Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A visit in the Santa Luzia Basilica and the nearby attractions


Basilica de Santa Luiza, Viana do Castelo, PortugalBasilica de Santa Luzia
Basilica de Santa Luiza, Viana do Castelo, Portugal
Santa Luzia Basilica has a familiar look. Built just over a hundred years ago, this basilica stands on the mountain of the same name. Her architect Miguel Ventura Terra, was inspired from the Sacré Coeur in Montmartre, Paris. It is named after Saint Lucy, patroness of eyes. The iconography of this saint is gothic and very interesting. She holds a palm branch in one hand and a golden plate with two wide open eyeballs in the other. The palm branch symbolises the victory over evil and she is said to be the protector of the sight, since her name from latin means "light". You can take the Santa Luzia elevator to reach the basilica. Classified as the Mecca of Architecture, Viana do Castelo is famous for the monuments in and around the city, and the surrounding natural beauty.

Panoramic views from Santa Luzia Basilica
Where the river and the ocean meet
Where the Lima river and the ocean meet
Viana do Castelo
View from Santa Luzia
From the Santa Luzia Basilica you can spot the Eiffel bridge. It is at the end of Avenida Marginal, above the marina and was built in 1878 by the Eiffel house to replace an old wooden bridge, linking Viana with the Parish of Darque. This bridge is 600 meters long and stands over the river Lima. It is made of iron, weighing over 2 tons and sits on 9 pillars hewn more than 20 meters deep. It has two levels, one for traffic and one for the railway line. The pedestrian access is via a metal staircase.

Eiffel Bridge
Eiffel Bridge
A nearby city worth a visit is Vila do Conte.  It is one of the oldest towns in northern Portugal. First things first, you can stop by the Maritime Museum that is situated in the building of former Royal Customs and dedicated to the sailors and shipbuilders of Vila do Conde. In front of the Maritime Museum, you can have a look at the replica of typical Portuguese ship of end of XV, beginning of XVI centuries and feel the spirit of first Discoverers. This ship “Quenhintista” was originally build in Vila do Conde according to medieval drafts and technologies. Many mariners from the village were involved in the epic voyages during the Age of Discovery. This ocean-going ship was large enough to be stable in heavy seas, and roomy enough to carry provisions for long voyages, displayed in the harbor of the city. A DJ preparing his things for night music, was another element of this view .


A carrack in the harbour of Vila do Conde

Another thing that was amaizing to me was the way that water was brought from the mountain to the Santa Clara monastery fountain. An artificial wall canal, originally with 999 arches, more or less 4 km in length, was built between 1705 and 1714 from the Santa Clara Convent to the east, with the aim of bringing water to the monastery fountain, through its arches. 
The aquaduct, second largest in Portugal

Convent of Santa Clara was founded in 1318 by Infante Afonso Sanches and his wife Teresa Martins de Menezis. He and his wife are buried in the church of Santa Clara situated near the huge building of Convent. The present building of Convent itself was built in 1777 in early neoclassical style. There is the statue of Saint Clara with elephant on the top of the building. Unfortunately after 1974 that building was abandoned. There exist some plans to convert the building of that convent into a modern hotel. 
Santa Clara Convent and a view of the Gothic Santa Clara Church (1318) behind
Convent of Santa Clara is situated on the top of the hill dominating the city of Vila do Conde so it is impossible to miss it.

The town of Vila do Conde on the River Ave
On the way back to the highway you can notice a building that is neither mosque nor synagogue, located on a massive rock overlooking the River Ave. It caught my attention. This is the Roman Cotholic Nossa Senhora do Socorro Chapel and it presents a peculiar architecture, with a square plan, covered by a dome. It was built by Gaspar Manuel, a knight of the Order of Christ who traveled much to India, China and Japan and his wife Barbara Ferreira de Almeida. They both are buried there.
Nossa Senhora do Socorro Chapel

You can end your day with the best view of the sunset in the ocean.   


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Egg-cellent advice


I was reading the short story of Andy Weir, where he expresses his point of view on a philosophical sense, stating that the universe is "An Egg". Eventhough I think that the story is inspiring I am not going to discuss this theory in here. Neither am I going to try and find an answer  to the ancient question of which came first, the chicken or the egg? Instead, I am going to be very practical and let you know the key points you need to know to convince yourself to profit as much as you can from this excellent and easily available superfood, which by the way is very similiar to the planet we are living on. 

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