With all guns blazing

Elvas has been an important military outpost since the Reconquista of the Peninsula from the Moors. It was a frontier town to the south, to the Muslim part of the Peninsula, and then later to the east, to Spain. Its many walls, castles and fortresses attest to that historical role.

The 17th century star-shaped city wall with dry-ditch, built during the Restoration War replaced the outdated medieval castle on top of the hill and its wall system. The city’s defence system adapted to counter the newer siege weapon technologies. Thick ramparts rather than high stone walls were favoured to absorb cannon firepower. Dry ditches were left between ramparts to allow killing grounds for assaulting troops. Forts and fortlets were built on nearby hills to disseminate besieging forces. Extensive tunnels were dug inside the ramparts to allow communication between forts.

Later, during the Peninsular War, as improvements were made to the defence system – additional walls and forts – the city also played an important role as an outpost in driving back the French Army.

Patton and Saladin

Nowadays, there is a military museum established in this UNESCO World Heritage site. A messy spread of tanks, armoured vehicles, support vehicles, mobile artillery guns, howitzers and armoured troop transports used by the Portuguese military await cataloguing and proper insertion in the museum’s exhibition in the dry-ditch of Elvas’ fortifications.

You could probably fry an egg in the armour of these menacing beasts.

A sketcher’s greatest ally

Time! Time is a sketcher’s greatest ally. Time was what abounded in the plane trip back home for a few weeks of holidays.

KPH - MUC

Apart from the short bursts of slight turbulence and the lacking of depth in one’s perspective (which usually accounts for the fish-eye sketches), I’d say a plane is one of the few places where you don’t get much distraction from your sketching activity.

MUC

One other place being the very airport where said plane lands. Themes are as varied as can be – cars, modular buildings, coffee cups, assorted machinery and tarmac bric-à-brac, hostesses and passengers and a plane with the old Lufthansa logo and paint job being towed.