Living Figueira 12 months a year

Nuno Camarneiro



Figueira da Foz Is Me

The exercise is more difficult than I anticipated – How do I feel about Figueira da Foz? I said yes, but I already regretted it, because talking about Figueira is not for me the same as talking about Coimbra, where I studied, or Florence, or Lisbon or Aveiro, cities where I also passed through. I still haven’t left Figueira, because I feel part of it and I feel it’s part of me, and there’s nothing more difficult than talking about something you can’t distance yourself from.

They say that happy childhoods can spoil adulthood, because expectations get so high that it’s hard to escape disappointment. Growing up in Figueira is perhaps similar, because no other city will ever be as beautiful (even if it is, or even more so), nor as free, nor as full of sky and sea. Perhaps the childhoods and youths spent in Figueira are responsible for there being so many artists,
Figueiran writers and creators, perhaps they are looking for something they have not found again, perhaps the disproportionate horizon, or the frenetic summer followed by a depressed winter, perhaps.

The town was small, but it had cosmopolitan luxuries such as a casino, an international film festival, a record store where novelties from Manchester or Rio de Janeiro arrived, one of the best discos in the country, the largest beach and the best ice cream parlor. The town was small, but the ideas were big and the culture fed them constantly. We were the size of what we saw, with nothing to rob us of our physical or other imagined horizons. It was and is a city of light, of space, of wandering and silence, dedicated to contemplation and reverie, to celebration and recollection.

I return whenever I can, I have family in Figueira, I have a house, I have many friends and I have places that I visit on a via-sacra of memory, where I make my profane prayers, recover memories and awaken in me the figueirense that I never stopped being. I discover in those moments, as if it were possible to forget, that I am Figueira and that Figueira is me, sometimes fragile like Cape Mondego, sometimes serene like the salt flats, haughty like Boa Viagem, angry like the ocean, luminous like the beach or sad like it.

I return to the question and jump from ideas to the body, because the streets of the city are veins, tendons and bones, I know their smell like my skin, the light like the reflection returned to me by the mirror. They ask and then I answer – How do I feel Figueira da Foz? For how I feel about myself.



Buarcos Beach

The large bay between Cape Mondego and the mouth of the river draws a charming curve, reminiscent of the most laughing and sweet gulfs of the Mediterranean.

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Fort of Santa Catarina

The Fort of Santa Catarina was built on the foundations of a fortification existing since the reign of D. João I (1385-1433). In October 1585 some good men from the Coimbra City Council petitioned Philip I of Portugal (1580-1598) for the construction of the Fort, with a view to defending Figueira da Foz from enemy entry through the mouth of the River Mondego.

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Nuno Camarneiro