Rock Festival Vilar de Mouros, 22 – 24 August 2019

Some 7 months to go before we can immerse ourselves in the music of the best outdoor festival in Europe. On 22 and 24 August the 54th edition of the Festival de Vilar Mouros takes place in the Minho (Portugal). The artists and bands that we already know are coming are: Prophets of Rage, Skunk Anasie, Linda Martini and Fischer-Z.

Just know that we are in Riba de Ancora not more than 20 minutes away from the Festival site.  A weekend at the House at the Gate plus attending the Vilar de Mouros event will be, I am sure, the highlight of 2019. 



Marco and I have been looking for a statute to be placed in the garden or somewhere on the premises, but somehow we never went looking for it.

Last Thursday we both suggested that we would visit some of those garden centres to see if they would have any statutes that we would fancy. We nearly arrived at Valença when we saw this shop at our right, which we had already identified before. The shop is run by two ladies. It was pouring with rain and we first went to see part of the business which has pots and pans and outside kitchens, ceramics. These ladies have a very good collection of kitchen gear. Great quality for very reasonable prices. We got ourselves a sauce pan and vintage style plates and bowls in yellow and orange.

Finally we had a look at the statutes and at first glance there was nothing. I was hoping for some ugly sculpture with half of the head missing so that it would become kind of interesting, but they all looked new plain hideous just from the factory. Suddenly, I saw her. I looked at Marco and he had also seen her. She is just right. As some of her fingers are missing we got to pay a special reduced price for her. When we put her in the backseat of the car (she is extremely heavy) I was thrilled to bits. On my way back I looked at her a few times and knew that I had already grown very fond of her.

She is our Ancora Artist Residence Annie and always will be. Marco could not resist brushing her up a little. He loves women with red nails and lips.



Riba de Ancora or the Ancora River, the Anchor

Since the beginning of 1900 the community of Riba de Âncora in Caminha is regularly organizing Portuguese mega cozidos for a thousands of people, with the aim of raising funds for restoration works in the parish church. The collected monies are also used to recover some frescoes (XV-XVI that are fragmented by several walls of the temple.

Cozido à portuguesa is a traditional Portuguese stew. There exist numerous regional variations. The dish is considered part of the Portuguese heritage, as well as one of the national dishes of Portugal.

Preparation and ingredients: cozido à portuguesa is prepared with a multitude of vegetables (beans, potatoes, carrots, turnips, cabbages, rice), meat (chicken, pork ribs, bacon, pork ear and trotters, various parts of beef), and smoked sausages (chouriço, farinheira, morcela, and blood sausage).

In Riba de Ancora currently live some 750 inhabitants. Since 1800 the total number of people of this small village are fluctuating from 580 thru 870. Many youngsters who cannot find work in Northern Portugal leave the country to start new adventures in Canada, the US or in Switzerland. Subsequently, cafés and shops close their businesses. This famous Café Cé used to serve delicious fried chicken and other plates. Many of our guests used to have dinner and after dinner drinks in this place which is only at a 5 minutes walk from the Ancora Artist Residence.

Arte na Leira, 20a edição

Today at 18:30 hrs is the opening of the 20th edition of the exhibition Arte na Leira in Arga de Baixo, a very small community of not even 100 inhabitants, in the Serra de Arga. The exposition will end on 19 August 2018.

The highlight of this year is a ceramic board (1.8 x 2.7 m) made by the initiator and organizer of this exhibition, Mario Rocha.

The exposition showcases a variety of art works, like photography, paintings and ceramics.

Tonight there will be music, regional delicacies, many visitors and the fire works are not to be missed.

See you at Arte na Leira.








Cairns are being made and used as landmarks since ancient times. In prehistoric times they also had the meaning as monuments for the dead or to mark defense lines, to indicate areas for hunting or for ceremonial purposes.

Later on early pilgrims brought a stone from home and carried it with them on their journey to only discard of it on the Cruz de Ferro as a symbol of laying off their sins.

Nowadays everyone walking the Camino, or elsewhere, makes a pile of pebbles. Some of us even think that walking to Santiago de Compostela (or walking a part of it) is not valid without deposing of (a) pebble(s) any place, any where. There are parties criticizing this heaping up of stones saying that it is impacting the environment as sometimes the pebbles are left on plots of land or other places where they can be a nuisance to the local habitants.



One Way Ticket

“Choo, choo train chuggin’ down the track
Gotta travel on, never comin’ back
Oh, oh got a one way ticket to the blues”
Portuguese people have this special nostalgic feeling. We call it spleen, they call it saudade. The fado sings about this nostalgia. I get the feeling that Portuguese people are rather introvert, but when they sing (after a few glasses of wine) they start opening up.
But this short text is about the trains in Portugal. Unfortunately, a lot of railway stations throughout the country were closed and railway connections have been shut down. Vila Praia de Ancora has a small railway station and is directly connected with Valença (up North) and Viana do Castelo, Porto and Lisbon. The train rides along the coast. The train is reliable, cheap and comfortable.