terça-feira, janeiro 01, 2008

Places with a Soul

[ click to enlarge ]
Bombaldes Square

     "Bombaldes" is the name of a distant fishing zone. Some years ago, this square was full of fishermen working in diverse "arts" of fishing: long lines with hooks, nets, trap cages (see photo). But now, restaurants and traffic are trying to push them away — it is a shame. Before the existence of the fishing port (works began in the late 40s), during bad weather, boats were carried ashore to this square and also to Marinha Sq. But the cyclone of Frebruary 15, 1941, destroyed most of the fishing fleet.
     Under the ground there are still remains of the old stone wall defending the town from attacks by foreign people — arabs, spaniards, french, english: you name it!. Also in the underground, two rivulets join at the center of the square, where the old defensive walls stood — you can have a glimpse of it from the beach (photo).
     Even nowadays this is a place where fishermen enjoy to be, talking, playing cards, looking at the see, taking a coffee at the nearby Musical Society; this popular Society — where you can also take a coffee or a moscatel — still has a marching band, the same where I played in my youth: take a look, I am in the last row, the first to the left; the young boy in the first row, far left, is Marinho, the owner of 'Black Coffee'.
     The restaurants at the square are good: 'Pedra Alta', 'Tony Bar', and 'O Velho e o Mar'; you can also try a glace ate 'Frutochocolate'. On the Jorge Nunes St., two other good restaurants (and less expensive): 'Virgilinda' and 'Sesimbrense'.

Marinha Square
fotografia alojada em www.flickr_m.com     Marinha Sq. [Navy Sq.] was also known as "Square of the Valiants", because, as the legend says, it was the place where bold and angry fishermen confronted each other. Until 1972, the selling of the fish was made by auction in the beach in front. In those days, the place was full of life: fishing boats stayed close to the beach, and small boats made the transfer of the fish, that was placed on the sand in special rows, different for each species. Then, the buyers made a circle around the fish and a man began "singing" a countdown of price, until a buyer shouted "chui!", meaning he was buying at that exact price. At the square, a number of trucks received the fish transported with the help of donkeys, and then, took it outside town. A crowd was allways watching the fantastic movements of the crowd, on the beach below.
     There is still a 'bait and hook store' dating from those days, the "Casa Naval", better known by the nickname Palhinhas ("small straws"), selling articles for fisheries — you should take a look.
     Nowadays this is a quiet square, with a fantastic view of the Sea, and a number of good restaurants: 'Farol', 'Rodízio', 'Filipe', 'Pescador', 'Tasca do Maritimo'. There is also the bar 'Corsario', once a tavern (photo) explored also by mr. Isaias, the same person refered below; at 'Corsario', you can drink the traditional licor 'Pescador' (pression).
     Taking Capitao Leitao St. (close to restaurant Farol) you'll get to Galé, a modest coffee/snack with a superb balcony view of the Sea.

Municipio Square
fotografia alojada em www.flickr.com     The main building in this square is the Town Hall, with the ancient stone of arms of Sesimbra, depicting an eagle and (maybe) a dog. On the center, the 'Pelourinho', a medieval stone monument (now, a replica) granting the municipal statute of Sesimbra, given by the king at 1201.
     In February 14, 1889, a big revolt took place at this square. Inside the Town Hall, officials were drafting youngsters by lot. But the parents, waiting outside, suspected of fraud, and the revolt exploded. Women shouted: "Our sons were already sorted in our bellies, [meaning: to whether become boys or girls] so they won't be sorted again!". Building stones and bricks were used to assault Town Hall and the nearby taxes house (right, on the photo); lots of papers and books were burned during 2 days at the center of the square (tax ledgers, but also important historic documents). In the aftermath, 39 men and one woman   Eusébia Café   were imprisoned and taken to court, but in the end all were considered innocent. One of the accused had the nickname "Vara Real" ["Royal Stick", I better not explain the meaning — use your imagination...] but the naive Judge asked him to explain the meaning of the nickname in court. This scene made history, and for many years this place was known as the "Vara Real Square".
     A good restaurant: 'Municipio', and an old tavern, the '13'. Not far away, on Coronel Barreto St., the best grilled fish of Sesimbra, at the snack (an old tavern) 'Isaias' (more about Isaias).

Quinquilheiro Alley
fotografia alojada em www.flickr.com
     "Quinquilheiro" (rag-merchant) alley owes its name to a rag-merchant that lived there. It is one of the last streets of Sesimbra that keeps the spirit of the old times. There you can still find people grilling fish at the outside.
     The irregular shape of some houses, and the decrepitude of other, revealing the building bricks, gives a cubistic atmosphere to the place [more photos here].

fotografia alojada em www.flickr.com
     Although small, it is a kind of "central garden". Its official name is "5 of October Square", but is better known as "the garden". Its ancient name was "field of Mercy", because of the Church of Mercy, that still exists, and is the home of the sacred image of "Lord Jesus of Wounds" (photo), a miraculous wooden statue that appeared on the beach, on top of Pedra Alta (photo). The main religious procession of Sesimbra, devoted to "Lord Jesus of Wounds", takes place each 4th of May.
     On the top side of the square stands the building "Escola Conde Ferreira", the first school of Sesimbra (1866). In the center of the garden grows an araucaria tree. There is also a bust statue of professor Joaquim Marques Polvora (1858-1934), an "educator of three generations". See an old photo of the garden →.

Faith Street
fotografia alojada em www.flickr.com
     Together, Faith St., Hope St., and Charity St., is one of the oldest zones of Sesimbra. The house at the corner with Torrinha Sq., held the meetings of Town Hall, before the present building at Municipio Sq.
     This is a traditional street of fishermen. In the old photo above, you can see one of them, João da Mota, grandfather of one of the authors of this blog: the girl in the photo.
     The 'Gá', a famous and old bakery, dating from 1884, still makes one of the best breads of Sesimbra, that can be bought very fresh, before dawn arises. They also make traditional cakes, as the "cinnamon cake" and "farinha torrada" ('overbaked flour'), a kind of energetic bars that fishermen used to take to Sea.

fotografia alojada em www.flickr.com
Engraving of 1884, where you can easily
locate most of these places [click].

2 Comentários:

Às 12/9/08 , Anonymous Anónimo disse...

Cafe Fontinha
Hello - I just wanted to say I love your blog and read it everyday. I am based in London.
My mother is from Sesimbra she worked in the Cafe Fontinha - her name is Liliana. She remembers you and your sister, and recognizes you from the page of the Sesimbra blogger. She sends her compliments.
Liliana (filha)

Às 12/9/08 , Blogger J.A.Aldeia disse...

Thank you. Maybe your mother is refering to my cousins João Pedro Aldeia, that used also to go to the café Fontinha, and her sister Olinda. I am João Augusto Aldeia, also a great fan of Fontinha coffee and its jukebox.


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