Details in Nazaré

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Nazare, Portugal

Details in Nazaré Nazare Reviews

AvelinoL AvelinoL
75 reviews
Looking around Jun 17, 2015
Enjoy the beach

It's a pity, the low temperature of the water, because the beach is really appealing.

The sand is white, thin and soft, the surf is regular, the landscape marvels, protecting against the winds. And before June, when the beach is still free from the summer barracks, the sense of freedom is total.

I remember, about 50 years ago, to check the water temperature, usually from 12(!) to 15 degrees Celsius. Nowadays, 18 is common, and recently reached 21. What is happening to this world?

Low tides in Nazaré are a gorgeous time of freedom and imagination for kids, that are kept away from the water during the high tide, due to the regular surf.

The thin, white and clean sand becomes a kids park, where, sometimes, the water comes gently to test the strength of their buildings, until the final flooding (and laughing bath).

At sunset the colors get warmer and invite all the amateur photographers. One of the unbeatable pleasures of Nazaré is, when low tide happens by sunset, a walk up and down the beach.

The colors, the sounds and the smells of the sea, when the agitation and noise of the crowds are leaving, is relaxing and a good end of the day.

Some other prefer the early morning... not for me!

Beach sports

The surf is usually strong but the thousands of dwellers "send" surfers away to less populated areas like Baleal or Peniche. Anyway, a few people keep practicing surf and windsurf, specially out of peak season.

And, remember, this is the place where McNamara surfed the biggest waves in the world

Saint Anthony chapel

Centrally located and facing the beach, this chapel was built by the fishermen 150 ago. It is used as the best alternative place to religious ceremonies, though, in summer, it becomes too small.

The only interesting detail is the facade, all in tiles, and with a panel representing the saint.

Pederneira

For many, many years I didn't go up to Pederneira. When I did recently, I was surprised by the excellent recovering work that has been done there.

Once the main population centre of Nazaré, this quarter keeps all the ambiance of the past, and it is a good walking trip to combine with the use of the beach.

Today, it's a pleasure to visit Pederneira, the old quarters atop the southern hills.

Great recovering works embellished the area, and now the views over the beach are not any more the only reason to go there. The square by the sightseeing point is dominated by Misericórdia church, a mannerist small temple with tiles from the 16th century and gilded altars.

Going a little further we have Salgado

Not far from town, going south to Famalicão, another access leads to the sea, to a place called Salgado.

Dangerous to swim, it is a good place to sunbath far from the crowds, and it allows good sights.

A few months ago an English tourist died in the waves! Be careful, the sea is tricky

Lagoa do ValadoFor a picnic, about 6 Km far from the beach, but nested in the pine forest, the lagoon of Valado de Frades is very attractive.

Don't risk to swim, and leave before dusk, otherwise you will be "eaten" by the mosquitoes.

São Gião

South of Nazaré a sign indicates this Visigoth church from the 7th century, and very ruined after a long use as... hayloft. Unless you like to see wonderful cabbages... don't go, yet.

The ruined church is being recuperated, it is covered by a metallic structure, and, after a very bad path, the access is blocked.

Wait for the reopening!

But the best of Nazaré is the people.

Tradition is fading in Nazaré, but, if you look carefully, it's still present, specially in the old people.

That happens because the fading is the result of the new opportunities of live, not for loosing respect and the love of that tradition.

Nazaré is struggling to preserve its unique culture, and, I appreciate that effort, though, sometimes, we easily understand that they are only performing for visitors.

Peixeira

The traditional social organization of Nazaré reserves to women a fundamental role: while the men are at the sea, women rule life, taking care not only of the house - traditional woman's role - but also of business.

The "peixeira" (fishing seller) became not only a profession, but a status. And it's really funny to appreciate the "peixeira"'s independence and strength in everything, even in games.

Things are fading, but when holidays provide free time, the happiness of their meeting with the roots is a special show.

Fondest memory: Celestino Graça was a great man from Santarém. He launched a big event, that keeps celebrating his memory many years after his death - The National Agriculture Exhibition.

One of the highlights (for those who know nothing about agriculture as me) was the International Folklore Festival, gathering groups from all the world, sometimes with great disputes with the dictatorship controls. I had the opportunity to cooperate with his organization, and to know him from short distance.

One day, we were in Caldas da Rainha in a performance with some groups that we took there from Santarém, when the director of Nazaré's best group - Tá-mar - also performing, anounced the premiere of Nazaré's 9th dance.

(A parenthesis to explain that Nazaré had a very interesting folklore, absolutely different from any other in Portugal, but composed by only 8 dances - 7 "viras" and a "corridinho", what stops local groups from performing more than 15 minutes).

The dance started, and immediately, from the audience, a voice sounded, loud and clearly:

"Stop... no... this is outrageous... no... no... out!"

It was Mr Graça.

I approached him, trying to calm him down, and asking him what happened.

Still furious, he pointed the dancers and continued:

"Don't you see? He putted the women dancing backwards! This is an outrage! The woman of Nazaré is the only in Portugal that always dances forward. The woman of Nazaré never recedes before man! She puts the fish upon her head and runs to Alcobaça, Valado, Caldas da Rainha, anywhere, to sell it. "Peixeira's life is lived forward, the dance always respected it, and that must preserved."

Many years later I saw Tá-mar performing, curious to see if they kept that 9th dance or not.

Well... they did! But the women danced forward. Mr Afonso (the director) also respected Mr Graça, and also learned with him!

Carnival

It used to be typical, the Carnival in Nazaré. The people is joyful and exuberant, and imagination and humor flow with the "cegadas", small groups that perform in the streets, with texts and improvisation criticizing local figures and themes.

Not lately, however...

The carnival became a parade like any other, with some investment but sometimes without the spontaneity that was its landmark. I didn't like my last Carnival in Nazaré - Imagination was absent, and the only remarkable group was a large collection of small girls representing Marilyn Monroe, in a fresh and colorful scene.
Nazaré at dusk
Santo António chapel
Traditional games
Traditional games
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