Monday, February 24, 2020
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Leaving the city and returning to the land, for love

Changing the mentality of their parents, who were reluctant to accept the prospect of five years with no profit in order to convert to wholly organic production, was just one of the mountains that the Mariano couple had to climb. They had already conquered other steep slopes. The first was when they decided to swap the comfort of the capital Lisbon to return to their roots in Macedo de Cavaleiros, after an extremely violent robbery perpetrated on the parents of 47-year-old Raquel Mariano, a theologian who has become a farmer since she returned to her starting point in 2012. Giving …

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Zero emissions

Electric vehicles offer a superior driving experience. With fast, smooth acceleration, an ultra-quiet environment and lower emissions of polluting gases, their use is becoming inevitable. The programme Mobi.E, started in 2010, promoted the use of electric cars, and, according to ACAP at the start of 2016, an increase of 2,149 vehicles was seen, and the trend is upwards. The MOBI.E network has 1,300 normal charging points and 50 rapid charging points in locations with public access in mainland Portugal.     I drive… a VEECO RT João Oliveira, aged 63, works in IT and on the building of electric vehicles in …

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Portugal is growing in the bicycle production market

There are moments that remain engraved for ever in our memories, and one such moment is without doubt getting your first bicycle. It was bluish in colour, decorated with the football stickers of the time; it was second-hand, and bore the signs of accidents from my cousins’ adventures. How could you forget your first bicycle, that high-speed companion on daring adventures? The bicycle is nowadays the most commonly used means of transport in the world. Portugal is the third biggest producer of bicycles in Europe. This means of transport emits no polluting or greenhouse gases, the bicycle is a vehicle …

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Grandchildren wanted

The village communities in the Alentejo, all the human biotopes comprising welfare, sharing and mutual responsibility, hospitality, collective memory and togetherness, are not yet a thing of the past. Consumers want to know who produces their food. Young people long for their grandparents’ understanding. In different suburban areas and villages, local people want to be in charge of their own administration. Couples and young families need to have people to talk to, genuine support, community. Perhaps it is the old people who can play a role here. An insight into the Alentejo villages and their quest for resurrection. Re-inventing the …

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Freixo do Meio: Montado is more

Bare summer plains, as far as the eye can see. No water, no shade. Only a very occasional tree. Otherwise: emptiness. Tourist agencies attempt to make the Alentejo appealing to visitors with this very clear scenic icon. But it is hard to live and work in such a sparse landscape. Dilapidated farms in the whole district testify to a massive demise in farming. Perhaps nature in the Alentejo dreams a different dream. A dream of dispersed, multi-layer afforestation, of streams, ponds and a diversity of plants and animals, of abundance and fertility. The Greek philosopher Strabo said: “A squirrel could …

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Salt, a treasure rediscovered

Since ancient times, salt has played a key role in the lives of human beings. Used primarily as a means of preserving foodstuffs, it acquired vital importance during the Roman Empire, and is the derivation of the word “salary”. This was because it was common practice in Rome for employees of the Empire, such as legionaries, to receive their wages (or salaries) in salt, as payment for their services. The areas where salt was extracted became so important strategically that some of them were walled and settlements were created to defend this asset. The oldest known record of Portuguese salt …

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The small successes are what matters

What is presumed to have been the last Portuguese lynx was seen at the beginning of the 1990s in the Monchique uplands. It was probably shot by hunters. But the species had already been driven to the verge of extinction. The population of wild rabbits, on which the lynx fed almost exclusively, shrank owing to a viral epidemic and to hunting. The lynx gradually starved. The greatest enemy of the Iberian lynx, however, continues to be human beings and their favourite toy, the car. Against this backdrop, we have become more modest and celebrate the anniversary with humility. Exactly ten …

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o caçador dos chamínés

The Chimney Hunter

A nicely decorated chimney has become a kind of Algarve trademark. It is a form of expression through which the people of the Algarve capture the working techniques of our forebears. The different appearances given to the chimneys, the different shapes, colours and styles, ensure that Algarve people are seen to be both tasteful and refined. The more distinctive and ostentatious the chimneys, the better. Chimneys in the shape of balloons and cones, with a grille or decorated with a series of tiles, and in a wide range of colours, attract the attention of onlookers. This sight on the rooftops …

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For sale

Loulé. There are six of us inflicting this on ourselves and squeezing into the lift cage. A bell rings and slowly, at one metre per second, we float down into the depths of the earth. We’re all wearing blue plastic helmets. They’re equipped with torches that are fastened to a cable with the belt around your waist. During the journey underground, I think about what could have motivated people more than 50 years ago, to drill a 260-metre-deep hole in the earth? Because what we are doing is nothing other than following a widened, enlarged borehole into the deep. There’s …

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The Minister

It’s not every day that you meet the Minister, if you don’t live in the capital yourself, and even if you do, the Minister himself doesn’t spend every day in the capital. He often travels around the country, sometimes even abroad. Around midday he was expected at a lunch with the businesspeople of the Portuguese and Foreign Chambers of Industry and Commerce. You paid fifty euros for admission, plus VAT, and then were happy to wait for the Minister. Sometimes you wait your whole life for something, often you don’t know why, almost always without an obvious reason. Waiting is …

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