Driving to the Alentejo ( Portugal)


As you probably noticed, this blog is used by Paula and by some of her friends who have travelled with her or attended her workshops. This is my first attempt to blog, so bear with me, Maria Joao, and be patient.

It was under heavy rain that Ann, Puppy and myself we took the road to Ourique , so that we could visit Paula’s new exhibition about the magical world of horses, and so that we could feel the warmth (not) of the famous landscapes of Alentejo.



We spent the first part of our road trip talking about horses in history, their role since the dawn of time, especially after we left behind the 20 thousand years old cave of Escoural and it’s prehistoric paintings of horses, vowing to return there as soon as we could. It kept raining.

Travelling through the almost deserted roads of Alentejo also meant watching the stork nests everywhere, and trying to spot their youngsters and enjoying the beauty of seeing the birds of prey taking flight and roaming the skies.


stork preparing a nest

When we arrived to the small village of Ourique we were first welcomed by King D. Dinis who, on his stone pedestral, still watches over the tiny roads and picturesque houses of the place he confirmed in the Foral Chart of 1290.


It is not very obvious, but this is his statue

In the car we went through that part of the history of Portugal, and also we discussed the Moorish traditions in the south, and the plantation of Leiria’s pine tree forest further north, which was so important to build the ships that would explore the seas in the 14th century. It kept raining outside.


Here a photo to show you one of the beautiful and unique street lamps in Ourique

We finally gathered info on where to go to visit the Photo Exhibition and we went straight there to meet D. Fátima, who organized the event, and enjoy the magical world of horses shown in Paula’s pictures hanging on the big Library’s walls.

We explored each image and individual horse of all the photos there, and we can tell you that it was well worth the long road trip there,  under heavy rain.


did I say that it rained cats and dogs… and pigs?

We left the photo exhibition with our heads swirling with ideas and new projects.

Heading back to Lisbon we picked the coastal road (though we missed spotting the sea… I guess we were just a bit lost, I promise I won’t forget a map next time I do something like this,  and there will be a next time for sure. But sometimes it feels good to roam the smaller country roads without a map, heading a general direction and never knowing what to expect.

We stopped at Alcácer in a not too sucessful attempt to get a place still open to feed us some fish,  but it was far too late.

We enjoyed the rest of the trip and we are already planning for our next photo cultural adventure.

Joao Salbany