Saturday, 18 April 2015

Le petit tour Alternatiba,

"In order to attain the impossible one must attempt the absurd."
"A fin de alcanzar lo impossible, hay que intentar lo absurdo."
"A fim de alcanzar o impossivel, deve-se tentar o absurdo."
"Afin de realiser l'impossible, il faut tenter l'absurde."
Miguel de Cervantes

Sometimes it feels like trying to achieve the impossible when it comes to addressing pollution, climate change, car culture, nature conservation, economics etc. etc. and believing that the world could be a better place. Being a couple of idiots from the south west, attempting the absurd is becoming a way of life for us. Hence this petit tour Alternatiba Transiberica came into being. We’ll be joining the big tour Alternatiba in Perpignan.

Les Idiotes du south-west

The aim is to find each other. Naomi Klein recently coined this term ‘Let’s find each other’ in her new book.

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Let’s find each other !


We spent our winter in the south of Portugal. A good part of it in Tavira, spending time with people involved in Tavira em Transicao. It is here where the idea for the petit tour Alternatiba began. When it came to carnival time, being bicycle and carnival enthusiasts, we set of west across the Algarve to find the other transition groups in full carnival bicycle mode. We found a mixed bag, some of the groups were now inactive, some of them were re-launching, there were some brand new initiatives and at times it felt like people had busy lives and couldn’t put all the energy they might have wanted to into the transition group. Transition means transition and we guess transition is what transition is, it is moving from one way of life into another way of life.


We did manage to spend some time with the following groups. We believe that the Algarve transition movement could be strengthened if they made connections with each other, got to know each other more and encourage more people to get involved that way. We’re hoping they will create a little Alternatiba event together some time soon, a little festival of transition, time for fun and new friendships.

Transition Portugal

What we enjoyed the most is that these groups are active in small towns and urban environments, creating an inclusive movement instead of isolated exclusive communities in the hills of which there are so many down here.



We did a little bicycle repair workshop outside Beterraba Loja Biologica in Tavira and found a french theatre company who came to Beterraba the same day and did une Criee. They collected peoples thoughts, dreams, whishes, anything people wanted to share with the world and then announced it publicly. No doubt we shall be finding them again when we get to Drome with the tour Alternatiba.  


Here’s a link to Petra’s shop Beterraba Petra is an active link in the Tavira transition. The shop is a meeting point and we hope the plans to open a bigger shop with a cafe will work out!

We also found fantastic gardeners Andree and Angela and their organic Quinta Shanti They are shining stars in the Algarve sky!

And we found Anrdee who runs the Cine Clube de Tavira, a cinema club that shows art house cinema, portuguese films and a vibrant outdoor film festival in the summer. Keep the cultural diversity alive! It is actually through the cinema that we found everybody in Tavira….

Including Manuel, our first point of contact in Tavira. He’s extremely helpful and giving. Here is a little link to his organic orange business Be citrus be happy!


Cacela Velha

On our way, leaving Tavira, heading for the Guadiana we came across a lovely little event, the Mercadinho de Primavera, organised by ADRIP, who are an association protecting and cleaning the coastline, maintaining the character of the village and keeping things local. The market was a hubbub of local producers and artisans, beautiful music, local dancers and musicians, a wonderful community event. More of these please!



And there we found Arts Nomades

Hurrah! There’s more of us! Come join the caravane!


Going north

Going north along the Guadiana to Extremadura. It being Easter and everybody being busy with holidays and families it wasn’t easy to make contacts and meet people. But we found a village full of a wonderful atmosphere, Minas de Sao Domingo, children running and playing in the streets, adults catching up with the family gossip in the cafes, fun and play everywhere. And people being creative…



Bicycle wheels for a fence and a bicycle wheel windmill made from scrap car parts… yes!

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In Serpa we found a plea from a trea, a meaningful plea. You could apply the same plea to the planet, the people, the water…..

Ao Viandante

Tu que passas e ergues para mim o teu braco, antes que me facas mal olha-me bem. Eu sou o calor do teu lar nas noites frias de invierno. Eu sou o sombra amiga que tu encontras quando caminhas sob o sol de agosto, e os meus frutos sao a frescura apetitosa que te sacia a sede nos caminhos. Eu sou a trave amiga de tua casa, a tabua da tua mesa, a cama em que descansas e o lenho do teu barco, eu sou o cabo da tua enxada. A porta da tua morada, a madeira do teu berco e do teu proprio caixao e sou o pao da bondade e a flor da beleza. Tu que passas, olha-me bem e……..nao me facas mal. 

And we found an ambling band, keeping traditional music alive and having fun! Pipes and drums, berets, caps and woollen trousers!




We found two people who have cycled with the Ecotopia bioketour

They are planning this summers tour at the moment. This year the tour will be in Scandinavia visiting alternative places. We don’t think we’ll find them this year but maybe one day our paths will cross.


And last but not least Clement found us. A little too late, as we had already left Portugal.

Never the less he’s in Lisbon at the moment, working on an interesting research project with the Confederation Paysanne and Confederação Nacional da Agricultura, on the working conditions of migrant seasonal workers in industrial agriculture, strengthening support networks to defend their rights, promoting peasant and local agriculture as an alternative to this export agriculture. Here the blog of the project for more info

He’s also part of a group in Lisbon that aims to broaden the mobilization on the issue of climate change, especially in view of the COP21


We’re finding each other!