Thursday, October 26, 2006

Torres Vedras? Wear the fox hat.

I thought I'd stick in a little bit of info about the town I'm contracted to live and work in for the next few months...

Torres Vedras (pronounced Torresh Vedrush) is about 45km north of Lisbon and about 12km from the sea. Check it out on google maps. I'm one of around 20,000 people who live in the town itself, although it feels a little larger to me.

Why does it feel larger? It's an important regional town, administering the surrounding district, so it's quite busy and there's a decent selection of shops and services (you know the sort of thing - market, McDonalds, castle, haven't found the sex shop but I'll keep looking). This is the town's website.

Any history? The settlement at Torres Vedras (T.V.) dates from Roman times, but the town is most famous for the Lines of Torres Vedras, a series of fortifications built by the Duke of Wellington to protect Lisbon against Napoleon's marauding armies in 1809-12. I believe the castle was originally built by the Moors, but it's been added to and altered over the years.

Any culture? Quite a bit, it seems. T.V. has, according to its own website, the most Portuguese carnival in Portugal (this takes place in February each year). I expect I'll be forced to join in and wear a false head, like a shorter version of Jaws in "Moonraker". The town also hosts an annual festa, which in fact starts tomorrow. This includes includes various cultural events, but the main draw is the World Accordion Festival, featuring musicians from across the globe. The whole shabang finishes on 11th November with the city golf tournament.

Anything else? One of the best things about T.V. is its proximity to Lisbon, and one of the most interesting things about the journey to the capital (no, really) is the opportunity to see the different methods of harnessing wind energy over the centuries. There are many modern wind turbines spinning at various speeds, but you can also see several traditional windmills that may have ground the flour to make the bread before the days of electricity.


Anonymous said...

Very nice idea, this! Should set one up for my friends in G., too.
Glad you are settling in allright!

Anonymous said...

Hey DoumoDoumo - glad the town seems interesting. Keep up the blog. J

McCardans said...

cheers mate! i must tell you i was born and raised in torres vedras, and i still live here. that is about the same as saying that i've been living here for 25 years now... i'm glad to see that you liked our little town ;)