Near Olhão, Portugal – May 15, 2017
“I like this town,” Daya says as we walk through Olhão’s maze of streets.
There are no clean-cut condos or big hotels crowding for ocean views. There aren’t streets of dance halls and touts beckoning. No signs proclaim “English Breakfast” and display menus in five different languages. I hear only Portugese on the streets. Buildings look old, like they were painted twenty years ago and left to age.
There is no grand cathedral, no cliffs or caves, no powder-sand beach. I don’t see a palace or castle rising from any hill. No saint’s bones are here to be worshiped and grant wishes. Gaudi did not design the buildings. No Michaelangelo or Raphael hangs from a museum wall.
It’s just a fishing village grown up to a city. It’s a sardine manufacturer’s headquarters. It’s a place where people live year round and working boats outnumber sun-cooked tourist at least 10 to 1. More than anything, it’s a place that feels like it could care less about us passing through.
I like it too.