Thursday, 25 August 2016

On the way to Santo Aleixo da Restauração village - The "bifanas" of Vendas Novas; the Cromlech dos Almendres, Alentejo - The 26th of August 2016

As I was on my way to the village of Santo Aleixo in Baixo Alentejo thanks to my boss and his family's invitation, where I would be watching some of the local festivities, we stopped a few times, so as to get acquainted with some of the best known references of the places we were driving by starting with the "bifanas" (pork loin medalions previously marinated and later cooked in lard before being served in soft rolls) of Vendas Novas, which are in fact quite different from the ones we can have anywhere else.

Despite the fact that many small restaurants in the area have placards stating they have the "genuine bifanas" we stopped at Café da Boavista is undoubtedly the one that holds the "secret" as to make the "real" ones and the truth is I couldn't help savoring and photographing those tasty Portuguese cuisine specialties.

Somewhere along the way towards the Cromlech of Almendres we stopped briefly  (at Montemor) and I still had the chance to photograph a few interesting things, amongst which the typical wrought iron "belly" grilled window bars.

Set in a semi-ellipsoidal formation the twin stone circle of around 95 almost anthropormophic quartzite stones is considered one of the largest existing group of structured menhirs in the Iberian Peninsula. I wasn't able to photograph the whole ensemble such was the width of the circle. The location of the Cromlech as well as its equinoctical orientation seem to confirm an intentional relationship with the cyclic movement of the Sun and the Moon.

According to a squeme there should be some geometric carved stones, which we had difficulty in identifying and even photographing because of them having been rubbed out by erosion.

I was impressed with the site and more so with coming across several foreign visitors strolling around the site, especially taking into account the fact that the Cromlech is off the main road, in a rather isolated place at the end of a non-paved lane.

As we were leaving a few more people were arriving, which  led us to believe it was almost certainly because of the sun set.

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