Stripping down… Cabedelo

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I’m still shooting for Inatel, a campaign and a book to celebrate its 75 years. This time the plan is to visit Cabedelo’s camping park.

As a wanderluster and motorbike lover I prefer to ride my motorbike as often as possible, and this project has given me the perfect opportunity to scout Portugal on my bike! And Portugal has a very diverse landscape, from beautiful coastal roads, beautiful national roads (and motorways) crossing the mountains, interior roads cutting its way through old villages… 

I choose to take the coastal road to Cabedelo. It’s going to take me longer to get there, but it’s well worth the ride! Spring time, it’s normal to get a couple of showers now and again, but the temperature is ideal to ride and the sent of the atlantic, mixed with the sent of nature, trees and flowers blooming is priceless.

I arrive Cabedelo in the afternoon. Set your tent and your beach house is ready! 25 acres of trees by the beach, ideal for nature lovers and water sports fans.

The park has all sorts of facilities, including a mini-market, a bar, a sports camp, launderette, etc.

The far north west of Portugal is an area of the country that I’m very fond of as I spent part of my childhood near Valença do Minho, roughly 50 kilometres from Cabedelo. Precious memories of a rural country that I have seen changing over the past 40 years. Small villages grew, some even became cities… borders opened, one lane cobblestone roads are now paved roads, the sounds of the metal wheels of ox carts on the cobblestone roads were replaced by modern cars with their horns. Yes, I know it’s part of development, but at what cost? Maybe one day we’ll all have to go back to the origins… or technology and environment awareness have us replace the petrol vehicles for electric ones. Who knows?

Back at the camping. Not many people camping this time of the year, nevertheless there were a few camping vans and trailers in the park. Most of them had satellite dishes – which I must confess came as a surprise. From one of the trailers came the metallic sounds of a tv, competing with the buzzing of silence.

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I stroll around the park until late afternoon. The sun starts setting and I decide to shoot on the beach. The park is fenced and there’s a door that opens to a 50 meters corridor made of wood that cuts through a dense bush and tall trees that go all the way from the camping to the beach. Because the trees block the sunlight, the corridor is pretty dark. Walk towards the light… and the beach opens in all its splendour! And what a beautiful surprise! I am alone with the waves, a few small dunes, a long extension of sand, a beautiful sky, the sun hiding behind the horizon.

I follow a trail of footprints along the beach but I can’t find anybody. The waves have erased the footprints. It is all so dreamy!

It must be going on 20h00, time to head back to the camping. The wooden corridor is now almost pitch-black. When I reach the fence I realise that the door is locked. And it is pretty high to jump with my backpack and tripod. There’s nobody to be seen. I decide to walk along the fence as I hope it can take me to the main entrance. As I start walking I see a girl. I call her and ask for her help. Yes, the guard locks the door at 19h00 – she says. There’s not many people now so he sometimes locks it even earlier. Let me go get the keys.

After she opened the door she invites me to her tent and meet her parents. She must have been 14 and the parents not much older than me. A very nice family. They own a very big tent and a nice dog and they have been living there for the past 3 years. For the time being the dad is working nearby – probably on construction. Let us see what the future brings, the mother says.

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I thank them for their hospitality and I head off.

I’m 2 km from Viana do Castelo, where I’m planning to have dinner and, who knows, take some pictures.

Tomorrow’s another day. And I am very grateful for today!

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