The Carnivorous Plant FAQ Field Trip Report -

Southern Portugal in 2011

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After a few days in Paris, the three of us (Beth, her mother Susan, and I) flew to Madrid where we picked up a car and drove to Portugal. Ah, but of course we had to spend a day or so in Madrid. Why? So we could see yet even more art museums, churches, and Christs.

I speak passable Spanish, but my Spanish is Mexican-Spanish, which is what we are taught in the USA. Spain-Spanish is waaaaay different, even though it is almost exactly the same. This might sound odd, but it is the truth. And if you do not believe me, when your waitress (no longer a mesera, but rather a camarera) asks you if you want a tortilla for your breakfast, see what happens when you specify--helpfully--that you would like it to be made out of flour (or corn, whichever is your preference). You will probably be met by the same wild-eyed confusion that I was. And then your "tortilla" will arrive and it will be your turn to be confused.

Once we arrived in Portugal, we found (with considerable effort) our rather rundown but otherwise excellent hotel. Before we did anything else, we had to spend a thrilling day looking at churches, art galleries, and a bunch of Christs.

But then, finally, my own salvation arrived when--after six straight days of churches, Christs, and art (broken by one day of driving), a plant day arrived! We met who was to be our primary Portuguese carnivorous plant contact--the remarkable Paulo Jorge, president of the Portuguese Carnivorous Plant Society. The photograph above shows me and Paulo at the first site for the day.

I was struck by how similar the vegetation was to where I live in California. This was to be expected, of course, because of the shared Mediterranean climate, but it was still funny to see the same species I thought I had left back in California. The only difference was that here, most of these species were native!

As for the photograph above, well, yes it looks just plain wrong in about six different ways. But I am not going to list them---children read these trip reports too, you know.

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Revised: June 2011
©Barry Rice, 2005