Thursday, 29 January 2009

Winter rain in Porto

Porto’s cathedral started with a small 12th-century Romanesque building and 14th-century Gothic cloister. Completely rebuilt in the 17th–18th century.

That was last Sunday. I took a bike ride to the old district of Porto: Sé. Looking for shelter from the falling rain, I entered the main city basilica: Sé Cathedral. As I suspected in this laicizied country, the church was completely empty. Most churches in Portugal are almost permanently closed. Only these considered tourist attractions stay open from morning to early evening hours, but frequently close at lunch time.

The external appearance of the Cathedral was greatly altered during Baroque times.

The South part of the basilica gives access to the
Gothic cloister ( see picture above ), which is decorated with baroque azulejos ( typical Portuguese ceramic tile work ) made between 1729 and 1731. They depict the life of Saint Mary. This is definitely the most picturesque part of the cloister.
I put my tripod and start shooting photos. The light was great: dimmed and homogeneous. It was so quiet. The hall was completely empty. "Few tourists at that time of the year" I thought.

Then for a few seconds the sun has showed up. Took another series of photos.
The results were great.

Camera: Nikon D80, Sigma 10-20mm, Manfrotto tripod, shooting with remote control, 6 images RAW, 11 mm, 1/3, 1/6 and 1 sec, f 16, ISO 100.

Home photo post-processing: sharp, white balance, high dynamic range, dark vignetting.

Back at home I opened a bottle of Montes Claros Reserva 2006, a very nice red wine from Alentejo, region the center-south of Portugal, to accompany a table of some hard Spanish goat cheeses, so called "grating cheeses".

Montes Claros is a wine produced by the Adega Cooperativa Borba ( Borba Group of wine producers ) from the heart of Alentejo region, not far from the Spanish border. Its complex structure went very well with 6 month old chesses. Got 16 out of 20 points in Guia de Compras 2008. Made of some typical grapes of the region: Trincadeira, Aragonês, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tinta Caiada. Nice, complex and with tanines. Liked it very much.

Photo above: Montes Claros 2006. Old district of Sé, Porto, still without good sanitation conditions, rays of sun at the Cloister.

Porto Cathedral Wikipedia Link


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