Cheers. There is actually a seven hundred year old castle in the village where I live now but they've kinda changed it into a bar.
It's not really obvious from this angle...


But this is what's behind those walls.


Feels like an enormous act of cultural vandalism to me.


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Castles have to pay for their own upkeep these days. Looks like a nice place for a drink and some complimentary peanuts.


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Those skies are alarming though. Remind of of how oppressive Australian skies felt. As if you were under the objective and unrelenting light of some cosmic interrogation lamp. That's why there aren't any good Australian poets.


Those skies are alarming though. Remind of of how oppressive Australian skies felt. As if you were under the objective and unrelenting light of some cosmic interrogation lamp. That's why there aren't any good Australian poets.
In fairness that picture makes it look more sunblasted than it is, there is a little bar in the corner that you can go inside if you prefer and some shade nearer to it. I've only been there in the evening though I think.


Went castle crazy yesterday visiting our friend in Setubal. First up a fort that was converted into a gun replacement during ww2 and then abandoned for kids to get drunk, stoned and laid In, plus cover in graffiti. Views are ridiculous.
Setubal is or was famous for dolphins, statues of em all over, especially in the dolphin park. Then they built this artificial beach in the middle of the bay for rich people and that scared them off although now they are tentative hopes that they are returning.
Then we went to this amazing grotto with a shrine/chapel and then to Sao Philippe fort in Setubal. But I can't upload the pics from phone so you'll have to take my word for it.


Yeah I wouldn't be cut out for it. In fact, just living without heating, plumbing, internet... I'd probably curl up and die. Never mind if I had to fight.


There is a friend of ours in Lisbon whose family still live in Setubal which is about a forty minute drive over the bridge, we heard that there is a castle there which excited our new-found obsession, so when next he visited his mum we persuaded him to take us on a sight-seeing tour of the region. We were in for a treat cos it turned out there is not just one castle... oh no.
First up was this one that is quite interesting cos it has had several lives, first as a really old (I don't know when alright) hill fort to guard Lisbon I guess - I suppose you could sail up the channel from the Atlantic unopposed and land here and then march back west to Lisbon which explains why this coast which really only looks out on more Portugal is so heavily fortified.
Anyway, after being an old castle, it was then converted in the early 40s into a WW2 defence complete with British made guns which still sit there for you to climb in and on. You can see how it's been changed and there are three huge bunkers which you can walk down stairs to and explore underground if you have a torch. Kinda spooky obviously with several rooms and heavy, musty air. Augustus also said that one of them had or used to have a blackboard with military tactics written on it and posters etc but we didn't find that.
Thirdly it was abandoned and became a cool place for kids from Setubal to chill out, take drugs, have sex and draw graffiti. So we drove up the stunning coast from Setubal (the views were absolutely unbelievable but I was driving and the other two were too busy closing their eyes and begging me to be more careful so sadly no photos of that which is a shame cos they are some of the most beautiful I've ever seen - as far as I could tell out of the corner my eye, I was concentrating cos the road winds like something of Herbie Goes Bananas with the locals bombing along them and with little - and at times nothing - along the sides to stop you plummeting over an down to an undeniably spectacular but no doubt painful death).
Anyway, here the fort as you approach


From the far side of the fort looking back towards Setubal


Just kinda wandering around in the walls but not actually inside - we did go inside a bit and it's kinda creepy but the pics didn't come out too well.



Looking inland



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And some more pictures of that, this is a view from basically the turrets that you could see in the other pics. The reason I wanted to put this one is cos apparently Setubal is very famous for all the dolphins it has swimming around in this sort of channel here, certainly along the front they have loads of little (I mean life-size or thereabouts I guess) sculptures of dolphins on poles and painted all different colours and in the centre of the line a huge one several times bigger. Also there is a park in the centre called the dolphin park and in the middle of that some more dolphin statues, and then a few more throughout the town. Anyway, in the centre of this picture you can see a crescent shaped bit of land which looks like a beautiful unspoiled beach in the middle of the sea. Which is exactly what it is... almost, cos in fact an artificial beach which they made purely for rich people. They lay on boats from certain hotels and posh places to drop you off there to, well there is no other word for it, to luxuriate away from the proles. In fairness apparently they are not actually private cos if you take your own boat there or are capable of swimming there somehow they don't kick you off, they're only private by dint of being inaccessible, but if you did somehow get there I think you'd probably be acutely aware that it wasn't built for you and the only reason they're not kicking you off is cos they don't think it's worth paying for security to stay there and do that.
And, when they built this beach for all the rich couple to frolic and probably swim with the dolphins no doubt it had the unfortunate effect of scaring all the dolphins and so they all fucked off and goodbye to Setubal's iconic dolphins. I should say though that there is some glimmer of hope and apparently they have started to return but even so it seems a completely insane and stupid thing to do when there are miles of perfectly good beach right there anyway.


More graf


A big lump of rubbish


The outside of the fort


Past the fort proper you get the guns and the bunkers


Abandoned truck - dunno how the fuck that got there


Going down into one of the bunkers - was cool in here, very Blair Witch ending, but pictures were shit



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And the last bits for that fort - this is the route down into one of the bunkers as mentioned above


Augustus riding the gun as though it's the bomb from the end of Dr Strangelove


Um, another random one of the fort I guess



And after we left that fort we drove on to his amazingly cool grotto - on the way we saw these turrets forming part of the whole defence complex I suppose. Also there was something called convento which I think means monastery (conventa means convent) and we stopped to try to get in but there was a gate which prevented us getting near


These gates



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Gimme a sec man and I'll put up the grotto which was truly quite something. I just don't think we get things like this in UK do we?


So driving further from Setubal past that convent and stuff there is grotto thing that I keep mentioning. It's weird cos a lot of these roads are blocked off in summer. I think there is quite a private land or something, I dunno, it would be fairly tricky to get here but Augustus knew the way (cos all the kids apparently used to go here and swim around with the foolishness of youth, well the water looked lovely and clear with almost natural pools quite deep but the rocks are fucking sharp and the waves can be quite big, I reckon you would definitely come out after a lovely magical swim bleeding all over minimum), maybe they want you to pay for a bus.
Anyway, if you know the way you can drive to this carpark - outside the carpark is this building.
Apparently there is an orphanage in Setubal (I think - or maybe it's further away), and the kids were given a lovely treat by being taken in summer to stay in this amazing holiday home just by the coast here. What a nice thought eh? But....


.... yep you guessed it. In the 90s there was a huge scandal when it was revealed to be at the centre of a QAnon style paedo ring with celebrities from tv, journalism, sports etc coming along to the holidays with the full compliance of the monks and nuns supposedly looking after the kids. I guess this is why the QAnon thing is so powerful - these things fucking do happen and people do get away with it (for a long time at least, apparently this all came when a few of the kids who grew up were determined to tell their story, but obviously that was many years later).
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From the carpark there is a little way out the back and it leads down to this sort of magical stone steps down to the water


In some bits you can see through the undergrowth to something like this


More steps....



Until finally you see the entrance to the grotto itself - reminiscent of a thread we had on here once called something like "Gateways to Hell".



Through that entrance you pass down some steps into a large cave which if you look out has a kind of mouth opening into the water. Judging by the sliminess the water comes into the cave a bit, but at this level of tide it was just in the entrance and you could walk out onto the rocks and into the sea. Like I say, it did look like natural swimming pools but it was so slippy and sharp I think that you would be cut to fuck climbing in and out, and if a big wave came in while you were swimming then you would risk being quite badly hurt.
Anyway, oh yeah, there's this weird altar thing which contrasts... no not really, fits perfectly with all the hippy graffiti and stuff cos, although the stone thing itself is kinda it's covered in hundreds of weird renditions of Christ of the kind that you would expect to find for 50p in a cheapo tourist shop. Well, that's slightly unfair, there's all kinds of Jesuses... Jesusi whatever.
Have you ever wondered why, if Jesus was born in Palestine he had a Spanish name? Certainly he seems quite popular in these parts.


OK, so pics of the chapel and the cave itself

This is like what I was saying, you can walk out to here and look at the sea


And even further out


I guess this one is further back inside looking towards that exit into the sea - the stairs we came down were to the left of this if I remember correctly


Looking back from there you can see the altar in the distance


And some more pics of the altar (obviously)







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