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Life in the Village

We spent the first ten days I was here running every day to get Max and me settled. We established our permanent address documents (which are only temporary for us). We'll have to do it again when I move into my house, and Max finds another place to live. But the permanent address was necessary to do anything else we had to do, like get our tax number, register for Portuguese classes at the university, buy my car, and complete our bank accounts.

When our friends left for the USA for three weeks, and all the tasks that required our friends' help were completed, we had a few weeks to explore before classes started. One day, we spent in Porto (pronounced Portu), a few different times at the four-story mall in Coimbra, and visited a nearby town called Penacova.

This week, however, I wanted to post pictures of our village. These are only a few photos of our village, so I'll have to post other images of the town and life here at another time. It's quite different from the three main cities, Porto, Lisboa (Lisbon), and Coimbra, and has so much character. I will likely post pictures and stories about many things happening around the Lighthouse frequently.

It's a quiet village with a population of about 3500 people. Most buildings are quite old; some might even be older than 100! Some are fixed up nicely and painted joyful colors, while others are abandoned and likely have been for decades. The pictures speak volumes on their own, but I'll add captions. I hope you enjoy these little snippets of my village life.

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This cathedral, gleaming in the bright morning sun, sits on the top of one of the highest points of the village. Throughout the day, the bells tell us when there's a mass and when there's a funeral, and sometimes we can tell what time it is. It's a two-minute walk away from us. It would be a faster walk if we didn't have to hike down a deep decline and then back uphill to get there! Phew!

There's a 3-second video below (after the photos) you can play to hear the church bells.

Every village has hundreds of orange trees. There are so many oranges and lemons here that few pay any attention to them. They fall to the ground, fertilizing the soil for next year's fruit or feeding the chickens someone might have running around the trees. 

Every village also has a fountain far left photo). Years ago, people would fill their bottles and buckets of water at the fountain daily. These fountains are usually decorated in lovely tile like the tile displayed here. (middle photo).

Below are photos of homes and businesses mixed in between homes or homes above the businesses. Some buildings are old and crumbling, some are still thriving, and both live side by side. 

  • On the top left, there's a building with some equipment attached. I have yet to learn what this is. 

  • I love the house in the second row down with no roof. I would love to fix it up and add a roof and a giant patio on the back to take in the sunrise view of the valley and mountains! 

  • The middle house in the third row reveals a tiny bridge built across the ditch to each door. 

  • The pink house is my favorite. I'd love to turn it into a room and board or an apartment building. It's run down and vacant, but a sign on the front says, "Villa Rosa." I would keep the name. 

  • It's nice to see some of the older abandoned buildings in town getting renovated. It will be beautiful again in Pampilhosa. 

  • The building in the bottom row, with all the art on the front, depicts a map of the most important things in the village (the soccer field, the theatre, the train station, and the emergency department).

  • The last picture (bottom right) is an ingenious post someone created to hold up a small roof. I love the way they laid the bricks!

Click the video to hear the church bells we get to hear all day, every day. They're lovely.

OK, hope you'll come back next week for another peek into the sights and sounds of Portugal.

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