Mohammad Quinn


After leaving the beach called Matadoro we go up the slope to the main road and continue. We soon come to a leisure area , where we can take advantage of the machines installed by the local council and try to get into shape, whilst the youngsters go to the playground to have a go on the swings or use the slide. Next stop is São Sebastião`s beach, former outskirts of the town and location of small factories among them the fish cannery and the “Pirolito” factory, manufacturers of a well known local fizzy drink of either lemon or orange flavour. A little farther north there was a factory which produced fishing nets, all made by hand for the local fishing fleet. This place was also the site of the annual garlic fair or Saint James´s Fair on the 25 th of July each year. This fair has been greatly reduced and now only a few local producers turn up each year to sell their goods. Actually the area is a hugh parking lote with landscape gardens and a children`s playground. The area is above the beach , which is reached by way of a steep and narrow stairway. .

In the square you must visit the chapel, built in hexagonal form and the interior of which is completely covered with XVII th century tiles. There is a a festival each year on the 22nd of January, dedicated to São Sebastião and São Vicente.
We then go down to the beach of Algodio or North Beach, a very pleasant beach greatly appreciated by the summer holiday-makers. In the miradouro or view-point in the Fontainha square there was a small fountain that collected water from the Calvo stream and was used by the local people for domestic use.

We continue walking along the road that is followed by the procession in honour of our Lady of the Safe Journey in the summer. We then come to Ribeira beach also known as the fishermen`s beach, used by families with children, since it is protected from the the north winds. In December of 2010 a new sea wall was inaugarated to protect the fishing harbour and at the end of the wall a warning light was erected and a small tiled panel in honour of Our Lady of the Safe Journey was afixed beneath it.
“Our” boats arrive daily from the sea, bringing the good fish caught in their nets. The fish is taken to the auction shed where the fisherwomen and local restaurant owners bid for their fish. It is an interesting event to watch. Then of course if we want to eat the fish we need to go to the local fish market or better still sit down in one of our many excellent restaurants.

In my last post I promisrd to tell you some interesting stories about our beaches. Here I am keeping my promise and asking you to forgive the delay in writing.Let me start with São Lourenço: situated some 6 kms north of Ericeira in the parish of Santo Isidoro. A small but charming beach with white sand, although a little courser than the beaches to the south. However, it attracts many tourists seeking a peaceful setting..

At present it is included in the first european area of the worldwide Save the Waves surf sanctuaries. This area goes from the beach at Matadoro as far as the beach at São Lourenço and its inclusion in Save the Waves began in February of 2011.

Two interesting points distinguish this beach from the others in Ericeira: The Fort and the Outlet of the Safarugo into the sea. Santa Suzana Fort, also known as São Lourenço Fort, is still a historical mark at this beach. After independence from Spain in 1640 the fort was errected to protect the coastline from pirates. Recently and until a few years ago it served as a post for the customs and excise authorities, who tried to prevent the entrance of contraband.

The spring of the Safaruga brook is in the Royal Tapada of Mafra ( the former royal hunting grounds) and it winds its way down to the coast. It is in the sea at the beach of São Lourenço that it finally comes to rest giving a considerable beauty to the area.

From the view-point we had a few special moments watching the men playing malhada( a type of quoits), surfers catching their waves and line fishermen.
I still remember grannie Nazaré and her sister, carrying their buckets, walking down the narrow track that goes from the bandstand to the beach. They also carried small sticks which they poked into gaps in the rocks in attempts to find octopus. Of course people still do it today, but 50 years ago it was different. If they had a good catch they would go to the surrounding villages and exchange the octopus for potatoes, beans and many other food stuffs. The local economy still used bartering.