Casa Branca station is small and welcoming. All the houses are white-washed giving the town its name and they reflect the peace and quiet, the blue of the sky and the green of the flat fields that stretch away in all directions.
Casa Branca station used to be one of the main points on the Alentejo railway lines, and it is still an important junction where people change trains and routes. A panel of glazed tiles gives the village colour. Looking out from the station, visitors can see well cared for allotments with all kinds of vegetables and fruit trees such as oranges and peaches that scent the air. The peach trees are in blossom and are lovely to see. The station master says the most beautiful allotment is his and points me in the right direction for me to see for myself. You can hear the birds signing and it feels good to sit here under the shade in the middle of so many gardens and orchards. Here you can smell the pure, calm air and relax in peace and quiet.
Moving a bit further down the village streets, I spy a shepherd with his flock of sheep. He says he has about 14 and that the locals all work hard and spend their time working. The village is full of humble, warm people and everyone knows their neighbours and here they all speak to each other and are friends. They get together to enjoy themselves in the taverns or the café and restaurant, the only ones I saw here, where they stick into wonderful meals and nibbles. There is a grocer's shop with a bit of everything. The owner is really kind and shows me where they make the bread and the cakes they sell, that melt in the mouth.
In the evening I join a group of people who go for a walk around there, they go out every day and some of them go cycling too. There are groups and circuits laid out round the village and the surroundings that meander through the green countryside. I agreed I'd go with them next time.
Inês Isabel Figueiras Paulo Saúde Manuel, CP Window ambassador.