Martim Longo a Village in the Algarve
In the Memory of Svend and How I Met a New Svend in Martim Longo.
"Svend" is a common name in the Scandinavian countries, in Danish it is also a title you achieve after a craftsman gets his Certificate, the certificate is called "Svendebrev" (letter of Svend), so you can both be a Svend as well as being named Svend
Now that you know that, let me tell you about my "Svend".
Svend came into my life after a divorce, I was a single mom with a son at that time 4 years old and I needed a handyman as well a man who could teach my son how to play football, repair bikes etc.
I was looking for someone to paint my new housing and was introduced to Svend who also happen to be a Painter-Svend, that was a start of a life long friendship had ended this year when he died 78 years old.
Svend was born right after the war and knew what it is like to go to bed hungry, not have warm clothes in freezing winters and being beating up my his father, he has #5 out of 11 kids. He never learned how to read, write and count properly.
That of course taught Svend how to survive, he was one tough man. And yes in his younger days he did pick his fights. When he came into my life though he had stopped the fighting and did his best to live a comfortable life.
Svend lived 2 doors from me and was always there when I needed him to do small or big jobs. Often I didn't even need to call him, I just thought about what I needed done and there he was walking in the hallway and asked me what I wanted to have done. This was so amazing I asked him if he knew of mind reading - he just looked at me and said "doesn't anyone do that?
His payment was my friendship, that was all he asked and I gave it to him with great pleasure and surely from time to time I have him money, when I knew he was short in that area.
The is shot last year (2008) after his first hospitalization, he was ready to go home, we all thought he was well but it turned out he had cancer, he didn't want treatment and died peacefully a year after.
Svend was a very special person and dearly missed not only by me but of the others the helped as well.
The other day I visited Martim Longo and there met a new Portuguese "Svend".
Martim Longo and How I Ended There!
1st Day at the New School!
My friend's daughter Josephine's 1st school day this year was 14th of September and I agreed to go with them (but not attending the speeches, since my Portuguese is not good enough, so say it at least), so I drifted off the explore the little village and get a cup of the good Portuguese coffee.
Martim Longo is a Portuguese civil parish in the municipality of Alcoutim, on the eastern side of the Algarve, 134.14 kmÂ² in area, and with 1,384 inhabitants (2001). The population density is 10.3 people/kmÂ².
In other words I was in the middle of no-where but still in The Algarve, the holiday paradise for Northern Europeans.
So where on earth is Martim Longo?
One of the great things about Portugal is their coffee, every single village has at least one coffee bar and coffee is around Euro 1. OK not in Faro Airport, there I paid Euro 2,70!
The Portuguese "Svend" Warned Me!
I found an abandoned factory - in fact it was a bit creepy to enter the area but it seems safe I didn't sense danger just the creepy thing. What caught my eyes was this copper port, I just could not resist to take a shot. Unfortunately you cannot see the lovely light shining and reflecting.
While I was taking the photos an old man approached, I greeted him in Portuguese and asked him if it was OK what I was doing. Positive answer pew... Next thing he did was he grabbed my arm just like Svend (please read the introduction, if you not already have) - that was creepy too.
Next he warned me about something I could not understand, my Portuguese is not good - yet. Then he used a word "sigojner" which is the same in my language (Danish): gypsy, now I knew what he wanted to tell me; that on the other side of the wall there was a gypsy camp, it might not be a safe place for me to go - or it might. It was nice of him to tell me that, so I could make my own choice.
Travelling as a single woman you of course have to be very careful, even I do educate myself before I go to a country I might not get all the information.
Later while I was looking for an ATM (Cash Machine) I noted "Svend" several times. Even later when I went to the school - he was there again looking for me.
I will go back with a Portuguese speaking friend and talk to him - real talk to him, he is such a nice man.