Luz in the 1940s?

Let me say up front that I do not have a date for the photo you are about to see. I can only say it appears to be consistent with Luz in the 1940s.

Shall we start with the obvious bits first? All of the land to closer to the photo taker than the church and the Fortaleza turned into a chunk of the Ocean Club plus other developments decades later, so the photo is hardly recent.

The promenade now has palm trees. Those in the photo are deciduous trees.

That big hilly lump in the centre of the photo still exists, although it looks like it has been much reduced in size.

It is possible to line up the church, the Fortaleza, the promenade, and that hill to pinpoint where the photo was taken. I am confident I can identify the photographer’s spot. But what I cannot do is find either of the two buildings in the foreground. They are either gone or heavily modified.

There are 2 further points for your attention.

There is what I would call a station wagon, on the left hand side of the photo, about half-way down. This is a poor match for 1930s station wagons. It happens to be a good match for 1940s station wagons, which is why I think this is 1940s or later. Here’s a 1940 Plymouth De Luxe.

In the bottom right-hand corner of the photo is a person who appears to be staring up at the photo-taker at the moment the shutter was clicked. The watcher and the watched. From the shadows, it is possible to tell the sun was around the mid-day point, and it was spring or autumn (not summer or winter). But I cannot get a year from the shadows.

PS For a bonus, can you see what looks like 2 people having a stroll on the beach?

Madeleine – Rua do Poço – UPDATED

The street of the well, Rua do Poço, obviously features in the Madeleine McCann story. Everything else in Luz does, so why not this tale.

I can find Rua do Poço with no trouble. I can find Travessa do Poço (lane of the well) with no trouble. What I could not do before today was to actually locate the town well.

One needs to go back way before Luz was developed and to imagine a small community that came to the well to get drinking water.

The following photo is definitely from Luz. I have no clue as to the date at the moment. As far as I can tell, the location is consistent with Rua do Poço.

Perhaps there are ways to date this photograph accurately. To me, it just looks very, very old indeed.

One donkey, one aged well – what more can one ask for?

UPDATE 28 June 2017.

I decided to see if there was any possibility of a match to more recent times, so here is my effort at aligning a 2014 photo with the older one. The 2014 one was in colour, but I removed that to make comparison easier. The donkey photo was clearly taken much later in the day when the sun was further west, so I cannot make the lighting conditions match up.

The 2014 photo was taken near the junction of Rua do Poço (street of the well), Travessa do Poço (lane of the well) and Beco do Poço (alley of the well), so I’m confident this is indeed the location of the well.

A little way to the west on Rua do Poço is a restaurant called the Galley. It also has an entry on the promenade. In 2007, it was called O Poço. This got a mention in the PJ Files. A lady emailed the PJ from there, telling them to look in the tunnels under Luz. Paulo Rebelo requested a map of the underground tunnels from Lagos Câmara, but there is no trace of it in the Files. Since Tom, Dick and Harry were already clambering through the rainwater outlets near the sea, it is impossible to determine what the origin of the tunnels story was.


Portugal – daily news – child lost in Ourém

A 3-year-old boy was found after being missing in a 4 hour search in Ourém, in northern Portugal. On the map, you can see Lisbon bottom-left. Castelo Branco is top-right, and Leiria top-left. This area is roughly the region of the recent forest fires in Portugal. You can see that Ourém is very close to Fátima.

The boy had been watching his father cut herbs when he decided to go and look for his grandmother.

The alarm was raised at 8.30pm on Saturday, 24 June 2017. After a search by 50 firefighters plus GNR with dogs, the boy was found around 00.30am on Sunday morning, about 1km away from his home.

He had become confused as to where he was and went onto a balcony of an empty house that was similar to his home.

He is safe and well.

Portugal News – fracas in Oura, Albufeira

The news in Portugal is that last night, Sunday 25 June 2017, disturbances in the bar district of Oura in Albufeira resulted in the intervention of the GNR, who cleared out the zone. (See Praia da Oura on the map.)

So far, the count of those injured in the clashes is two people.

Many people were already fleeing the scene when the GNR arrived. The GNR then fired rubber bullets into the air, and used batons and shields as they moved people away from the zone.

The offences are alleged to have involved a group of British tourists.

Photos and video at

Portugal – Pedrógão Grande end

The forest fire at Pedrógão Grande was declared to be over yesterday, Saturday 24th July, in mid-afternoon, one week after the blaze started.

There were still isolated areas of flames within the perimeter, but the main body had been extinguished.

There remained 570 firefighters, assisted by 214 vehicles.

The death toll is currently at 64. The number of homes affected by the blaze is estimated at 90.

Already a new problem has arisen. Those returning tell of assaults, thefts and burglaries.

For this reason, the local câmara is controlling access to the zone. Those wishing to enter the area must present themselves to the câmara with identification. Such people are then given a special access card, to show that they have been checked.

The GNR has stepped up its presence by adding 20 horse teams to patrol the area.

I have little idea of what the weather has been like around Pedrógão Grande during the week. Here in Luz a small thunderstorm has just passed over, brining a small amount of rain. According to my weather station log, that is the first rain since 11 May 2017. Then it rained overnight, giving a good watering, whereas today the rain was hardly of note, and evaporated rapidly.

Portugal – Pedrógão Grande #2

Correio da Manhã did a drone flight over one of the worst incidents on the N236 around the Pedrógão Grande forest fire, and from that I noticed something odd. The tree trunks are blackened but intact. The tree tops are fine. It wasn’t the trees that were burning. It was the undergrowth.

This van is typical of what happened to vehicles caught in the fire. The tyres have burned off. There is no glass to be seen. The front section of the bodywork, plastic, has been melted off. The van happens to have struck a tree at a fair speed, causing the bonnet to collapse. The tree is blackened but otherwise unscathed. In the background you can see the trees still have tree tops.

This scene is the clearest I can find of what was going on. Unfortunately, the precise location has not been given, so I can’t run checks on it. However, you can see that it is not the trees in the forest that are burning. The fire is limited to near ground level. I suppose forest fire is the correct term but I had always thought of a forest fire as burning lots of trees. This is more like a brush fire.

The fact that it is burning dry vegetation close to the ground explains why the fire spread so quickly.

Why does this interest me? We don’t have a forest near us now, and we won’t have one when we move. What we do have here is a lot of dense, dry undergrowth which is an obvious fire hazard. I will need to check out the situation when we make our house move, because I would prefer not to be surrounded by such tinder.

Portugal – forest fire at Pedrógão Grande

Portugal has announced 3 days of mourning for the 62 dead, so far, in the forest fire in the Pedrógão Grande region, which broke out on Saturday and continues to blaze at this time.

The photo below comes from the N2 atop the Barragem do Cabril dam, and this gives you an idea of the terrain and the woodland that the firefighters, the bombeiros, are facing.

This dam and river happen to be the junction of Leiria District and Castelo Branco District, why is why photos from the major news sources show bombeiros from both teams.

The grey structure in the background is the modern road, the IC8. Many of the main stream pictures come from the IC8.

The next photo is the Ponte Filipina. It was built around 1607-1610 in order to replace an old wooden Roman structure. It connects Pedrógão Grande to the north with Pedógão Pequeno to the south. It was intended for foot and horse traffic only, and the approach road was built in 1860. When the Cabril Dam and the N2 were built it became redundant and fell into disuse.

The enormous concrete structure behind is one of the supporting pillars of the IC8, as it crosses the valley.

In the next graphic, Pedrógão Grande is marked in red. The squiggle to the right is the river as it approaches the Cabril dam.

Above, to the west is Coimbra, the location of the INML laboratory that carries out forensic testing for the Polícia Judiciária.

Slightly south and to the west is Leiria. While slightly south and to the east is Castelo Branco. These are the two regions trying to fight the fire.

I have included Lisbon, for the simple reason that I know where to point to it on a Portuguese map. Close by, I know we have visited Évora, which I believe is a world heritage site. I think we have visited Estremoz and Elvas, but I would need to check.

The final location you might wish to note is Fátima, just south east of Leiria. Fátima is in an adjacent region of Portugal, called Santarém.

Within Santarém in another place that interests me. It is called Mação. Whether it has anything to do with the former Portuguese colony of Mação in China, I know not at this point.