The Berlengas Forte Da São João Baptista
After finishing writng my yesterdays posts in the Danau Baleal Beach bar, I started talking to one guy, who was sitting by the table next to me and also working on the computer. We “met” earlier, as we were looking after each-others computers, when the need for toilet came along. 😉
Anyway, I started talking with this guy Pedro, and guess what Pedro is doing? He is offering personalized trips to Berlenga Islands. We were both really amazed about the fact, that I just wrote in my blog: “One day, when the right wave of feelings will come around, I Must go there.” I guess my swell of thoughts interacted with his waving mind. Really, it felt like some kind of destiny.
What’s more, this morning I came in this same bar, order coffee and started writing this post. The music here is really nice, mostly reagee rythms. And as my favorite song from Bob Marley- One drop (because of this song, that I named my company Kapljica; english: drop), came on the radio, I feel one touch on my shoulder. That’s right it was Pedro. We spent some nice time talking about the Berlenga Islands trip, while smoking something strong with another French surfer, living the van life. And we agreed to take the trip one, right day in the future. It might happen soon as the swell and wind conditions in these days are really crapy. But we need to see how the flow will go. Pedro said: “In life; be like the watter – flexible, but powerfull”. I couldn’t agree more… “feel it in the one drop” – Bob Marley.
He was also telling me about some non-profit organization called Associação dos Amigos da Berlenga or AAB (english: Asociation of friends of the Berlenga Islands). They are doing volunteer work at the Islands. The associatin roots in the year 1976, after the Carnation revolution ( Portuguese: Revolução dos Cravos ). The Leader of the regime, which came down a year earlier, turned the Fort at the Berlenga Islands to a 5-star hotel for him and his friends. During this resistance, the majority of people who had nothing under the hard regime, destroyed a lot of properties of the few people who had everything in that time, including this 5-star hotel at the Berlengas.
In the begining of the AAB, some people from Peniche, who fell in love with this place, started to do renovations on the Fort by themelves. After the govorment of Portugal realized, the good work they were doing on the historic monument of national importance, they decided to make them the “key-keepers” of this place.
As Pedro, was saying, today the “key-keepers” are passing on this tradition, over more than 2 generations already. And the now, it is possible to sleep in this hotel and spend time in the Berlengas, but you can not pay for it. The only way you can spend some nights there is to do the volunteer work for the renovation of this place. He said: “People from allover Europe come to Portugal for holidays, and people from Peniche go to Berlengas” (it’s a 15 minute boat drive from Peniche). It’s a really amazing story, the one that creating a really pleasant flow of feeling in the body, and now while writing this i have some wattering eyes. Pleasantly ofcourse. 😉
This story really touched me deeply. I decided today, that one time I will do something for the good of the Forte de Berlenga. Now I have a good chance, as the wife of Pedro is a grand-grand doughter of one of the first “key-keepers” of the Fort. Yes, it was ment for us with Pedro to meet.
I generaly do not like sleeping in the indoor places while traveling, especialy I hate hotels. But this place, I feel it’s trully magical… and the idea, that not just everyone can go there, and you can’t buy it regulary – you have to work for it, LOVE IT. (note: for staying you still pay for the food and costs; but it’s 30eur/per night in a 5-star luxury hotel)
And now, the waves still are crapy, so now I have to make one paddle training sesion, to be ready for the swells to come and to reconnect with this endless ocean I call home.