Algarve roundabouts, part II

After Jorge commented on my Loulé roundabout post to remind us of the horrors of Guia’s N125 roundabout, I couldn’t help myself. The next time we passed through it, I pulled over and asked my wife (who had her trusty iPod touch with her) to take a few photos.

For the curious, here is one candidate for Algarve’s Worst Roundabout:

Guia roundabout 1

Well, at least it saves on landscaping costs. One does shudder at the idea of a municipality actually paying for the artwork, though.

Since you can’t fully appreciate the art from a distance, let’s move closer:

Guia roundabout 2

The town’s coat of arms and the wave-patterned calçadas are a nice start. But then there are the wine bottles, grapes and…two chickens. (One of them is hidden from view behind the left wine/grape combo). I have no idea what the chickens signify. And why is everything white? The first thing I think of when I see this is those “paint your own” pottery shops, where they sell unfinished pottery for customers to glaze and then fire.

My theory, therefore, is that the city of Guia contracted this design but ran out of money before it was done. Thus the unfinished, pasty white statuary.

Either that, or they’ve bleached out in the Algarvean sunshine.


About Fletcher DeLancey

Socialist heathen and Mac-using author of the Chronicles of Alsea, who enjoys pondering science, politics, well-honed satire (though sarcastic humor can work, too) and all things geeky.
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11 Responses to Algarve roundabouts, part II

  1. Jorge says:




    Note to self: next time the topic brings an eyesore to mind, just keep it to yourself.


    The chickens are easy to explain. Guia is famous for its “frango” (just ask around for “frango da Guia”), served in a bunch of restaurants on the old Guia-Albufeira road. Et voilà: it all makes sense.

    The rundabaut doesn’t get any better, though.

    • oregon expat says:

      Sorry, Jorge! But we can’t appreciate the sublime without an occasional exposure to the, er, less than, right?

      Thanks for the explanation re: frango. Seems to me that there are a lot of places claiming fame for this, including a restaurant in Loulé and a bunch near Faia. Guess I’ll have to give it a try in the Guia area to see if it’s any different. It IS my favorite Portuguese “fast food,” after all.

      • Jorge says:

        It’s been ages since the last time I went there, but from what I hear from the family I have in Albufeira, it isn’t what it used to be anymore.

        Still, the fame remains.

        • oregon expat says:

          Isn’t that always the case? The upstarts who do great stuff can’t get recognized, while the old places (often with new owners) who aren’t keeping the same quality retain the fame.

      • Marta says:

        I have to laugh at this post. I’ve passed through this roundabout several times and I always wondered if they had to be so graphic about their own symbols. Of course the chickens stand for their famous “Frango à Guia”. There is even a national franchise of their chicken and all restaurants in the area serve this specialty.

        But my favorite is a small family-owned restaurant, very close to that roundabout, called “Grade” – Counting down the days to our vacation days in Algarve in August!!!!

  2. Jorge says:

    Er… wait a minute. Is that a signature I see below the coat-of-arms? Does it go “autoria Fernando Batota”, like I seem to read (squinting really hard)?

    The a guy is (gasp) PROUD of this?!

    • oregon expat says:

      I went back to the photo and zoomed in — you’re nearly right. It says “autoria Fernando Batista.” Maybe he’s only proud of the coat-of-arms…?

      • Jorge says:

        Hardly. Portugal has a central heraldry authority that decides on such matters, often after lengthy conflicts with local councils. These are supposed to be the ones who decide on their own symbols, but there are laws setting parameters the symbols have to obey and the heraldical authority may block their approval on the grounds that they don’t comply with the law. In the end, most symbols end up being designed by the heraldists themselves, after input from the local council (or sometimes ignoring it).

  3. No roundabout compares to the lovely one at Praça 25 de Abril in Lisbon (by the Tagus River, nearby Parque das Nações). It displays the most horrific statue of the city… in honor of the constructors of Lisbon. (Poor people!) Every time I pass by it, I cringe.

    I still think that José de Guimarães (the author) was hallucinating. And so are the people who interpret it as a female figure. (Maybe an ogre female?)

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