Surrounded by Rocks: An Exploration Series, Chapter 8

Calling all rockhounds…Here’s Nightjar with the exciting next chapter in her series.

Chapter 8 – West Hill: Phyllite rocks!

It’s not only the vegetation that is different here, the rocks are very different too. We left sedimentary rocks behind and we are now in the domain of metamorphic rocks. Mostly phyllites. Phyllite is a metamorphic rock originating from shale sediments, it’s soft and highly foliated, easy to split into sheets, and it smells of clay. The most wonderful characteristics? The colours and the sheen! You can’t mistake that sheen for anything else. Phyllites here are really pretty.

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Surrounded by Rocks: An Exploration Series, Chapter 3

It’s time for the next Chapter in Nightjar’s series.

Chapter 3 – East Hill: Fauna of the Past

Fossil hunting!

I’ve had more luck in other trips, but it’s always easy to find some fossils, especially of ammonites. These are Early Jurassic sediments, laid nearly 200 million years ago. In primary school, I remember participating in a few school trips to this hill. I either imagined or saw a classmate discover a fish fossil, but the rock was too big to carry with us. We went to call the teacher and the rest of the group but when we came back, we couldn’t find the rock we had seen. At least that’s how we told the story afterwards and it still occasionally comes up in get-together dinners. Did that really happen or was it the result of the fertile imagination of a group of 7-year-olds? I’m afraid we’ll never know, but I always remember this story when I visit this place and I’m still secretly searching for that mysterious fish fossil. Sadly, I didn’t find it this time either.

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Surrounded by Rocks: An Exploration Series, Chapter 2

Welcome to the next chapter of Nightjar’s series about exploring the hills near her home in Portugal.

Chapter 2 – East Hill: Limestone Rocks!

Limestone may not be the prettiest of rocks, but I really like rocks, and images such as this make me happy. The other side of this limestone formation, facing a neighbouring village, is currently being explored for cement production. On “our” side there is only evidence of the work of stonemasons who used to sculpt the rock in place and carry their works downhill. Word has it that some people have found sculptures among the piles of rocks on the top of the hill, but I never found anything. Just rocks, really.

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Surrounded by Rocks: An Exploration Series, Introduction and Chapter 1

Nightjar has been working hard on a new series for us which is making its debut today. We’ll be posting a new chapter every other day, which will include weekends, so be sure to check in often because you won’t want to miss a single post. The first chapter is about trees which makes Tuesday the right day to begin, so I invite you to sit back, relax and enjoy exploring a bit of Portugal with Nightjar.


This series was inspired by both Ice Swimmer’s “Harakka Island” series (starting here)  and a post by rq on the Macedonian rocks that made her homesick, here. . I have no islands nearby to visit but I do have hills with rocks. In fact, I live between two hills that are very different from each other and both mean a lot to me, bringing childhood memories of fossil and rock hunting with my family and childhood friends. I do not go up the hills as often as I used to, but they really aren’t far from home and an afternoon is more than enough to explore one of them. In a November afternoon I went East and had fun among limestone. In a December afternoon I went West and had fun among phyllites and quartz. And yes, my pockets were heavy on my way back home. I can’t resist it. But let’s start our journey… let’s go East! [Read more…]