Kerstin the first inhabitant in Candal after the village was abandoned is the leader of Casa das Artes and other projects in schist villages
While visiting Candal, one of the most well known schist villages in Lousã and also one of the biggest, we feel the peace and the calm of Lousã Mountain. We may ask ourselves what we can do in that isolated village. The answer is quite easy according to Kerstin Thomas, an entrepreneur that discovered the village 27 years ago. She affirms that people who love the beauty of Nature, Traditional Architecture and friendly environment are those who go to Candal and found it unique, interesting and
worth to visit.
Kerstin says that Candal has good accessibility and infrastructures which can provide a very good quality of life to the six inhabitants and to the tourists as well. A good example of that is “Schist Shop”. This shop was established to promote the traditional products from all the Portuguese Schist villages. It is coordinated by three local artists and was opened seven years ago. There we can find Mrs. Thomas selling homemade cakes, honey, wine, liquors and traditional and contemporary handicrafts.
This shop plays an important role in the village. It gives diverse information about the region to the visitors and provides them tips to choose some activities that they can do there. It also functions as a coffee shop and sells some goods too. For the inhabitants it is a good place to be together and spend quality time as they can enjoy the products, use the internet, get the news and have nice conversations. Kerstin has also emphasized the interesting and cultural conversations that people can have in that village. The entrepreneur said that art lovers are the perfect tourists for this place because they do have the capacity to enjoy what it has to offer.
Everything seems to be easy and perfect in Candal, nevertheless there are some negative aspects. The communication with the outside of the village is hard as there isn’t mobile network, we just can use internet in the “Schist Shop” and it is quite slow. Because of that some people do not spend so much time there as they would like to. Furthermore some parts of the village are under reconstruction so it is a bit dangerous to walk around and people with
disabilities and kids are not able to discover Candal. According to Kerstin those aspects could be improved. However she feels so lucky for having the opportunity to get pleasure of the architectural richness, the crafts produced there, the social surroundings and also the refreshing water which is one of the best in Europe.
To crack in a nutshell, this hidden treasure is a perfect place where one can be lost in the beauty of nature, learn the history and feel the life style of the people living there.
Group 1: Filipa, Klio, Sara, Sharad