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Hello again all,

I have a couple of stories for you this time. The first is about a visit to the castle of Santa Maria da Feira.

As many of you will know, there is a huge number of castles in Portugal. Before the creation of the country, like many other parts of Europe including Britain, the Iberian Peninsula saw a wave of invasions. After the collapse of the Roman empire there were Visigoths and Suevi and for many centuries, there was a Moslem dynasty which occupied virtually the whole of the territory. Castles were the redoubts from which resistance was launched leading to the eventual reoccupation of their country by the indigenous peoples. The castle of Santa Maria Da Feira was instrumental in these struggles.


The second story is a contribution from fellow lusophile, Julie Thornley, who went on a visit to the home of an old English family with connections to the Port wine trade. They have a special garden full of camellias, what in the UK we might call a 'national collection'.


Julie and her husband Derek also visited the Paiva walkway earlier this year and in a future blog she will be telling us about this too.

The weather has been topsy turvey in Portugal recently. Last year was hot, hot, hot with the resultant empty reservoirs and terrible fires. This year we have had a great deal of rain. The good news is that the reservoirs are full again and the undergrowth has been cut back for 10 metres from the roadsides so, in the event of fire people should not get trapped.

What will happen next? With the climate so unpredictable, who knows? Let's hope the news for Portugal will be good.

Till the next letter, my very best wishes


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