Tuesday, 14 April 2015

My "childhood" revisited ... - The 11th of April 2015

Whenever I go to Figueira I try to get hold of what  little remains from my childhood, despite the fact that it is sometimes painful not to be able to "identify" what once was and no longer is.

 I was therefore quite surprised to come across two buildings which were "important" when I was a child and a young adolescent - one (on the left) because of having been the place where I had my first ballet lessons under the direction of a French ballet teacher married to a well known Portuguese orchestra conductor and music composer, Freitas Branco and the other (on the right), a former medical clinic where I dared visit an injured friend (of the male gender) without a chaperone, which was highly unacceptable at the time.

Heading towards the public park, the former townhall, now turned into a bank brought back some memories of the past - it marked the limit between the old and the new town and from that point onwards everything we, as young adolescents, were willing to go to - the tennis club which often held parties, the casino with its no less interesting balls, the long stretches of sand lined with little bars and cafés ..., to mention just a few. 

The memorial statues which once stood in the park were substituted by fairly modern ones, which I must say I quite liked (at least they were a lot more creative and colourful).

As Mia and I headed towards the main beach of Figueira we came across an old black and white photo of the lighthouse, which now stands in the middle of a street, miles away from the sea which once used to reach its fortress-like walls. 

A few walking lanes and skate board areas have since then been "enbedded" in the scenario setting, so as to diminish the ever growing stretches of sand, resembling desert-like areas, which have entirely changed the previous layout of the coastal landscape. 

Two huge paintings decorate the seafront walking lane from the small fishing harbour to the main beach. One, looking western Europe style influenced (its author may be from one of those countries ... I honestly don't know ...)  stood proudly against the sea and made quite an impression on me ... I simply loved it and felt it made a real difference in the whole sea front scenario. 

To the left, a small beach I used to take my children to whenever we spent our holidays in Figueira remained "untouched". 

Having gone beyond the limit of Figueira and into Buarcos, a fishing village close by, we came across some of the "inventions" carried out by a former Mayor, which people still praise and take advantage of. A series of sports' courts along the beach, a savana-like area with a concert-like stage, as well as memorials to some of the outstanding figures of both Figueira and Buarcos.

Once we reached the old centre of Buarcos marked by an old statue of the fisherman pulling the fishing nets, we sat at a Japanese restaurant (another novelty) along the beach awaiting my brother's arrival.

Soon after lunch we decided to drive to Quiaios, a mere 15 kilometres from Figueira, where we visited an old windmill (in need of repair) and one of the three existing lagoons - Lagoa da Vela, the one which is easily accessed. Like the other two it is surrounded by dense shrubbery and although I didn't recall having ever been there part of the landscape rang a bell, possibly based on previous descriptions made by my brother, who often rode there on his bicycle.

Once we got back into town we decided to sit on a sea front café we used to go to in the past and be brought the same we used to have then, for old times'sake ...


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