Rui Cardoso Martins was born in Portalegre and on this journey returns to the Alentejo, which is dear to his heart.
Rui Cardoso Martins—a writer, chronicler, and script-writer—is rarely at a loose end.
He has written Glad to Die and Let the Invisible Man Go Through (Portuguese Writers’ Association Grand Prize for Novel and Novella, 2009), among others.
He was a reporter for the Público foundation (covering the siege of Sarajevo, elections in South Africa, etc.) and wrote the screenplay for The Domain (with Tiago Guedes), nominated for the Golden Lion at the Venice International Film Festival in 2019.
He is the author of the play ”Última Hora” (Last Minute) (TNDM II, 2020), and co-writer on the police series ”Sul”. He also co-writes for ”Contra-Informação”, ”Herman Enciclopédia”, etc. He is currently finishing other literary and film projects. His work has been translated into several languages.
I was born far inland, near the border with Spain, but every year I need to get back to the Alentejo coast, where my childhood beach is. In a moment, I make a sand castle that soon gets washed away.
Ten streets, all white, white and blue, the cleanest town in Portugal–so they say.
I remember my mother talking about this, it’s the Alentejo, the whitewash and the women’s obsessive cleaning (much like drawing and, at times, writing). Not even 400 souls.
It’s 11 a.m., the birds hop around in the trees, the storks clatter (that’s the right word for it) in the bell tower and the men gossip on the terrace at Café Coelho. A young lad tells the old men: “Do you know what I learned today? I learned how to mix cement. I’ll have a degree next.”
Arrábida, from the sky to the bottom of the sea, is complete.
If you had to tell a child about your journey, what would you say?
Travel the World, but see the Alentejo; otherwise, you have seen nothing.
Did you have any preconceived ideas about [the region]? How did this experience change that?
My Alentejo is beautiful, but so diverse that I had lost the notion of its greatness.
If you had to recommend the Alentejo to friends, what would you say?
Even if you don't know what path you're taking or where you're going, just go.
How has this experience changed the way you travel from now on?
I'll have to take an artist (OK, a sketcher...) with me. They see everything better.