In fact, and again in line with the title of our blog, the unplanned discoveries we make are often the best. With the village of Sobreiro this was once again true! After an afternoon spent along the coast, by the magnificent beaches of the municipality of Torres Vedras and Mafra, and after a quick passage through Ericeira, we see this place by the national road with a style that caught our eye!
In fact, it is impossible to walk there and be indifferent to the whitewashed mill which continues to function as if it were new, and next to it, a façade of whitewashed houses with typically Portuguese construction, with its small wooden windows, traditional blue stripe below and this whole picture only complete with the flowers scattered in small vases supported by windows near the doors.
As soon as we entered the main door, we found ourselves involved in a large pottery workshop, with various exhibits including vessels, saints, plates, among other pieces made by order and in some cases not even looking like they were made of clay. After exploring the entrance lobby a little, we were curious to know more about the place. So we quickly got to know Mr. João, a master in pottery, a craft he learned from the founder of this small traditional village: Mr. José Franco.
From an early age José Franco contacted with the world of pottery, having worked at the beginning of his career with other potters who made the village of Sobreiro famous. It was already in the 60’s that he could finally start the project he had dreamed of many years before, that is, to be able to build a village that represented the traditions he had lived in his childhood and that define our country.
Returning to Mr. João, his sympathy and assertive attitude quickly convinced us to watch the creation of a rose in clay, a process that we show you in the video below.
We then continued to explore the village of José Franco and as we advanced, we were pulling the veil to the surprises that this site reserves! Right at the beginning of the route, we have the village church, a small chapel, all of it whitewashed and that stands out for its interior richness, with several saints and paintings.
We went through the most varied traditional shops, from the butcher shop, to the tailor’s studio, to the blacksmith’s house … always in a unique style and that deep down we always recognize as the true Portuguese style. We highlight the small miniature village halfway down the road, reminiscent of a village crib, where the whole scene is in motion, from the water that runs in the small brook to the farmer who harvests his crop.
One of the highlights of this visit happens in the bakery, also with the characteristic typical Portuguese style, but this place offers something more to know, or rather, taste … We speak of the bread with Chouriço baked in the wood oven. We can say that it will certainly be one of the best breads with chouriço that we have ever eaten and also very affordable for only € 2.
The visit follows, as we approach the central courtyard of the village, where the stonewall and the windmill can easily be seen. The whole space is quite pleasant, with several benches, a garden and a cafe for those who want to drink something fresh. We finished the route passing by the east (Ericeira side) and we were surprised to see that José Franco even built a house for the pig, the dog and the bird!
We strongly advise you to visit this place, which is actually just 40 minutes from Lisbon. It will be a trip to our Portuguese heritage and a reminder of our most outstanding traditions and our typical architecture, and it is not necessary to pay any value for the entrance.