Portugal in the Box – #25

Monday 22nd June 2008





We had a wonderful night on this parking by the fort, no sexually repressed Catholics came with their girls or their cars or their motorbikes. Some dogs, yes, gave us a concert at some time, and early in the morning I heard a cockerel. What a surprise indeed! It has been a long time since I have heard a cockerel! Cockerels have wonderful colours and feathers, but, forgive me to say it so rudely, I quite hate them. I hate the sound of their voices, I hate the way they walk and I hate the fact that they wake up the whole neighborhood when they feel they have slept enough themselves. Sometimes I could strangle them, really, and I swear that I am normally an animal lover (yes, I know, some will object here with my bulls…)

And in fact I am not proud that the symbol of my native country is a cockerel…. although I feel that many men in France behave like little cocks!


In the morning we were amazed to see that the immense parking was full. Strange above all was that all these cars had not woken us up. The reason was soon clear to us: most of the cars were one person cars, having arrived to their place of work. The thing was that the whole little town inside the gigantic fort was comprised solely of shops, whose owners parked outside. Strange really, this amount of shops. And they were all selling more or less the same things, above all towels. Towels in all styles, colours and sizes. It must be a speciality around here. Some of them sold clothes too and instead of me drawing we ended buying a totally new outfit for Kevin! I would need new clothes much more than him, he has already dozens of pairs of bermudas, shirts, and shoes in the motorhome. But I hate shopping for me, and I love shopping for Kevin. No idea what that means, really… it has surely a deep psychological significance, kind of rejection of something, myself, or society, or whatever! I was always like that, even as a young girl…

But finally I got something too, a great new hat! One more for my collection… I seem to have inherited this love of hats from my father, although I always thought that he loves hats because he is bald… now I think love for hats might have a deeper significance. I for example, feel quite naked and somehow in danger when I have not a hat on my head…


There were a lot of Spaniards there, and I guess they just come across the border to buy towels and so on. One must say that they are quite cheap here, and of good quality. After the shopping I managed to do some sketches while Kevin walked back to the motorhome, but I was interrupted unpleasantly by Spaniards, wanting to see what I did and starting discussing with me. There is really an enormous difference between Portuguese and Spaniards. Portuguese are much more polite, much more respectful of your own private sphere, much more discreet. Since we are in Portigal I have not been disturbed once in my drawing by Portuguese. They normally have a short glance at me, sometimes a smile,, and go on their way. I love that!


We spent a part of the afternoon outside the town library, trying to log into the wifi internet connection. It did not work as well as the day before, but we finally managed to do some work. Full of frustration though, as the connection always broke down and I could not send any mail… I think on our next travel we will have to renounce totally to the internet, it is simply too much stress and often too much wasted time.


In the afternoon we went back to the town within the fort. For months I’ve been trying to find a new bathrobe, and believe me or not, I could not. I had looked at many places in Spain, and even in France, as we went there at the end of March. But although it was snowing outside it was officially spring and the spring collection did not include anything with long sleeves! Who could believe that I would eventually find my bathrobe in Portugal, at a time when it is 35°celsius outside! A great bright yellow one!!!

I tried to make some new sketches from the fort and the town, sitting on the ramparts while Kevin was sitting at a cafe, but I was quite disturbed by gigantic ants which entered my clothes all the time and bit me. Very unpleasant… I guess there were some snakes too crawling around but I tried not to think about them. I managed doing some distorted sketches of the walls and towers. In fact I am quite in love with these little towers growing out of the walls, they look so cute hanging there like Medieval telephone boxes!

As I was finished I joined Kevin at the cafe, drank a Portuguese beer and got really drunk, already after half a glass! Of course it was a 5,7% beer, but I am French, you know, and I have a long history of 13% wine drinkers in my blood, so I normally get away easily with strong beer. And believe me, I already had much stronger beer in Germany, and above all in Belgium! I really wonder : what was with that beer? Not unpleasant though, neither in the taste nor in the effect!!!



2 Responses to “Portugal in the Box – #25”

  1. Lela Says:

    I have been having fun reading about your experiences in Valenca. I live in the U.S. and Valenca is my home town. I will be arriving at the end of the month. Look out for tomorrow, Wednesday, as it is the weekly fair grounds and they have an open market south of the circle. That really brings in alot of the spaniards and alot of traffic. However, the market offers alot of everything at reasonable prices. Hope you get a chance to enjoy.

  2. Miki Says:

    Hi Lela!

    We are back from Portugal now, and what a pleasure to find a comment from somebody whose hometown is Valenca! I am so glad that you enjoyed reading my text. I had a great pleasure drawing there myself, felt totally in love with the “medieval telephone boxes”, they were wonderful to draw.
    We left the next day, so we had no possibility to go to the Wednesday market, what a pity. If we had known we would have stayed one day more… but anyway we loved Portugal so much, we will go back there many times and surely we will get another chance to visit the market.
    Hope you enjoy your life in the U.S.!

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