Nazare--A Picture Postcard Beach Town
A small village located on the Atlantic coast, Nazare hovers between its fishing boat heritage--small painted boats that go out every day, and the modern fishing reality--motorized fishing companies, retains its charm. Our Airbnb was up the hill from the beach and although we had a car, most of the time we trekked. We arrived late afternoon to a beautiful view of the beach and the ocean, went inside to settle and to pour a glass of wine. When we emerged to enjoy cocktails on the patio, the fog had come up the mountain and overtaken the view. In fact, we could not see across the street and that fog stuck around for two days!
Our host and hostess Rui and Julia offered great tips for where to eat and where to visit. That first night we went to a truly local spot Aki del Mar, where we enjoyed delicious fresh seafood. After hiking up the hill after dinner, Rui and Julia joined us on the patio and shared a port and conversation, as they did each night we were there.
The next day we went to visit the Fort of Saint Michael the Archangel/lighthouse. We took the funicular, walked around the little town in the fog, then hiked the road to the fort. The exhibition inside the fort consisted of surfboards belonging to some of the best surfers in the world. In Nov. 2017, Brazilian surfer Rodrigo Koxa set the world record for the biggest wave ever surfed. That part of the ocean is on a great Teutonic fault, the Grand Canyon of the Atlantic, which seasonally creates waves as high as 30 meters.
Following our visit to the fort, we walked the beach in town where there was a festival. It seemed like all the women in the town were dressed up in costume for the event. We also saw the old women on the beach selling dried, salted fish and the old fishing boats pushed up on the beach.
The following day, we drove to Obidos, to see the walled town and the castle. Like most of the historic sights in Spain and Portugal, it is a Unesco World Heritage sight. Outside the walled city a Roman aqueduct reminds us that the Romans conquered Portugal. The first thing that you notice as you enter the town are shops selling ginja, a cherry liqueur served in tiny chocolate cups. It was a delicious way to start our adventure that day. A castle dominates the hill and serves as the primary attraction. The site is beautiful, although the castle is closed. Part of it has been converted into a hotel.
The highlight of our visit to Nazare was watching the World Cup Match between Portugal and Iran. Our Airbnb hosts Rui and Julia invited us to join them at the bar where they go regularly go to watch the games. Julia is a huge football fan and it was a great treat to enjoy the game with the Portuguese crowd. While watching the game, we enjoyed a great dinner of mussels, clams and barnacles, paired with Portuguese wine and cocktails of course.
Next day, we headed out for Fatima and Coimbra. Ate logo (see you later)!