Solbit Visits an Iron Age Fortified City

*New reader? Get oriented below.

Dear Nicalai,

We walked on that ancient rock paved pathway of this Iron Age city called Citânia de Briteiros! The site is beautiful.

Daytrip to Guimarares

Papa said that we can call an Iron Age fortified town an oppidum.  I can add that to the list of words that I know.  Now, you can too!

Daytrip to Guimarares

That’s me sitting on the sign showing where to see the rampart A rampart is a big wall to keep people inside the wall safe. (I’m learning so many new words on this trip!)

But, oh, girl, was I ever wrong.  At first, I stubbornly refused to go to this place.  Papa said, “Solbit, you just jumped to a wrong conclusion.”  See, when I heard them say that we would go to an “Iron Age city,”  of course, I knew right away what “iron” meant.  That’s when I jumped to my conclusion.

Even though I’m a young plastic Jurassic, I’ve seen plenty of irons.  You smooth the wrinkles out of clothing with irons, right? Everybody knows that.

So, I put my foot down, “I’ve seen all the irons I need to see.  I’m not going to some boring city with a bunch of irons.  Let’s do something fun, instead, please.”  Nona just put me in her pocket and said, “Solbit, you don’t have to look if you don’t want to, but you’re going with us.”

Well, when we got there, I did look.

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Beautiful isn’t it, and not an iron in sight!  Turns out “Iron Age” isn’t about smoothers-for-clothing.  It’s about a time when human beings made a lot of things out of a metal called “iron.”  I have to look up “Iron Age” to learn more about it. Our friend from Kentucky said that the Iron Age came after the Bronze Age.  I guess Bronze is another kind of metal?

This settlement of Citânia de Briteiros dates back to 600 BCE.  That’s long enough to let some weeds grow, right? Also, all the people have gone away to more modern places.  No one is here except us and the archeologists.  Archeologists — another new word — are scientists who study old places.

The people of Citânia de Briteiros made a nice wall with the iron tools they made for themselves.  Nona didn’t even notice me hiding in that crack in the wall.  Can you find me?

Daytrip to Guimarares

The description of this place said that town got to be pretty big for those times, at least 625 people but maybe as many as 1,500.  The people made stone houses — both circular and rectangular — that had wooden tops and thatched roofs.

Daytrip to Guimarares

I’d like to have a circular stone house.  Wouldn’t you?  One with walls like this around it would be nice.  I’d grow a garden outside.

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Some archeologists rebuilt one of the houses.  They thought it looked like this.

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I imagined myself living in that place and being able to walk through the village.  I even imagined being an member of the town council, so I walked down to their big council building.

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Town Council building. That’s our new friend checking it out.

It was pretty large and had a stone bench all the way around the inside for the town council members to sit.  So, I pretended to be one of them, and asked Nona to, please, take my picture.

Daytrip to Guimarares

I’m so small that I kind of disappeared on that bench.  If a meeting had been happening then, someone would have sat on me for sure. They would have gotten a surprise!  A pinch on their butt and then, when they looked, “Oh, my! It’s an iguanodon!”  Do you think iguanodons were still roaming around in the Iron Age, or had we become extinct by then?  I don’t know.

I do know that you have never sat in an oppidum, because none are in the U.S.  Maybe you will come to Portugal or somewhere else in Europe one day and sit in one though.  Don’t be afraid; it doesn’t hurt.

Okay, gotta go.  Time for me to find out about the Iron Age and the Bronze Age.  Isn’t it fun to learn all these new things! Yippee!

I’m your friend.

Love,

Solbit

P.S.  Nona and Papa have some more — and better — photos in their travel blog, and you might what to see those. I gotta warn you, they write for big people, so you might want to just skip over their sentences. S.

September 2014

  • You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
  • You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”

Solbit Hops on the Train in Portugal

*New reader? Get oriented below.

Dear Nicalai,

What a day!  Seeing the Portuguese countryside on the train.

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Making a new friend. Taking a taxi ride.  (We almost never take a taxi.)

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It was a full day.  By the way, on an early morning walk to the train station, I saved someone’s life.  I screamed, “STOP!” just before Papa stepped on “Two Tone Tony,” our friendly neighborhood stink bug.  Tony paused and said to me in a squeaky, little voice, “Thanks, kid! You saved my life.” Of course, he squeaked it in Portuguese, but I could tell what he meant.

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We arrived at the station in Porto and hopped on a modern train.  The train wended (cool word, that Papa taught me) through beautiful country side, to a smaller town called Guimarães The sights along the way were so good that Papa didn’t even fall asleep this timeã

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We have a lot of photos of Papa sleeping when we’re riding planes, trains, buses, and even in automobiles.

Second, when I tell you this, you’re going to say, “That’s our Nona!”  Once we got to Guimarães, Nona didn’t want to pay the big price of a round trip taxi out to Citânia de Briteiros, an archeological site. That would have been 40 Euros (or about 52 US dollars), but she and Papa really wanted to go.

So, as soon as they got off the train, she walked right up to a perfect stranger at a taxi stand, and she asked him, “Are you going out to Citânia de Briteiros?”

Daytrip to Guimarares

In surprise, he stared at her a moment, and then nodded yes, yes that’s where he wanted to go.  “Want to share a taxi?” she asked excitedly.  I guess her excitement was catching, because, almost without thinking he said, “OK.” Nona had him and Papa in a taxi before they knew what was happening.  The taxi fare would now be split three ways.  I could tell that made her happy.

Oh, also, about that new friend.  That’s the guy Nona picked up for the taxi ride.  He turned out to be a really good companion for exploring the archeological site.  Guess where he is from!  Hint: somewhere in the U.S.  Another hint: well known song by Stephen Foster.  Yeah, Kentucky.

What are the chances of us running into a guy from Kentucky at a taxi stand in Guimaraes, Portugal?  Also, what are the chances that he’s going to the same place that we’re going?  Amazing.  He’s a professor at a university and was here to give a paper at an academic conference.  So, Nona’s strategy for saving money also worked well for finding a new friend.

Now, back to the ancient city.  … Oh, no! Nona says I have to send this now, because we have to leave on another walk.  Oh, well, I promise that my next email will be all about the Iron Age city walk that we did with our new friend from Kentucky.  Gotta go.

I’m your friend.

Love,

Solbit

P.S. To Be Continued with “Solbit Visits an Iron Age Fortified City”

September 2014

  • You may be asking yourself, “Who is Solbit?” Solbit is a fictional character, but she is a real plastic dinosaur, sent to us unsolicited in a package we ordered from Photojojo. So, she’s a plastic jurassic. Solbit is short for the four names given her by our grandchildren: Sparkle, Orangie, Lulu, Breakit. We tend to use her given names for when she’s been naughty. Thank you for visiting Tales of a Plastic Jurassic. Solbit likes company and hopes you’ll come back.
  • You can learn more about Solbit at her About page and in the earlier posts, “Solbit: How I Got My Name” and “Solbit: How I Got to Travel.”