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Monday, October 25, 2004

The Arrabida

Life is so hectic and I'm really missing my BTT (cross-country cycling). Here is José Saramago's description of our view when we cycle the Serra. It comes in his book Journey to Portugal (English translation 2002, The Harvill Press). Saramago, of course, wasn't referring to cycling - but the view is the same.
"...when from the top of the road he spies the immense sea in the distance, and the white strip that is beating inaudibly at the foot of the cliffs, when in spite of the distance the sea is so tranparent he can see the sand and the pebbles, the traveller reflects that it would take sublime music to express what the eyes simply see. Or perhaps not even music: possibly only silence, not a single sound or wrod or painting: simply, in the end, the miracle of sight: I praise you and thank you, eyes of mine." (p. 352)

For those people who know and love Sintra, listen to Saramago's comparison between Sintra and the Arrábida:
"... whereas Sintra is feminine, this sierra is masculine. And if Sintra is paradise before original sin, Arrábida is the same but even more so. Here, Adam and Eve have already met, and the moment it eternalises is the one just before the thunderbolt from God and the dire warning from the angel. The animal of temptation, which in the Bible is the snake, in Sintra is the eel, and here is the wolf." (p. 352)

So that gives you an idea of what we see breathe and feel when we cycle the Arrábida :-)