AZUL MARINO
 
miércoles 01|07|2015

La Costa Azul más portuguesa

Texto y fotografías: Ana Bustabad Alonso 

"Llegar a la Costa Azul portuguesa es llegar a una región de colores, sabores, luz, paisajes y emociones difíciles de describir o de explicar". Así la definen los que la aman, y así la comprueban los que la visitan.

Vista de la Costa Azul

Apenas media hora por autopista sobre el estuario del Tajo separa el aeropuerto de Lisboa de Setúbal, capital de la Costa Azul portuguesa. Atravesando los catorce kilómetros del imponente Vasco de Gama, con sus farolas inclinadas para no perturbar a los peces; entre flamencos y salinas, llegamos a Setúbal.

En el mismo centro se encuentra la Oficina de Turismo (Travessa de Erei Gaspar, 10), sobre una antigua fábrica de salazón donde los romanos preparaban hace dos mil años el cotizado garum que transportaban en ánforas hasta las más lujosas mansiones de la capital del Imperio. La rehabilitación del edificio, con suelos transparentes, permite adivinar su origen.

El primer paseo nos descubre una ciudad de tradición marítima, que llegó a tener una pujante industria de hasta cien fábricas de salazones y hoy mantiene solamente los astilleros que asoman al río Sado. Sus calles sugieren el esplendor decadente de siglos pasados, con edificios color pastel entre árboles jóvenes y macroesculturas de nuevo cuño.

La villa recuerda agradecida a sus figuras ilustres: su avenida principal lleva el nombre de la cantante de ópera Luiza Todi, y el gran poeta Bocage, del que hace poco se celebró el segundo centenario de su muerte, da nombre al "corazón de Setúbal", una plaza coqueta en pleno centro.  Muy cerca del puerto, merece la pena entrar un momento en el Mercado do Livramento, que con su rosa desvaído recuerda tiempos mejores.

El origen pesquero de la ciudad queda perfectamente reflejado en el Barrio de San Domingo, laberinto adoquinado de cuestas estrechas y luminosas. Por fin, la mejor vista de la ciudad es la que se obtiene desde el Castillo de San Filipe, hoy Pousada de Portugal.

Pero la Costa Azul es mucho más. Esta región bañada por el Atlántico, y a la vez curiosamente mediterránea, comprende trece municipios diferentes y cuenta con cuatro áreas protegidas, un notable patrimonio histórico y un atractivo difícil de superar.

Contrastando con el azul, pinos y arbustos disputan espacio al omnipresente alcornoque. Árbol que mandó plantar de norte a sur el dictador Salazar, y del que hoy Portugal ostenta el 55% de la producción mundial.

Los alrededores de Setúbal esconden numerosas alternativas. Muy cerca, la comarca de Azeitao, famosa por sus quesos fuertes de oveja y sus vinos. Aunque la fama se la lleva el moscatel, en la Costa Azul abundan los buenos blancos y tintos.

Uno de los lugares más curiosos que se puede visitar son las Bodegas J.P., en las que, según los lugareños, "se puede ver de todo, incluso vino". Su propietario, el Comendador Joe Berardo, ha tratado el vino como un arte más, y lo ha rodeado de una de las más importantes colecciones de arte moderno.

Integrada en un espacio en el que conviven un jardín japonés, un enorme lago con animales y plantas aromáticas de todo el mundo con hectáreas de viñas perfectamente alineadas, la bodega es un diseño del arquitecto Antonio Avilez. Proyectado inicialmente para Reader Digest, su estructura metálica alberga una valiosa colección de azulejos portugueses de los siglos XV al XX.

Flanqueado por barricas y obras escultóricas se encuentra la joya de la bodega: el Palacio de Bacalhoa, un tinto excelente elaborado con uva cavernet sauvignong que toma su nombre de la cercana mansión en la que la Historia dejó su huella.

Dos curiosidades que no deben escapar a la visita: un caqui, descendiente del único árbol que sobrevivió a la bomba atómica de Nagasaki, en 1945, como simbólico homenaje a la paz, y una pareja de patos de un precioso color morado brillante.

      

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