Portugal in the Box – #13

Wednesday 11th June 2008

Sintra -´Terrugem – Ericeira

A great place to park in Sintra, but a bad place to spend the night: I could not close one eye, well two eyes. The entire night has been an animalistic concert, starting with the dogs, which did not stop barking for one second. As they finally fell asleep early this morning, the storks started to clap, and this must have been the signal for the Sintra Aviary Symphony Orchestra, as thousands of birdies joined the storks. I really went mad. And later of course the humans got up and went to work, some of them, naturally, in their offices in our street. As I opened the curtains the motorhome was surrounded by cars everywhere. But in the meanwhile we are cool with that, Kevin is a great driver, and as he says, he can drive our monster through the eye of a needle, if necessary…

The drugs institute in front, which we thought was closed, had reopenend its doors. Apparently treating the patients in the daytime, and in fact you would not believe how many people entered the institute. Young boys accompanied by their mothers, young boys alone, young girls in pairs, more or less older ladies, old guys… they all had something in comment, they entered the institute rapidly, full of shame apparently, the head turned to the ground… it was awful to observe, it hurt me deeply. I have a strong problem with drugs addicts, I feel extremely sorry for them, they kind of break my heart… I cannot help… Kevin is in this subject totally different from me, he has no understanding for them.

One of them had a very different behaviour. He entered the institute with head erect, came out some minutes later, and stood there, in front of the gate, and in fact in front of the motorhome. I went outside to draw and I noticed that he followed me. I felt uncomfortable. As we wanted to walk to the town centre, he was next to the motorhome and I kind of felt danger. This guy was obviously totally under the influence of drugs, and I simply know how clever and shameless they are when they need money for stuff. I did not want to leave the motorhome alone, so Kevin walked alone into the town. As he came back he saw the guy jumping into the garden of a villa for sale… I might have been right, or he might live there, until the house is sold… but although I totally mistrusted him I felt so sorry for him… these people carry such a loneliness on their faces and bodies…

We decided to try to drive to the crazy rainbow castle we had seen on postcards, „The Palacio of Pena“. We noticed then that the old town was full of little palaces and we had a walk there, As I started my first drawing a woman on the phone at a bus station close to me started filling the air with an awful wailing, I mean really awful. She cried as if she just had heard that her whole family had died. After 10 minutes she had still not stopped, and I stopped drawing, unable to concentrate myself. Her crying drove me mad, I felt so depressed hearing these sounds of deep pain as they rent the air..

I did some more drawing a little bit further along while Kevin was having a coffee. But in fact there were too many people around, really from all around the world. A lot of Japanese and Americans today. And I must say, Sintra deserves its world fame. At a crowded square, where I was drawing I had to deal with a business call, an English woman from Spain wanting a portrait, but it was too loud around me, and the woman did not speak the most understandable English, and me neither, so I hardly understood what she wanted. Kevin was not close to me, I made her repeat everything 3 times, still didn´t understand, and she became impatient, which I understand very well… Finally I told her a price for a portrait of a man and a dog, without really knowing if it is what she was asking for, or which technique, and how big… she hung up very fast then! I simply felt awful to treat a client like this, but I had no choice. Just I felt my day was spoiled…

Luckily we then drove to the famous rainbow castle, and really, I must say that the whole complex is the most spectacular thing I have ever seen in my life. An absolutly incredible wood full of thousands and thousands of extraordinary trees, old and gigantic, surround the castle. The castle itself looks even madder than Disney Land or the mad Ludwig castle in Germany. I tried some small drawing, but the whole thing was too big, to breathtaking, too paralysing. And of course again there were too many people around. I would have needed a lot of concentration to draw the extremely complicated architecture,. To be honest, I even doubt that I could if I had been alone! But if you want to learn drawing monuments, simply spend two weeks here, draw everyday 8 hours, and I am sure, at the end you will be an expert.. I unfortunately had not that time, and I preferred to give up than to make ridiculous scribbles of this world heritage. I felt I had not the right!

Nevertheless we spent an extraordinary afternoon, in the woods, the lake garden, the palacio and the Moorish Castle, and I forgot quite fast my drawing misfortune. As we walked back to the motorhome about 7pm, my legs could not carry me anymore! But I feel I have done well today, considering that I had not slept in the night, and that we had to walk a lot up hills and hundreds of old stone steps leading to the Moorish Castle.

We are now back by the sea, in Ericeira.. We had a nice drive here, which was marked all along by children and families walking along the roads, carrying the Portuguese flag, laughing, jumping, dancing! I guess there was another football match and they won it! I think we will have to buy a flag too and attach it to the Boomobile by the next match if they win. I am sure the Portuguese would love us for that! Kevin is very relieved that we are not travelling in an English motorhome, as England didn´t qualify for the European Championship this year… he seems to feel quite ashamed about it. I have no idea if France has, and I should perhaps make some inquiry before we travel under the Portuguese flag… By the way: I wonder what Portuguese do when they lose a match… do they publicly burn the flags?

Another important point on this drive to Ericeira was that we saw some petrol stations closed, and some others with big queues. That means that the fuel problem which my parents told me about in Spain, has reached us now, and we will have to be careful if we want to be able to go on travelling…

We have parked the motorhome in front of the ocean, a great view, we’ve even spent some time just sitting in the front seats watching the body surfers. Simply great!

I wonder though which animals and creatures will haunt my night this time…

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2 Responses to “Portugal in the Box – #13”

  1. sulochanosho Says:

    Good sketches and descriptions of your visits and insights with people, places and night cries of fowls and animals there. That’s the way to experience and expand, eventhough at some point of time it may sound not so sweet or sanguine.

  2. Susan Cornelis Says:

    I hope you had a good night’s sleep finally!


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