Café Crem

Art, Music and Words around The Coffee Table

Last glimpse of Paradise? – Portugal 7



After reluctantly leaving Carresqueira, we finally arrived in Alcacer do Sal. It looked spectacular

as we, faithfully hugging the shores of the Rio Sado, got our first glimpse. Numerous bridges spanned the

wide Sado, including three road, one rail, and one pedestrian link.  It’s clear to see, therefore, how the

town here has grown large and prosperous.


As we crossed the currently-under-refurbishment swingbridge, I made a left along the quayside, and

immdeiately wondered if I’d made a mistake – I was shuddering along on cobbles – and it looked like

it might be a one-way street.


My fears were allayed, however as the cobbles gave way to tarmac and the road widened a little.

Within a minute, I’d found a car park situated on the riverbank, surrounded by palm trees and benches.

Perfect! Another great overnight stop, free of charge, and any hassle. The Portuguese seem to have a

knack of respecting your privacy that really makes you feel as if you’re not intruding. It was wonderful

place to stay, with views of the modern pedestrian bridge across the Sado as the sun went down.


The next day we explored the village, which, apart from the delightful quayside, was predominantly built

upon the steep hill that rose up to the fortress and churches which looked down on Alcacer with an

imperious air. An arduous walk rewarded us with a spectacular view across the rice fields and the Rio Sado.


We wandered into our first Portuguese church, and found it being refurbished. The incongruity of a modern R&B

track being played by the workers on a Ghetto Blaster actually worked for me – the soulful female voice

soaring into the roof space seemed oddly appropriate.


Later, as we made our way down the hill through the town, a kind old lady suggested we visit the other large church.

We did, and it was fascinating. Covered from floor to ceiling in ceramic tiles, with blue engravings depicting

bibilcal scenes and Portuguese historical events, it was the most extraordinary sight. I’d never seen such a thing

in a church, and it reminded me of Chinese art, for some reason, the walls looking for all the world like

some giant willow pattern dinner service.


We left Alacer that afternoon, once again pleasantly surprised by what this country was showing us. As we headed off

towards Lisbon, we couldn’t know that our rose-coloured view was about to be obscured by clouds…..


Kev Moore


June 16, 2008 - Posted by | Art, friends, writing | ,

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