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Nº 130 – Where will we go on holiday?

Saturday, the 23rd of July 2022. So what does it take, really? What has to happen to put an end to the use of fossil fuels for good? Temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius will not give us respite over the coming days (and we’re only in July). By 18 July 1063 people had already died in the heatwave, as announced, matter-of-factly by the Ministry of Health in Lisbon. And now what? What should we do? Buy an air-conditioning unit? Bring down the room temperatures? Some people are able to afford this, most however can’t. At some point we all have …

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Nº 129 – Water

Saturday 9th July 2022. … is a resource that’s becoming ever more scarce. Let me tell you about something that happened a while ago, something that ended in major marital strife. People will of course argue about everything and anything. Not only money issues, simple showering too can spell the end of a friendship… So what was the mishap? Picture a woman standing under the shower, her partner wasn‘t at home at that moment. So there she was, fully lathered up, and suddenly, there was no more water coming out of the shower head… In the city, you see, no-one …

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Nº 127 – 18 years later…

Saturday the 11th june 2022. Eighteen years ago, when we planted saplings in various beds and across different mountainous terraces of our plot of land, we weren’t yet familiar with the concept of the Miyawaki Forest, named after the Japanese botanist and plant ecologist Professor Akira Miyawaki (1928-2021, https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akira_Miyawaki). In 2004, when we received a donation of 5,000 different species of trees after the forest fire here in Monchique (11 September 2003) we were looking for a temporary space to keep these 15-cm saplings. I’m talking about oaks, alder, ash, linden, beech and carob trees, as well as umbrella pines …

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Nº 124 – Edible wild plants in Eco-gardens

Saturday 09.04.2022. Lisbon. It‘s a bright sunny Sunday morning in early April. A tiled azulejo panel in the parking lot of the Praia da Aguda in Sintra-Cascais Natural Park describes the beauty of this beach in verse. Down below the sea is throwing magnificently regular waves; seen from the cliffs the surfers appear tiny. Not easily overlooked with her flaming ginger hair is Filomena Aivado. Today Filomena and João Santos, founders of the Lisbon-based initiative “Hortas Ecológicas” are taking us on a stroll around the world of edible wild plants. This is part of a regular programme presenting indigenous plants …

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What forest is this?

Like sap, we rise up through the four layers of a forest. We progress from the bureaucrats in state institutions to experts who are passionate about the forest. Let’s move from the Dantesque vision of the current ‘eucalyptugal’ to the landscape of the lush forest that is to come.   The ground layer It’s called Quinta da Fonteireira, in Belas, and it is a rare green lung in the suburbs along the Sintra railway line. Between the ages of eight and eighteen, I slept more than a hundred nights there, in Vale Escuro. At that time, when I was in …

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Do it yourself and avoid waste

Homemade Shampoo Today we are going to talk about shampoo: a vegan alternative, without chemicals or plastics. I can’t imagine how many plastic shampoo bottles I’ve thrown away over the course of my life. Whether the bottle is 250 ml or 1000 ml, the flood of plastic never seems to end. Special soap for hair washing does exist, but it’s not always easy to find – and goodness knows where it’s been imported from, or rather, how much CO2 it has generated, even without counting my journey to buy it at the shop… plus, the never-ending list of ingredients makes …

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DAY 6
Salir – Cortelha – Barranco do Velho

DAY 6
Salir – Cortelha – Barranco do Velho

Right, the first one hundred kilometres are behind me. It’s turning out to be easier than I’d envisaged; after all, I’m hiking without previous training. The advantage compensating this lack of training is that I know the trail well and that I’m walking slowly, building up my physical form. The entire stretch of the Via Algarviana runs to around 300 kilometres. You have the first, the eastern part, from Alcoutim to Barranco do Velho, the central section from Barranco do Velho to Monchique and the westerly part from Monchique to the southwestern cape. I pack my backpack, take my hiking …

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DAY 5
From Alte to Salir. Moorish Fountains.

DAY 5
From Alte to Salir. Moorish Fountains.

19 km. I’ve now arrived in the heart of the Algarve. To be journeying on foot also means to gain direct contact with the people and their environment. And isn’t that what we journalists need and want to know? What makes the people of this country tick? What are they thinking, and: how are they? In Alte, right at the beginning of the fifth day of my hike I meet an elderly lady collecting a little brushwood at the empty and dried-out Ribeira de Alte, a brook which used to be home to fish and many other wildlife, a biotope …

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DAY 4
From Messines to Alte

DAY 4
From Messines to Alte

  I order my breakfast from next door. The price is 2 euros and forty cents and it’s eight o’clock when I hand over the key at reception and walk across to Senhor Jorge. One hot milky coffee and a cheese roll please. Bom dia. Two minutes later everything is standing on the counter and I take my breakfast outside onto the terrace. Messines has already woken up and I am studying the way ahead on the map. Aiming for the Vale Vinagre I am soon starting my small ascent. First of all out of town and through the underpass …

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DAY 2
From Silves to Lake Funcho

DAY 2
From Silves to Lake Funcho

Waking up, I turn on the light and find myself in a 45-euro room in a guesthouse that will accept my dog: the landlady is charging five euros extra for the privilege. I don’t receive a reply to my question whether this includes breakfast or not. But bringing pets, she says, is allowed in principle. So I’m using the remote control to consult the comrade on the corner up where the wall and the ceiling of the room meet, to call up the weather forecast. No change in sight. It will remain hot and dry. Fabulous weather for tourists, bad …

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