Ana Valentina Angelo
Figueira da Foz, my dear!
Figueira da Foz, you charm me, calm me, soothe me.
From my window, I lurk you, Figueira. Off the fine white sand of Praia da Claridade I spot small boats lost in the Atlantic. They are so serene … would they be real?
Quiet for rest, leisure and living in contact with nature and a courteous and captivating people, with open arms to those who arrive. I could not resist, I am a Brazilian-Portuguese.
Ah … the breakfast, the crowded bakeries, the good smell of latte, the hot chocolate and, maybe, a little wine even … gather tourists! (someone would say). I say: Tourists and Portuguese. It’s a habit of the land! The news from inside and outside Portugal, mixed by several languages, are present, and are characterized by picturesque expressions via words and sometimes simply gestures, resulting in the fellowship of like-minded people.
Today I dare. I walk the Promenade from Claridade beach to Buarcos beach! Tranquility. Irresistible cool water (but the sun helps). Children have the time of their lives. The party mood invades the summer. Everything is very colorful, contrasting with the fabulous blue of the sea that meets the sky on the horizon.
Narrow streets, centuries-old buildings almost whisper in our ears the secrets of bygone days; It is the Historic Center with its slopes leading into squares and alleys. A melancholic pillory flaunts its age on a metal plate.
I walk a little farther and I am in the square of the great market of São Julião. Leafy trees and wooden benches with messages from great poets on the back. Dozens of doves – quietly – walk side by side with passersby and, surprised: a seagull blends in and accompanies them on the march. I take a picture.
From my eighth-floor window I hear a flap of wings very close; It startles me! Ah … it’s you, seagull, flirting with me. You go up … and up. Broad in the wind and hover … as a feather. Like lightning, it narrowly cuts the air and lands elegantly in the immensity of white sand of Praia da Claridade, in the midst of so many sisters … hundreds. What a sight for non-coastal travelers like me! In the evening, there they go, noisy, to welcome the fishing boats that arrive from the sea. The boat slowly enters the Mondego River, toward the harbor, under the squawks of a number of seagulls whirling around the hull.
This afternoon, I walk towards dusk, towards the Clock Tower (bold landmark from 1950) and then to the colorful marina that, like a showcase, boasts models and colors of its docked boats, hugged by the jetties, in the massive current from the mouth of Mondego; genuinely Portuguese river, which flows into the Atlantic, so sung by Camões.
“Sweet and clear waters of Mondego,
Sweet rest of my memory,
Where the long and perfidious hope
Long time after you brought me blind,
I depart from you; but I don’t deny
That the long memory that reaches me,
Does not let me to estrange from you,
But the farther I stretch, the closer I get
Fortune, this instrument from the Soul
Can lead to new and strange land,
Offered at the remote sea, in the wind.
But the soul that accompanies you here,
In the wings of slight thought
Flies to you, waters, and bathe in you ”*