Graça - Lisbon area located on one of the highest hills of the capital, is a stopping point and a must-visit for anyone visiting Lisbon. It is from the Miradouro da Graça that the views are the most beautiful. It is there that hundreds of people from all corners of the world stop to observe the city, the Castle, the Tagus river and, in the background, the Cristo-Rei statue that extends its arms as if to bless those who cross the Tagus and all of Lisbon.
There, in 1371, the Augustinian friars circulated near that viewpoint among their tasks. It was in that same year that, by order of D. Fernando, king this area came to be within the city walls. At that time, Graça was nothing more than the Convent of Santo Agostinho - which later takes on the name of Convento da Graça, side by side with cultivated fields.
We are old school here and we still live the "neighborhood spirit" born in these places. We still order the "glass of rice", "two onions" or "eggs" from the neighbor, with the promise to return the next time we come from the supermarket. We still knock on the door when we don't see that older neighbor. We still ask about the neighbor's health. We still play ball with the son and the neighbors' children in the outside patio.
Now, I'm just going to ask the neighbor for 2 onions that I forgot to buy and I take the opportunity to ask her how her baby granddaughter is doing...
With Soul Tours
Places with soul...
Óbidos, this beautiful village, is undoubtedly one of the jewels of the West. A fortified place. Once a stage of battles, today, it makes an invitation to visit. Óbidos its toponymy does not originate from OPPIDUM, as the double pp cannot be converted into B of Óbidos. Over time and years and also the people with the way we speak, that took OPPIDUM to Óbidos, because at that time there were no Germanic peoples in that region, so everything suggests that it was the people who ended up dictating that it would be Óbidos.
But it is also known for being the Vila das Rainhas. It was a noble village, and was part of the Queens' gifts. The first queen was D. Urraca, who had her in dowry, later on she always went from queen to queen until the 1755 earthquake. Óbidos suffered many damages, but it was precisely after this earthquake that the warm waters of Caldas da Rainha were accidentally found. .
It was Queen Santa Isabel who gave the charter to Caldas da Rainha and disaggregated it from Óbidos, but this story is for another moment.
The village of Óbidos fell with the entry of Liberalism in Portugal, that is, the French Invasions that devastated the country, and the gradual loss of Brazil that financed our country and, to aggravate the peninsular wars that further weakened our finances and stability.
Óbidos then becomes a ghost town… the convents were emptied, the goods sold. There was no soul in those streets. It was tourism that came to revitalize that village, more precisely in the 1930s.
This convent dates from the 17th century and belonged to the Frier Capuchin Franciscan Order. “The house” was constituted by the Convent, cloister, church and, siege of recreation and production, nowadays, only the convent exists.
The convent acquired the name "convalescence" because it was a hospice that received people in recovery, later was elevated to a convent.
Queen Maria I, wanted that when the Águas Livres Aqueduct was built, the fountains of the Convalescence were also supplied. Its the Chafariz das Águas Boas (Fountain of the Good Water) or, Santo António da Convalescença.
n the past, there were no social networks. There were no cell phones. The phones were few. Television, not everyone could afford it, was a luxury. The washing machine was a dream. And ... While it was only a dream, but also possibilities to acquire it, community tanks were used. The tours that we do today, were not made ... It was a walk to the tanks, where they washed squeegees of clothes. It was in those community tanks that the social networks of that time emerged ... that was the meeting point and the conversation was up to date.
In the Mafra area, the "saloias" found clients in Lisbon, brought their clothes to the tanks or to small rivers - this going even further back in time - and there they washed the clothes of the customers who gave the clothes to the list. The late actress Beatriz Costa illustrates in the film “Aldeia da Roupa Branca” the washing day of the customers. It was not an easy life. But times have changed ... And thankfully ...
Let's change the region… to the city of Peniche. Before the community tanks existed, the clothes were washed in “pocinhas”, at the entrance of Praia Grande. Yes... but Praia Grande no longer exists ... now there is a fishing port and a road that connects the Peniche isthmus. My grandmother told me that this was where they used to wash clothes. They spread their clothes over small bushes, branches and twigs. Blushing... which means simply clearing up with the help of the sun. Then, at the end of the day, I would see them returning home, with their clothes already dry and ironing with a hot iron. The women of Peniche had a hard life at the time, because in addition to all the domestic life they had, in addition to taking care of the many children, they also helped their husbands to tie nets (mend nets), to prepare the fish that arrived from the farm. Then there were community tanks and there is still one that resists. It is in Peniche from above. On sunny days it was like seeing clothes… carpets… treadmills… all spread out in the sun...
I started singing with 9 years old, in 1986. I heard my father's vinyl records, in fact, I closed the whole house and sang… I decorated all the fados.
I sang for the first time at a party, my father was a sailor and it was not programmed at all, they called me and I sang. I sang with an open heart. I sang “My dear, my old man, my friend”, it is a fado that was adapted by Nuno da Câmara Pereira.
Singing has always been a part of me, it was born with me. When I was 9 years old it didn't make any confusion to sing with 3 Portuguese guitars and 1 viola. It was there that I saw that everything made sense, I fell in love…
In the family, I'm the only one who sings, I know I'll be a fado singer until the end. I love the fado. It is important to mention that my parents always supported me and took me to associations or fado houses until I reached adulthood. My mother always prepared me before any spectacle, even for just one single song...
I lived in Porto Salvo, near Lisbon, when I started singing in small shows in the vicinity. I did a lot of amateur fado. I made the Hospitals Christmas, that was a show promoted by the portuguese television. I went to Praça da Alegria, also a show of the Portuguese TV channel. I worked at Casa do Artista (Support Association for Artists institute). Dona Deolinda Maria supported me a lot and gave me some of her fados. I was very support there. It was there that I had a great professional support, but, to point out that wherever I went, my parents always accompanied me, and always supported me. They still support me today, they are my biggest fans
Over time, I have always found good professionals who have given me good guidance. In addition to my mother forcing me to rehearse again and again. I knew deep down that I was afraid, they just wanted everything to go well. It was then that D. Deolinda Maria sent me to Professor Edgar Nogueira from “Luso” (a fado house in Bairro Alto, in Lisbon), however, she continued with my work at Casa do Artista.
She dictated the destination… that one day I went to a dinner at the Taberna del Rei, my friends started saying that I sang fado. I sang. They liked it. And there I stayed.
In 2002 I took my professional card, at the time, it was used to be able to sing abroad or in some places like casinos for example. I was in Canada and performed with the Azorean community.
Adega Machado, at Mesquita, Coração de Alfama, Severa, Nonó, Faia, Forcado, Marquês da Sé, Clube de Fado are some of the houses where I have sung. They are different houses, with different music, with different musicians, with different audiences, but the soul is always the same…
My daughter has always been with me. She was 1 month old, she was already going to fado houses with me. It is the light of my eyes ... my friend ... my heart out of me ... she does not sing fado, she has made a point of saying that she leaves this role to her mother. I am happy for that!
Places with Soul...
Carnival arose in Portugal in the 11th century ... It was the Catholic church that defined 40 days of fasting before Easter (lent). The 3 days leading up to Lent... It was a total slump!
It was in those 3 days that people got together, ate and drank, and even chose a King...
They called these the fat days. The latin “carnis” and “valles”, in short: pleasures of the flesh. And that says it all...
The Venice carnival comes at exactly the same time. We, took the carnival to our colonies... and it was already in the XVII century that arrived in Brazil.
Later, masquerade balls appeared during the Reign of King João IV, but it was only in 1830 that everyone was allowed to participate. Samba, appeared only at the beginning of the 19th century.
In Lisbon, Carnival was also celebrated with a great parade. In this photo you can see this parade on Rua Garrett, the continuation of the street would lead to Armazéns do Chiado. The image mirrors the life in those houses…the balconies looked like they were going to explode with so many people…but those were the residents of those houses.
But it is in the city of Torres Vedras, 45 km north of Lisbon, that Carnival is different.
Starting with the King of Carnival, that in 1923 arrived by train ... the Queen only arrives in the following year but...but be careful and be amazed... the Queen, is in fact a man!!!
Here, in Torres Vedras, there is a tradition of men dressing up as women. As it was a region where not everyone had the means to make a very pompous carnival costume and at the level of the circumstance, they used their wives' old clothes and used cards to cover them in their faces. And poof… Matrafonas appeared. Something that only exists here, in Torres Vedras.
And nowadays there is already Samba da Matrafona ...
For obvious reasons this year, there will be no Carnival. Here is an idea of the Torres Vedras Carnival in 2020.
This beautiful convent is located in the village of Varatojo, in the municipality of Torres Vedras. It was built in 1474 and this was the only building ordered by King D. Afonso V.
But let's go to his history in this convent…
Inside, there is a small entrance with a staircase with beautifuul tiles that at the time of the Implementation of the Portuguese Republic (in 1910) the crowd try to stung the tiles when they wanted to enter inside the convent by force. But without any success because they were stopped by a large iron gates that protected everything and everyone inside.
Currently, we can enter here, but we have to ask for it… there is a rope with a bell that alerts the friar who is standing at the door. The bell makes Blem… blem… blom…And there comes the friar, dressed in his brown cloak, to welcome visitors.
Inside are cloisters with a garden in the middle, a small stream that winds the entire garden with golden fish… During the feast of Saint Antonio in June, there is usually a carpet made of flowers. In fact, throughout the convent - and, just during these festivities, there are countless rugs made of flowers. It is the people living there (in Varatojo) who do it. They walk from garden to garden, across fields, and hills picking flowers to make unique carpets there.
The chapel is covered with tiles that portrays the episodes in the life of Santo António. The gold of the altars contrasts with the blue of the tiles.
Hundreds of weddings, baptisms have been held there…Happy parties and celebrations… Realizations of love…No one would say…No one would say that it was there that King D. Afonso V took refuge…
King D. Afonso V who became known as the African due to his advances in North Africa, but also the unhappy, given his sad life story. He went through several vicissitudes throughout his life, loses his father at the age of 6 and ascends to the throne, but it is the mother who rule the country, later the mother is poisoned and it is Uncle D. Pedro who assumes the throne until this time. reaching 14 years old…He gets married, he widow...loses the battles in North Africa, asks King Louis XI of France for help and is deceived...
I have to say that I admire the nazarene women. They have always been women who worked hard but also, suffered a lot. They suffered from the cold while waiting for the boats on the beach, they suffered when there were shipwrecks, they suffered when their loved ones lost their lives at sea, when they were in great need at the time that wasn’t allowed to fish. Those were hard times… I had several fishermen in my family and, although I don't have origins in Nazaré, I understand everything that happened.
These women are known for their 7 skirts. And why 7 skirts? There are many theories. They say they are the 7 virtues, the 7 days of the week, the 7 colors of the rainbow. They say they are linked to the number of waves also called "set". They also say that the women had 7 skirts and that it helped count the waves of the sea, because they knew that when they finished counting them, the sea calmed down and the boat could dock and unload on the beach. They also say that the skirts had different lengths, some shorter, others longer, and these were to protect themselves from the cold when waiting for boats on the beach. They covered their heads and arms with the largest skirt, protecting themselves from the cold and the salt air
It is said that the ladies of the court when they visited the Sítio and went to the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Nazaré, they transmitted an idea of beauty that at the time was: round hip and thin waist, hence the number of skirts to taper the silhouette, the arms were covered with white lace. However, its important to say that not every day, is a day to wear 7 skirts. Everyday they wear 3 to 5 skirts, but on special days… it's great… they use 7!
It’s on festivity days that the richness of this tradition is seen. On party days they leave the house with their 7 skirts. They are: 2 white skirts, 3 colored skirts with lace, 1 pleated or blue chintz skirt with a black velvet bar and, finally, a satin apron embroidered with colors. They wear black varnish slippers, a cardigan with white lace sleeves, a black cape and a scarf on their heads, also called a “cachené”. The nazarena, it has to be big, so gold: threads, rings, bracelets, earrings, its a must have.
When I go to Sítio, curiously, I always like to eat some dried fruits, and… my dried fruit dealer is a cool Nazarene! She wears her fantastic 7 skirts every day… and she’s professional in taking pictures with those who visit that place!
Places with soul...
Hello and welcome to the With Soul Tours blog.
On the 31st December we began publishing our blog, on a day and in a year that is the end of something: the year of the pandemic.
We created this blog on the last day of a year of misfortune and sadness. A year in which many people died from a virus. A year that many more people became unemployed and helpless overnight. A year that made us stay away from our family and friends. A year that even a simple hug, a handshake, we were forbidden to do.
A year to forget, but at the same time a year to remind all of humanity how fragile and vulnerable we are in the face of something that we can't even see ...
A year that we were prevented from doing something but that we want to contribute so that in 2021 we can have the pleasure of doing it again: TRAVEL.
Travel: go back to seeing places where we've been. Want to know places where we have never been.
Traveling and creating memories again.
Travel and create sensations and feelings.
Missing the places we once had, the people we know, the customs and traditions ... Enjoying the life we didn't have in 2020.
It is for this purpose that With Soul Tours was created in 2020: to experience, live, taste, what Portugal has to offer. Our focus is on people, their customs, traditions, stories and experiences, which is the true essence of our company.
Come with us on this trip.
Come with us to visit Places with soul, with soul of people...