Praia (beach) shell-shaped bay in Sao Martinho do Porto, the town my friends reside.

Sit under the blue skies with the warm white sand under your feet. The sands of Sao Martinho do Porto, the perfect place for peace and harmony.

Sure way to get a tan!

This coastline town is where my longtime Portuguese friends of forty-five years happen to spend their summers  with their family. My last visit in 1988 was to do design work with Gigi on her new apartment.

Tall buildings are the apartments.  In 1988 there was only one tower.

This visit, my third, I finally got to see the finished product.

Left to right: Lili, Gail, Gigi on the balcony of Gigi’s apartment overlooking the Bay.

Tents, blue and white striped, all connected.

This also was a chance to hug the family, and speak a little Portuguese. (Eu falar um pouco). Whenever I see Gigi’s mom, her sisters and cousins, I learn more. I like to speak the language. It is phonetic, and you really have to roll the “r”.

From the balcony you can enjoy the vista.

Blue and white tents on the beach with beach houses in the cliffs

Once a sleepy fishing village, Sao Martinho is now a favorite summer resort of the Portuguese and the bay is surely one of the most beautiful in Portugal.

Tents in red, orange and purple. The more traditional are the blue and white. But these are colorful on the beach. Gigi says, where you see the tents, you do not see umbrellas. They have separate sections. 24×30 oil on linen

The origins of the village date back to 1257. It was later famous for its ship building activities in the 16th Century during the times of the Great Portuguese navigators, but the real heyday of the village, as a resort, was during the fifty year span of 1880-1930.

Rooftops in Sao Martinho

Nestling between the modern buildings on the seafront there are still some of the original villas.

On the road out of Sao Martinho and near the Post Office stands the splendid old

Hotel Parque

Hotel Parque, now closed. It was also once a family home. In 1988 I had a room at the hotel. It was wonderful. There were two tennis courts. The clay is long gone, only to see the grown grasses bending in the breezes. The bar, once a popular gathering place in town, is disguised by overgrown foliage and trees.

Cafe’s everywhere, in yellow, in red, in many colors, between the cliffs and the sands.

Not far from here is a busy

Vegetable and fruit market in town center S.Martinho

little fruit and vegetable market and there are always restaurants, bars and cafes to be found.

Grilled sardines, a popular fair in Portugal. Gigi showed us how to skin and debone. it is tricky, but worth it. Fresh sardines, tastes like, well,  chicken, it’s delicious, especially if you like chicken. The guys are the three brother-in-laws.

Sundown in S. Martinho

Beach walkers at sundown S. Martinho

 

There is still so much more to talk about. I will, next week. Will you come with me? Have you guessed what makes the magic in Portugal? Tell me what you think.

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