Grande Prémio Anicolor 2019 in Carris

The Portuguese cyclist Francisco Campos (W52-FC Porto, front left) won the Grande Prémio Anicolor at the end of a 168.2 kilometre stage between Oliveira do Bairro and Águeda.

The race started in Oliveira do Bairro and was the first race this year to pass over the newly-restored road between Carris and Oiã. Hopefully the riders found it an excellent experience.

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A little experiment with Photobucket

I had a junk email from Photobucket this morning, offering 25Gb storage space for a couple of dollars a month. I’ve had an account for a long time and it used to be useful to share images with but I noticed on the email it said ‘sharing images without a watermark’ (or something like that).

Watermark? I thought, I don’t remember a watermark. This must be something new. So I went off to my account (1% storage space used, but mainly rubbish), cleaned up the account and added a few images.

On creating a post on WordPress and linking an image via Photobucket I wondered how the watermark might show up. And here it is. Not exactly subtle, eh?

In conclusion. I don’t think I’ll be using Photobucket to store and share images.

‘Old School’ advertising in Portugal

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In 1963, Pan American Airlines (Pan Am) installed a billboard on National Highway 1, which was the main road that linked Porto to Lisbon. Over 50 years later, that billboard still remains on the side of what is now an otherwise ordinary building in the village of Costa do Valado. The road is no longer a highway but the side road, N335, near the city of Aveiro, and the billboard is a prime example of azulejos – the art of using hand painted, glazed ceramic tiles to depict scenes.

In this case the tiles, made by the Aleluia ceramic company in Aveiro, shows an image of Pan Am’s Jet Clipper America, along with the slogan: “Mais jactos para mais destinos” (More jets for more destinations). Assembled in 1963, the billboard dates from the days when the Boeing 707 represented the epitome of air travel. The colours are still vibrant and impact, and the depiction of the aircraft has lost nothing of its visual attractiveness.

For many, the 6x3m panel of hand-painted tiles that advertises the former Pan American airline is considered a “true work of art” and stands as a testament of the longevity of the art of azulejos. The panel has suffered some damage over the years, with the loss of some tiles and the attachment (and clumsy removal) of posters, but it is still magnificent, and whenever I go past I have to stop and look at it in wonder.

A little piece of history was lost this weekend

For the past 100 years or more, there has been a little capella (like a little church) in Carris. Probably no bigger than 6m by 4m it sat at the side of the road hosting services for no more than 20–30 parishioners while Carris grew around it. In front appeared the Edificio Santo Antonio, an ugly block of flats that is the first thing that anyone driving up the hill away from the railway station sees as they speed towards Carris.

Then, about 10 years ago next to the Edificio the church built a new capella for their congregation. A much larger, modern building, the new capella could seat probably up to 100 people and the old capella fell silent, a monument to Carris’s past. It was still preserved, though, and was lit up every Christmas and opened for the annual festival in the village.

And so it has remained for years, until last week. On my daily (most days, then) walk around the village I noticed first one man, then the next day two men, gently hacking away at the sandstone front of the building removing the tiled mosaic of (I think) St. Antonio, the patron saint of the village. I thought that they were just renovating the front, so I didn’t think much about it. On Thursday (13 December), the scaffolding they had erected had been removed, leaving a gaping sandstone pit in the front of the building.

At this stage I started to wonder whether the men were actually thieves, and they had stolen the mosaic, so resolved to photograph the pit on my next trip and bring it to someone’s attention. Imagine my surprise, and sadness, on Sunday when I rounded the corner of Edificio Santo Antonio to be confronted by this:

After over 100 years, the capella had been demolished. All that was left was one of the old metal-framed wooden benches casually discarded to one side. Otherwise the whole area had been flattened. It was really sad to realise that this little bit of history had been removed, and there was little fanfare or news that it would be demolished.

I’m not sure who was responsible for this demolition, whether it was the local Oiã council, or Oliveira do Bairro, or the Church, but a little bit of Carris’s history is gone forever. Hopefully something nice will replace it, but judging by the speed that things change around here, it’ll probably be another 100 years before we see any improvements.

Update, 29 March 2019: Apparently the chapel had been allowed to deteriorate and was on the verge of collapsing. However, rather than demolishing it and (perhaps) building a replacement in the future, I wonder if it might have been cheaper to renovate the existing building. Now all that remains is a sandy eyesore that is used as a car park by the patrons of the café across the road.

Secret Surf Special Edition

On Sunday we had an opportunity to go to the Secret Surf Special Edition, powered by Surfline, a local championship in Vagueira that recruited some exceptionally talented surfers. It was a bit (ok, a lot) foggy to start with, but by lunchtime the weather was starting to clear.

We were not able to stay for the whole day, but for the couple of hours it was great fun and an opportunity to rekindle my passion for photographing the surfers.

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39th Grande Prémio Abimota 17 Junho 2018

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One of the oldest events in the Portuguese national racing calendar, the 39th ABIMOTA/Altice Grand Prix cycle race set off from Lisbon on 13 June. Over five days, the Grand Prix took cyclists all over Portugal. After leaving Lisbon, the 14 June saw the professional and sub-23 national teams depart from Coruche on a trip that will take them to Proença-a-Nova, where the second stage begins. On Friday, 15 June, Belmonte welcomed the teams and the fourth day, 16 June, was reserved for the ‘queen stage’ that linked Almeida to Mortágua.

On Sunday, 17 June, the fifth and final stage was raced between Anadia and Águeda, where the Spaniard Oscar Pelegrí (Rádio Popular-Boavista), was declared the winner. Once again the race passed through Oiã on their way to Águeda, which was a great opportunity for me to get out into the sun and photograph the athletes as they passed by.

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