When I started collecting images for this post, my initial thought was to have an assortment of “Nazaré” photos—doors, windows, streets, looking down on the town from up on the cliffs, etc.—but I rapidly decided I really had too much material to fit that much in a single post. Today’s problem will be a benefit later in the year when I am putting together a book about this trip, but this blog is not a book! So, I decided to narrow down to one of my (obvious) favorite subjects: windows.
Even so, I had a lot of material to work with. In the end, I also decided to try to have an even balance between “nice” windows and dilapidated ones, even though I especially love the latter. While it is true that I don’t want to give the town a bad rap, it is especially true that I don’t want to give my wife the impression that the place is a disaster area or I will never convince her to visit! Accordingly, we will start with three nice windows.
I really like the image above: the simple color palette, the hanging towel at an angle, the vertical conduit along the right edge, the little colored clothespins…it is not a busy or complex image, but there are a fair number of things working together here. I am counting this in the “nice” window category, although there are few signs of the glorious dilapidation that will eventually come: a little peeling paint and the misaligned blinds. The hanging laundry is certainly not what one would consider upscale, but was very common. I assume that trying to retrofit dryers (and dryer vents) into older buildings would not be easy and, given the benign climate, the need is not compelling. I thought the hanging laundry, in general, added a lot of color and character to the dwellings.
This next window was just a short distance down from our hotel. Fortunately, it faced an open square and I was able to back up enough to get a nice angle despite it being on the second floor. (If it had been in a narrow alley that would have been tragic.) The character in this image comes from the blue bathmat (such perfect colors with the green wall!) and the long lacy curtain. I love the way the curtains are hanging out the window and break the otherwise perfect symmetry.
The following image also features some lacy curtains, although these are inside. I am glad that this single shutter was open—the picture is so much better than it would have been with them both closed or both open. One simple thing I like is way the shutter slats on the right pick up the reflection of the sky but the ones on the left do not. Unfortunately, from now on I am going to be forever tempted to mess with people’s shutters if they are not positioned the way I want them.
Having featured three nice windows, now we can switch our attention to more neglected ones. This next image, like the first one above, shows one end of a clothesline, although this one is sans clothes. There is a definite light-and-warm to dim-and-cool gradient going from the top left towards the bottom right that is a result of the way the sunlight is bouncing off of other buildings along this narrow street. I will have to decide if it is too strong, since it tends to pull the eye up towards that corner, but the fact that the light isn’t totally flat and uniform is nice. I also like the diagonal that is formed by the large tan patches in the upper right and lower left. Interestingly (and puzzlingly) the paint is in much better shape above that diagonal than below, which is weird.
This next window definitely looks a little tired, an impression aided by the sagging cable, but nothing that couldn’t be remedied with a power-wash and a paint job. The external wiring is a very common feature on these buildings, and I suppose that is also a consequence of the age of the buildings and the ease of upgrading. As I often do, I used the pipe on the right as a vertical feature to anchor one side of the image. I also managed to anchor the top (with the cable and the trim detail) and the bottom (with the dark painted area). Fortunately, the steeply angled cable in the top left helps anchor the left edge so that it does not just feel open on that side. Also, that bit of cable mirrors the angle of the brown paint in the bottom right; together, they bracket the window diagonally. The overall impression is that the window has its own frame and, in turn, is framed by the rest of the scene.
This next building is definitely in the worst shape of those shown here (although there are definitely examples that are worse still—they just featured doors rather than windows and so weren’t candidates for this post). The exposed brick really provides the focal point in this image, in large part because it is the most vibrant color in the scene. Clearly, fixing up this structure goes beyond a simple paint job.
I hope you enjoyed this vicarious tour through the narrow streets of Nazaré. Five of these images (all but the green one with the curtain hanging out of the window) were taken in a half-hour span when I walked up and down a few parallel streets. There was so much more to explore and undoubtedly many more images to be made, but I consider it to have been a very fruitful use of a little window (ouch!) of spare time. One of the reasons I had the spare time was because I decided to just grab lunch during my walk at a little market. The older couple that ran (and presumably owned) the shop were very friendly and kind, but the lunch itself was some kind of meat-stuffed roll that was as tough as tire rubber. I should have known not to get something that needed to be warmed in the microwave, but I was hungry and it was cheap and portable. And since I didn’t end up with a bad case of TMJ, no real harm done. And it made an old couple happy.
Well, my goal for the year was to do one post every week, and with today’s post, I have officially succeeded. Tomorrow (New Year’s Eve) I am going to take some time and figure out what my 2024 goals will entail. I have a lot of ideas, but don’t want to be overambitious given my time constraints. All of you who follow my adventures have my sincerest thanks (especially if you leave comments!) and I hope you all have a wonderful 2024!
Next week we will leave town and head back to the shoreline.