Text: Rui Miguel Abreu | Translator: João Diogo Rocha Pereira
I grew up in the outskirts of Coimbra with unobstructed views and I lived a fair share of my life in Lisbon, always in apartments with a view to the other side of the road. The first house I bought with my wife was located in a busy artery in Linda-a-Velha, with a bus stop right next to my doorstep, which made me realise that Vimeca was keen on saving oil considering all the racket produced when their buses would brake. In the building where I lived I only ever entered any neighbour’s home for purposes of condominium meetings. We were all strangers to each others. And living on the first floor of a busy area made the summer barbecues particularly challenging: I would usually set up the grill at the back of the building, but I would have to move it away just enough so that the smoke wouldn’t bother the neighbours nor leave any scents on the clothing they would let hanging on their windows. I was the only one practicing the noble sport of grilling over charcoal, to which I would need to add some resourcefulness for carrying the platter upstairs. And all of this contributed to an additional awkwardness: “excuse me neighbour, please let me pass because these sardines are needed up there”. I lived for almost fifteen years in that place, and I left only a few friends behind when I moved to Ericeira. Actually, I only recall two…
Then came Ericeira, resultant of one of those impulses you get when you turn forty and you feel like the big decisions cannot be delayed any further. We wanted to live near the sea; to feel that strange scent called “fresh air”; to avoid stumbling on moody neighbours who were 25 years older than us; to have some space and the possibility of watching the sunset; And to do barbecues every day we felt like it. So Google brought us here: a pair of coordinates inserted in the search engine – I know they included terms such as “house”, “sea” and “near Lisbon” – took us to a blog that had a single house up for sale. We scheduled a visit. The second visit to a house in our lives resulted in the second purchase. I was never one to spend too much time looking at the storefront showcase. Ever.
And here we are. I think we took about five minutes to make new friends in Ericeira. And about thirty seconds after our first visit, in the summer of 2008, to realise that this is a special place, with its very own atmosphere. Everything contributes to this: the people, of course, who welcomed us as if they had always known us, without glancing at what our clothes or stance could mean. But not only the people. Ericeira is a place where, for the first time, we were able to build a series of…routines…or, even better, rituals, that are precious to us and constitute somewhat of a punctuation for the narrative called life: the market on Saturday morning – the fish lady to whom we are faithful and does the seasoning of the animals we purchase to her, notes our orders and always serves us with a big smile and words such as “dear” or “darling”; the fruit family who already knows us and warmly greets us with a “good morning” that fifteen years in Linda-a-Velha never glimpsed in any face, in addition to selling us some incredible homegrown eggs; the gentleman of the vegetables with whom health stories have already been shared and who never forgets to send a small bouquet of scents in the bags where we bring carrots, cabbages, lettuce, peppers and everything else, all fresh and with a smell you can’t find at the large retailers; the bread lady whom I can’t meet without buying an anise bow tie and has vanilla cookies just like the ones I remember from my childhood; the mad butcher shop mister who can almost tell us the name of the creature that he’s selling us by the piece.
And I only mentioned the market! I could spend hours here – and I will allocate some future lines for that – to describe the pleasure for the senses that is the weekly visit to the Loja da Amélia, or the evenings, when the calendar allows me to stay home a bit more as the classes near their conclusion, in which I go to the village and allow myself some time to read at the seafront while something cool quenches my thirst. And the runs, to Ribeira d’Ilhas and then to the São Sebastião Chapel, always with the sea within sight to encourage us in the ascents and making us forget the leg pains.
In Ericeira, in the end, we found the pleasure of eating and cooking for friends, the pleasure of having time for what really matters, to grill much more than just sardines (not only, but as well, of course), to seriously cook much more than just grilled meals and to enjoy much more than just food. Through here such subjects will be written about, with the sea and the food always near, but with many more things included, as we own at least five senses.
And thank you for making us feel at home.
Rui Miguel Abreu is a radio personality at Antena 3 and a music reporter at Blitz and in his own blog 33-45.org.
Esta publicação também está disponível em | This article is also available in: Portuguese (Portugal)