It has been a long, long time. The powerful memories your sense of smell can evoke. Being based in Southern Spain, the smell of fresh mown lawns is a very rare thing away from the Costas, and British ex-pat resorts. As a child I suffered horribly from hay fever, however that doesn't seem to have affected my fond memories of summer growing up on the Welsh borders of England. Very nice smells here.
Equally, in Madrid a couple of weeks ago, I was reminded of things associated with 'dead space'. The absolute base smell of lifelessness. Not even the bacterial stench of rot - just dry dust and nothingness. Underground car parks in summer. Metro systems. Long road tunnels. Perhaps an occasional hint of spent oil, but nothing more. Yet, that smell holds a promise of the chaotic life on the sunlit streets above. It is a smell full of latent excitement.
Here in Santa Maria da Feira the smell is clean, freash and very organic. A very pretty little town centre recently restored. A new hotel opened just a few months ago. The place is full of interesting buildings; old and new. Two huge churches and many, many funky and contemporary bars. The place has a bit of a sophisticated air about it. It also has a turreted castle and an annual medieval festival. I am told there is even a Buddhist temple close by.
The town is surrounded by beautiful parkland and countryside. It is a very nice place. All of which makes me wonder where all the tourists are. So close to Porto and the coast. If I was driving around the North of Portugal, this would be a perfect base. I imagine the place is chocker blocked during the fayre, but in mid July it is as peaceful as.
Everyone in Portugal has been extremely friendly. This makes a huge difference to a visit. Thank you to both who bought sketches!
I have harvested goodies to cook. More tomorrow. I need to work now. I call it 'work', but you know...