The workshop of Joana Leal is a microcosm of lace, embroidery and poetry, in one of the shopping streets in Elvas, a border town, just 15 km from Badajoz. Joana Leal has been working with fabrics and needle to keep alive the traditions of embroidery. Its creation is pure art, an art that crosses borders and which has won several international awards. During the visit to the workshop I learned a lot, but highlight two concepts: object poetry, ie Embroidered literature in everyday objects (aprons, tea towels ...) and 'trapología', the technique of recreating products. Inside an old building belonging to the clergy, the store is authentic and parts of the workshop are an old chapel. All rooms are filled with creations of Joana, placed close together. Visiting this site can be combined with a chat with Joana who is always willing to talk about her passion, embroidery, literature or border relations between Spain and Portugal. The danger of plunging into these microworlds is the time it takes to get out of them.
What a surprise I got when I saw this site. We headed here because Felix, the owner of the cottage Cantar do Grillo, spoke wonders of this place and offered to guide us. The place is awesome. Santo Domingos mines were opened by the Romans and later taken over by the English with the intention of finding gold and silver. They found copper but that was fine by them too. Eventually, they left, leaving behind a ghost town and an empty landscape. Because of the reddish tint of the water, the area is very similar to the Rio Tinto mines in Spain.
It is outside the village and closer than the other fort in Elvas, you can drive up to the entrance. Also it's better preserved than the Graça Fort, and we expected to see inside but it was closed. So I did took a walk around the spectacular walls.
Also known as Dr. Santa Clara arch (who built it in the nineteenth century), making the most of the remains of the Arab wall for the construction of this arch (on the side you can see the original Muslim door) Opposite the arch, in a square, is the Pelourinho, a Manueline style pillory.
I can not say which of the Elvas doors is most spectacular (all have their charm). In my case it came from Évora, so the first thing I saw in the city was its aqueduct, next to where we left the car. From there, you're just a few minutes from this door, by a steep street. This gate is also known as the Conception, because of the chapel it's situated at.
In the distance it looks like this is the steeple of the church, but when you get closer you realize that the church and tower are two different buildings. The only thing that unites them is the same blue and white colors. Castle tower and the empredadas alleys make this town a must if you visit the mountains of San Mames in the Alentejo.