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Murtosa, Portugal

The municipality of Murtosa is located at the centre of the Rio de Aveiro, and over 80 percent of its land area is within a Special Protection Zone. Much of this area is covered by the lagoon and one of the best ways to experience this is a boat ride.

The chap steering the moliceiro, (boat) I was in was 82 years old, and has worked on the lagoon all his life. In the 19th century moliceiros were designed and used to harvest seaweed from the lagoon, ‘moliço’ is seaweed. They are painted in bright colours, with low sides and a high front and back, to make the collection of seaweed easy.  The seaweed was used to fertilise the sandy soil in the area, before chemical fertilizers were used. The moliceiro is perfect for  the shallow waters of the lagoon.

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The moliceiro are now used for tourist trips, here and on Aveiro’s canals. On the lagoon it’s possible to see egrets, herons, sandpipers and flamingos. During the trip we also saw humans, harvesting clams. A few boats were anchored, while men and women, up to their chests in water, drag the sand for clams.

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I’ve been away for a few days, so when I was back home in Lisbon, I went for a Sunday stroll, the temperature is still in the late 20s here, and with the intense heat of the summer gone, it’s a pleasant warmth to walk in.  I live near Parque Eduardo VII, so my walk often takes me here, where the water lilies are now in bloom. One of my favourite gardens to walk around is the Gulbenkian Gardens, here I saw turtles all competing for a space on the rocks so they can bask in the sun. On my way out of the gardens I saw Half Bear by BORDALO II, the contrast of  contemporary urban art sitting along side nature, is typical of Lisbon.

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