Nothing like getting started
In the day of the Equinox, I start to tell you about my latest little trip.
First night at Figueira da Foz (a.k.a. just Figueira) city, where I have spent so many Summers of my life with my family.
It's been a while, since I last came to this city. I was so happy. It kinda felt like, as if a member of my body came back to its right place. I was v-i-s-c-e-r-a-l-l-y happy to be there!
It was warm and raining like hell, and I felt like the grey and the fog were so mysterious, so according to my mood to unfold my personal images behind the steam of this trip. Come rain or come shine, my love for Figueira felt unshakeable.
|View to the Good Voyage Mountain from Buarco's beach ® Rita Draper Frazão|
Next morning, the Sun was shining. And uau! There are so many things to do and my will was of doing them all!
|Cova's Beach ® Rita Draper Frazão|
Eating Rosquilhas from Dona Irene in the Market, was a top priority. It's a must whenever I arrive and when I leave too, since I always bring some, extra packages of these, home. Rosquilhas are a kind of salty cracker, with the shape of the waves on it. Its flavor is poetic enough to make it unforgettable. It is a local specialty you can only get there, and that you can't miss. They go great with coffee, cheese, olives, or jam.
|In the Market ® Rita Draper Frazão|
Going to the market itself is a nice experience as well: its smell, the colors and most of all, the nice people who work there. This shot was taken inside the market. The cloths you see are the ones used in the beach, like these:
|Relógio's Beach ® Rita Draper Frazão|
The Stunning Architecture
I can never get tired of the street type and the architecture of this place, especially the one in Bairro Novo (The New Block).
Pretty much inspired by the Art Deco, its classic features started to be built around the fort of Saint Catherine (in the image above), in the end of the XIXth century, along to the 50's. I think this part of town, is one of the treasures of this vacationer destination. The sculpture in the lake is Preguiça (laziness) a piece of art made by Laranjeira Santos that became an icon of Figueira.
But there is plenty more to see. This green one is one of my favorite buildings in Figueira da Foz. The green and the white flowers inspired us, when kids, to call it The cauliflower house.
Also love this one! It's in one of my favorite streets, the freedom street - Rua da Liberdade, also known among me and my cousins, as The Tree Street (Rua das Árvores).
Both examples were built by César Caniceiro da Costa around the 30's decade.
There are many more interesting examples of a very picturesque architecture, but just for you to have an idea of the interest of the matter, several people wrote phd and master thesis about this topic.
Figueira makes you feel in a way, like you're living in another era. Its glamour and ghostly feel, are symbols of a city whose heart beats at the sound of one of its main attractions, the Casino. Yes, this is not only a beautiful district, Bairro Novo is also the place where you can have fun by excellence. Night life definitely happens here.
|Drawing made in one of the R.S. Bar's rooms ® Rita Draper Frazão|
And one of the places where I had a blast was at the Red Shoes Bar (R.S.).
The name came after Bowie's Let's dance lyrics but when I got in there, I also connected it, with Dorothy's shoes from the Wizard of Oz, or something like it, as I drew here, years ago.
This is a place where literature, cinema and music are major hosts. The place is packed with references, pictures of movies, sentences from some notable writers like Oscar Wilde, Fernando Pessoa, Charles Bukowski, and lyrics from Tom Waits or David Bowie, just to name a few. For my happiness, one of the rooms is even named The writers room (Sala dos escritores).
On the upper floor, try some of the cocktails and shoo your sins at the Confessional Room (Confessionário). I was mesmerized with the colors of the vitral and the dance of the barmaid while doing them - her movements were as mechanical as beautiful.
My favorite spot, where I have stayed a while doing the drawing above, was The white room.
If you're into indie music and rock you can't miss this spot!
Praise the Holy Mountain
Sounds like it's not just for me, that Figueira is a city of poems, of poets and of Literature. Its literary quality, starts with the name of its stunning saw - Serra da Boa Viagem (Good Voyage Mountain). It was named after the Catholic Nossa Senhora da Boa Viagem (Our Lady of the Good Voyage), who is patroness of fisherman and travelers. It is many times represented with a boat and can include some blue color on the vests too.
|View to the Mountain from Murtinheira's beach ® Rita Draper Frazão|
Over the years, I have done drawings, texts and had many dreams just because of the name of this Mountain. In my personal memories, it means the lighthouse, the smell of pine trees, heather plant and dew, one beach at each side of this mountain, the breeze in your face while you are curving the roads, the freshness of an adventurous trip in a good spirit. It's there. It's all there.
Also Abadias Park (Jardim das Abadias) is a place I like to go to, watch the birds and occasionally see an exhibition or show. That is possible because, Abadias is where Cae (Figueira's Cultural Centre) is too, so you can mix several possibilities here: jogging, riding a bike, playing with your kids, doing a pic nic, see some art or go to a concert... you choose!
All the above mentioned are reasons to love Figueira da Foz, but along with those I have some very personal ones too. It was the place where I first heard Melvins, and Mile's Tutu; where I saw some of Nanni Moretti's films, read Aparição from Vergílio Ferreira, first heard about Mad Love (L´amour Fou) by André Breton and where I saw a major Solar Eclipse in 1999 in a really special place.
Seems fair enough to start with an Equinox and end with a Solar Eclipse. I have strong reasons to always come back to Figueira da Foz, and I know I'm not the only one.
The truth is... I already miss it!