haikai

Portugal Travel Notes #8 (7/12/18)

The homes in Vilaranda look as worn as ever. Weathered stone, fatigued tile: the mountain village where Mira grew up reflects the aging of its remaining residents.

homecoming

once-new cobblestones

now old

img_1981

Somewhere in Vilaranda

We park on off the cobblestone road that runs through the village. Anna, one of Mira’s three deaf-mute cousins, is among the first to greet Mira. Her teary-eyed gestures of excitement, quickly bring tears to Mira’s own eyes. Soon, Anna’s brothers, Joe and Flavio, also greet us. It’s almost more than the bride can bear.

reunion

Anna’s hand held

at waist high

A lunch of proscuit, bread, cheese, fruit, chestnuts and wine at her Tia Alite’s home. A stroll down the road her cousin John just drove a herd of cattle down. A view of someone’s fields, and the surrounding mountains.

table wine

the pride a man takes

in his garden

img_1994

Mira’s cousins’ home

Maria do Carma wants to go, but Mira won’t leave before she sees her family home. No one has been inside since her parents died sixteen years ago. The roof over the new wing, which held the bathroom, caved in. The rest of the house stands, but cobwebs and dust lay everywhere. Mira almost cries at the sight. Since her sister forgot the key, Mira asks Frankie to enter the house through an unlocked window.  I almost tear up myself as I see the photos of the interior.

old house

still managing to stand

summer day

img_2011

My In-laws’ bedroom dresser

The cousins return to wish us goodbye. More eyes glisten with fresh tears.

lost in memories

Vilaranda fading

in our rear view

img_1996

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3 replies »

  1. The Portuguese are a people of emigration. We have around 1.5 million French of Portuguese origin. ‘Portuguese’ is synonymous with ‘worker’. It’s such a shame when people have to leave their homes through poverty.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly. They came in their droves because of Salazar. For many the dream was to go back and it’s a standing joke about the Portuguese builder who’s building a mansion back in Portugal that makes the other villagers green with envy.

        Liked by 1 person

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