Four White Washed Walls and the Sea

ph. José Guerra


Text: Pedro Ágoas | Photo: José Guerra | Translator: João Diogo Rocha Pereira

In his 1924 “Guia de Portugal – Lisboa e Arredores” [Guide to Portugal – Lisbon and Surroundings], Raúl Brandão described Ericeira as a “land of poor fishermen (…) who are only able to make a living by renting their very clean houses in the summertime to tourists and retired seafarers who, after having traveled the sea aboard Lisbon’s ships, always end up returning to their homeland.”


Ericeira is a land of diluted contrasts, a village wedged between ridges and the sea, the green and the blue, where the work and leisure blend in and the traditions from other times live alongside the waves of modernity.

The village’s beauty resides not only on what the eyes are able to perceive neither on the sea that acts as its backyard; the wonder lies mostly on the details that we’ve always known and were always there. The popular imperfection and the patchwork of the “saloia” construction made of stone, pug and adobe, the volume of the white washed and blue speckled houses with the Moorish roofs and yards shaped as amphitheatres over the seaside cliffs, the narrow and crooked streets and alleys, the colours of the wooden windows’ successive layers of paint, the monochromatic tiles, the stone pieces of the spouts and fountains…these are all humanising elements of a balanced landscape that the approximation of cities hasn’t been able to jeopardise yet.

Feeling the sea-flavoured sunset upon your face (which by itself constitutes an alternative medicine practice), hearing the seagulls badmouthing their lives and feeling the flocks of birds ,which, during rush hour, compete amongst themselves for the best Jogo da Bola spots, stopping to see what are the new items in Rola Paulo’s showcase and going to the Ribas’ wall to lean over that sea, all of these are part of a ritual without which I would hardly keep my mental sanity.

You don’t inhabit Ericeira, you live it! I say this in a somewhat suspicious and biased manner because I’m among those who, while not living there, I live and savour Ericeira since I was born. In football slang I would say that I’ve been a “jagoz” since I was a little boy.

Esta publicação também está disponível em | This article is also available in: Portuguese (Portugal)