Consulting our various vaguely useful maps there appears to be another narrow peninsular just asking to be explored. It has to be worth a look, the Atlantic on one side and the Sado Estuary on the other. My brother told me there is a well known (to geeky marine biologists types) dolphin population in the estuary also. Ooh fast moving marine mammals! This means I can stand on a headland for 3.5 minutes with my telephoto lens, scan the horizon, then like most 5 year olds, get bored and move onto something else.
On the way to spending 3.5 minutes on a headland, we made a right turn Hans (it’s another film reference, do keep up). In the last campsite I’d seen some mounted photos of Carrasqueira in their “WeeFee” room. I have to see this! Carrasqueira village is unremarkable save for a few remanent thatched houses. These buildings have not only thatched roofs, but thatched walls. Oh, and horizontal planks of timber painted white to make it all stripy. Sort of medieval with a wacky Portuguese twist.
The fishing “port” is a wonderful piece of architecture by the people, for the people. A glorious random mess of posts sunk into the mud with planks for walk-ways. There are little storage huts along the way with the path skirting around and on to the next jetty. It’s rustic, un-designed and very beautiful. You couldn’t design something like this. You wouldn’t be allowed to design something like this. And that’s the other refreshing thing about this type of structure – no health and safety! If you don’t think it’s safe to walk on, don’t. If you fall off and break your leg, sue yourself for being a plonker in command of a body. Rather than complaining to the council (who are probably busy cleaning up dog poo) if a fisherman notices a rotten plank, I’m sure he just grabs a hammer and fixes it.
I am wary of putting design into the hands of ordinary people so am doubly impressed at the beauty of this structure. Perhaps this works aesthetically because it’s not trying to look beautiful, it is a functional object. A tool for earning a living. On reflection, I think it’s the styling side of design that shouldn’t be given to the people. OK, call me a snob, but look what happens when the public are given the freedom to add their personal touch to already designed items or spaces: flying ducks on walls, garden gnomes, flashing LED butterflies and stupid little cardboard cut-outs made to look like road signs saying things like “baby on board”. If it wasn’t already obvious, these people are advertising the fact that they are a different species from the people who created the SR71 Blackbird, the Citroën DS and the fishing port at Carrasqueira.