art A Red Bull near Marvao, Alentejo

Music: Milho Verde
A Sketch of Marvao

A Red Bull near Marvao

We decided to spend the night in Marvao, almost 1000 meters above sea level. The Hotel Pousada Santa Maria is situated in the unspoiled medieval hamlet of Marvao. Steep cobbled streets wind up to the 13th century picture book castle; this beautiful little walled town has remained virtually unchanged and the views across the Alentejo plains to Spain are stunning. While driving through the countryside we came upon the rather skinny red bull that seemed to stare at us very intently. The field was large and the bull could have been anywhere but it was right at the gate which made the scene very memorable. He was probably waiting for some sort of feed from his owner. We were only a few feet away from this magnificent animal and we were happy to stare back at it for a considerable amount of time. It never broke eye contact. At some point we decided it would be best if the bull got back to its daily routine and we got back on the road looking for our next memorable scene. Not far up the road was a women working in a field of about an acre in size. She was dressed in a long skirt, long sleeved blouse and a long red scarf that hung to her mid-back. Her face was well within the shade of the scarf such that you could barely make out her features, hence it was impossible to tell her age. She raised one arm in a friendly wave but immediately began again beating the dirt clods with her stick. I could see no attachment - just a stick a bit longer than the woman's height and as big around as an apple. Was she breaking clods to plant or was she planting? We couldn't determine what she was doing. We felt it was late in the year to be planting since it was October. The house was nearby and there were a dozen or so tall plants that are used to make Calde Verde Soup. A number of tall dark huts made from plant stocks, black from age, were intermingled with the plants. They had little entrances and looked very much like thin American Indian tee pees.

Caldo Verde Soup Recipe (means green soup)

You Need:
6 cups of water
3 cups of kale chopped or shredded
3 or 4 med. size potatoes, peeled and halved
1 tbsp. of salt
2 tbsp. of olive oil
In a pan deep enough add water, olive oil, salt and potatoes. Cook until the potatoes are tender. When the potatoes are cooked mash them against the side of the pan. Add water as needed and bring to a boil. Add the kale and boil uncovered for 15 minutes. Serve in bowls with thin slices of sausage if desired.

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All images contained herein are for viewing only and under the exclusive copyright of the artist. Phil Terry 1997-2012