King John I of Portugal. The battle put an end to the 1383-1385 crisis.

It took over a century to build, starting in 1386 and ending circa 1517, spanning the reign of seven kings. It took the efforts of fifteen architects (Mestre das Obras da Batalha), but for seven of them the title was no more than an honorary title bestowed on them. The construction required an enormous effort, using extraordinary resources of men and material. New techniques and artistic styles, hitherto unknown in Portugal, were deployed.

Work began in 1386 by the Portuguese architect Afonso Domingues who continued till 1402. He drew up the plan and many of the structures in the church and the cloister are his doing. His style was essentially Rayonnant Gothic, however there are influences from the English Perpendicular Period. There are similarities with the façade of York Minster and with the nave and transept of Canterbury Cathedral.

He was succeeded by Huguet from 1402 to 1438. This architect, who was probably from Catalonian descent, introduced the Flamboyant Gothic style. This is manifest in the main façade, the dome of the square chapter house, the Founder’s Chapel, the basic structure of the Imperfect Chapels and the north and east naves of the main cloister. He raised the height of the nave to 32.46 m. By altering the proportions he made the interior of the church even seem narrower. he also completed the transept but he died before he could finish the Imperfect Chapels. …

The portal shows in the archivolt a profusion of 78 statues, divided over six rows, of Old Testament Kings, angels, prophets and saints, each under a baldachin. The splays on both sides display (inferior copies of) statues of the apostles, with one standing on a chained devil. The tympanum shows us Christ enthroned, sitting under a baldachin and flanked by the Four Evangelists, each with his own attribute.

Hat tip to Fred Lapides.

19 Aug 2012


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Preview of 70 minute video, titled (in translation) “More Butts — 5 Stars,” of bulls nailing people, during the corrida de touros (“the running of the bulls”) from 2009 to 2011 in the towns of Terceira and São Miguel in the Azores, a group of Atlantic islands belonging to Portugal. (I recommend going to YouTube and watching the mayhem in Fullscreen version.)

A surprising number of the people seen here seem to have suffered little injury, but not all. Not recommended for the squeamish.

24 Feb 2007

Man Buys Farm in Portugal, Cuts Open Padlock on Barn, and Finds…

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The earliest American report seems to have been January 30 at The Manic Mechanic:

So, this man in Portugal buys a farm (as opposed to ‘buying the farm’, as it were). Apparently the property owner died and the farm was put up for sale. Pretty satisfied of his purchase he wanders about the property sizing up what might need attention. An old, unused barn that will probably need cleaning out was part of the deal. Upon making his way inside the barn he finds that, indeed, the place needs more than a little cleaning…

The story was originally linked from this Dutch site, which has since removed the link. The Dutch site led to a Norwegian Mazda owners site (Google-cached version) leading to the conclusion that the lucky buyer was Norwegian.

It is still unconfirmed, and an urban legend/hoax of some kind is suspected, but the story is he found 180 vintage cars.


I first came across the story at Maggie’s Farm.

17 Jan 2007

Portuguese Bachelor Picked Heirs From Phonebook


News 24.Com:

A wealthy Portuguese bachelor, who had no children, left his fortune to 70 strangers selected at random from a telephone book, a newspaper has reported.

Luis Carlos de Noronha Cabral da Camara drew up his unusual will in 1988 in front of two witnesses at a Lisbon registry office, 13 years before he died of natural causes at the age of 42, reported the weekly newspaper, Sol, on Saturday.

“I am sure he just wanted to create confusion by leaving his belongings to strangers. That amused him,” said one of the witnesses and one of the man’s few friends, Anibal Castro Vila.

The Age (Australia):

Luis Carlos de Noronha Cabral da Camara boasted of his noble Portuguese lineage, but was not a happy man.

As the illegitimate and unloved son of an aristocratic woman, he was rich but had few friends and no offspring of his own.

So when it came to writing out his will almost 20 years ago, he asked a Portuguese notary for a copy of the Lisbon phone book and plucked out names at random.

Now, with the unhappy man having drunk himself into the grave, his randomly chosen heirs are receiving lawyers’ letters telling them they can claim a share of his fortune.

“I thought it was some kind of cruel joke,” a 70-year-old woman called Helena told Portugal’s Sol newspaper. “I’d never heard of the man.”

Pensioner Vitor Mendes told the newspaper: “I rang the lawyer and he said the man just picked names out of the phone book. We can’t be due to get that much. He put down 70 names!”

But with a 12-room apartment in central Lisbon, a house near the northern town of Guimaraes, a couple of healthy bank accounts, a luxury car and two motorbikes to his name, Mr da Camara’s will means that his random heirs should walk away with several thousand euros each.

He was brought up by a nanny and inherited valuable real estate from his grandmother, which he slowly sold off to fund his great passions: motorbikes, shooting and drinking.

“He was determined that nothing should go to the state, which he thought had been robbing him of money all his life,” said Anibal Castro, a former friend who witnessed the will.

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