Portuguese SAGAS – trip to the south
Yesterday I drove 200 kilometres to the south.
I wanted to see the pine woods, or what was left of them.
I also wanted to listen to the sound of the sea and experience my beach without all the tourists and sunburned people.
I was going to Viera de Leiria and Nazaré.
Few days ago I went north and had already seen the devastation there.
Now it was to see the south.
I drove for 8 minutes from home, and there it began. The devastation is endless.
There were burned houses, burned woods and I dreaded to see my favourite pine wood.
I have gone to the beach every year, to Viera de Leiria, and on my way there stopped in the pine wood to collect pines for the winter. I don´t like too much to sunbathe but it is nice to be able to pick up several bags of pines, fresh ones, just from the trees, and think about the cold winter days when they will light up my fire. There were always lots of pines so it took about one hour or even less to fill up the car. Then I went to the beach to have lunch in a restaurant where my friends grill fresh fish, just coming from the see in the morning, and have a wonderful reunion. After lunch I usually spent some hours at the beach, listening to the waves whispering their poems, and I even sometimes did lie down to let the sun warm my skin and produce vitamin D for the winter.
Those were the days where I left home in the morning and came back in the evening. I sometimes stopped on my way back home to pick up berries, the white ones that look like the black crowberries we have in Iceland.
I loved the smell of the pines. The beauty of the huge trees never stopped to amaze me.
Yesterday was different.
I drove through the pine woods. They were no longer green. Nor they were black. Kilometre after kilometre there was just black and blacker as far as I could see.
I could not stop to take the photos, so they are taken from my car while driving.
I just wanted to show you what happens when the terrorists decide to attack a tiny country and destroy the livelihood completely.
Somewhere the men had begun to cut the burned trees. There were holes, huge holes in the landscape. While driving through the wood I contemplated about how it would be next summer? No wood, no trees, just the vast nothing, like a huge hole in the heart of the land.
After driving through the pine wood I entered Viera de Leiria beach. The village is unharmed but standing there looking all around at the black trees I thought about the tourists who last summer were just enjoying their holiday with the family and all they could see was fire, fire all around the village and no way out.
How did they feel?
Will they ever be the same?
Will they come back to Portugal?
I parked my car and took a long walk around my favourite beach. Not many people around. Maybe one who looked like a tourist but the others are just people who live in the village and have their livelihood from the work during the summer.
I came across a sailor who was preparing his net for next summer’s fishing. He sat there, outside his coffee shop, relaxed and talking to his friends. A peaceful moment and not far away there was a man grilling fish for his customers.
The cats and dogs were enjoying the pleasant warm day, sitting in their road waiting for something or just living the moment.
Some shops were open; they are the ones that never close. The Chinese one and a shoe shop never close.
The supermarket was closed. Perhaps the people who live in the village go to Viera and buy their goods there during the winter.
The fish market was closed and this time I could go inside! Usually I am the outsider there and just looking at the strange faces the seamen have brought to land. There are many ugly fish faces during the summer but after grilling they taste like heaven.
After strolling around and enjoying my visit I left and headed to Nazaré. There was nothing but destruction most of the way. I drove through Nazaré and kilometre after kilometre the same, burned trees as far as I could see.
I just drove by the national road. I did not have the courage to drive into the villages on my way; I could not bear to see the devastation there.
We lost 90 people, at least in this area, during the early summer terrorism. We have lost many more during the rest of the summer.
We have lost houses, we have lost the woods, and we have lost the joy and the happiness. We have lost the climate. It will never be the same and after the land has been cleaned there will be nothing but weed. The weed will grow but that is not what our beautiful little land needs.
When I headed for home it was raining heavily. We need the rain. I drove through Pombal on my way back and there was the black horror again, even though the rain and the dark night had taken over the destruction stuck out.
I have not been to Lousa or Gois. Not yet. I will go there soon. I want to share with the world the terror we went through this year in my little land.
We can never forget that there are humans whose greed has no limits and they don´t care what they destroy as long as they profit.
What kind of world is this becoming?
We have to join hands and change the horror into something better. The power is in our hands, it is not in the hands of the terrorists.
Today it is raining again. That is good. We need the rain but it will not last many days. That is probably not too bad. Many trees around the roads are not straight anymore. The drought has defeated them and they lean over the road in many places.
The electric vires are among the trees. In many places they have melted in the fires and the people don´t have electricity or phones.
I saw in the news today that the drought has moved north and reached southern Europe. The climate change is a reality. There is no way around it, but we can change the evolution. Let´s join hands and stop using at least one chemical in every home. Have you ever thought about the cloths softener you use when washing your clothes? Do you know how harmful they are? Did you know that some people have difficulty breathing when you are handing your laundry outside their apartments?