Country Guide Portugal | Work Style Magazine

April 2012

An article by Thrasy Petropoulos, illustrated with one chronicle by Raul Pereira and photographs by Paulo Alegria from the Covo’s Men project, published on the italian Work Style Magazine #9 on April 2012.

I remember the joy of seeing my father entering the great river’s estuary after a seafaring of four or five months. The very old and rusty ship built in 1939 would enter slowly up the stream and, behind it, on the opposite margin, emerging through the mist, I would see pure beauty taking the form of a city. It’s remarkable I can still remember those moments in these terms, considering I was just four or five years old; but I swear it’s true.
Many times I have asked how many places on Earth can make an impression like that on a native child as Viana do Castelo does. I bet one can count them on the fingers of one hand. Bear in mind that happy as I was to give my father a ten minute hug washed in tears, I was even more happy because the scenario was just too damn perfect for the occasion: the greatness of the Atlantic, as it lashes the dark rocks on the beach, the river Lima finally finding its way to freedom, and a mountain crowned by a neo-byzantine monument with a medieval town at its feet, makes me wonder if all the suffering at Neptune’s hands is not something we should endure as a punishment to have defiled such a powerful place.
Suddenly one day, my friend Paulo decides to face the revolving sea and invites himself aboard a trawler with no proved sailing skills whatsoever. Hell, I know he can’t even swim! But I also knew he lived in the city long enough to heard about the unfortunate sinkings of fishermen’s boats once or twice. That’s just how he is when he puts his mind to something. In the end, none of this matters to him, he confesses that he never thinks of danger and argues that war photography must be incredibly worse!
No fear. That’s why he apprehended what those octopuses being trapped and lifted out from the bottom of the continental shelf were trying to say: once outside their habitat, they may arise to their certain deaths, but maybe for just a second, they can have a glimpse of some of the most amazing things man can do, absolute beauty engraved in a perfect landscape, and that’s something worthwhile.

(Raul Pereira)