Wow what a day! I just got back a few hours ago from Cascais, a quiet and beautiful seaside town West of Lisboa. Cascais is famous for its collection of soft white sand beaches and amazing seafood. The yacht culture is strong there as well. I saw many catamarans and 50+ foot boats anchored off the coast. The train from Lisboa to Cascais departs from the Cais do Sodre station, the end of the Linha Verde (Green Line). The train ride passes several smaller towns on the way, including Santos and Estoril, another beach destination. The ride lasts about 40 minutes and costs 3,80€ for a ticket there and back.
Once in Cascais I immediately went to the beach to check it out. I was amazed at how soft and fine the sand was. The beach was pretty small actually, but it was surrounded with many restaurants and bars that catered to the tourists and locals alike.
Ok so I took the title from The Girl From Ipanema lyrics, but I had to. In addition to the beautiful women on this beach there were many holiday makers from Italy, France, and the UK. There was at least one person from the good ol’ USA. I borrowed some sunscreen from an Italian couple on holiday. Care to guess what the going price for sunscreen is in Portugal? 15 Euros! Ridiculous!
Off to the side of the main beach I just showed is this smaller beach. I guess it was cut out of the rock by the pounding waves. There was construction noise above so I moved on.
So after about an hour at the beach I left to check out the downtown area of Cascais. The water was freezing cold so I didn’t go in. Notice the cobblestone accents on the street. Designs like this are all over Portugal and really add to the overall ambiance
I just had to come in and see this store. I asked the lady if this place really only sold socks. She said “claro”.
I was blown away by this house and its awesome view and porch. I would love to live here!
I asked a kind young girl to take my photograph in front of the beach where all the fisherman hangout and fish. “Pescadores” means fishermen, FYI. Check out my new hat! It was 8 Euros originally but I got it for 6. I know it probably cost 0,50 Euros to make (made in China) but hey, I needed some sun protection.
After the fisherman’s beach I went to the park in Cascais that featured a beautiful Manueline style estate. I took pictures of the inside even though technically I wasn’t allowed to:
After leaving the Estate in Cascais, I went to the other side of the park where one can rent bicycles. I asked them how much and they said it was free! I bought a one Euro bike lock so I could make stops and take pictures, of course. They were fixed gear bikes. I felt like such a hipster. The one I rode all the way to Guincho Beach was #105.
My first stop on my bike ride up the Portuguese coast was the lighthouse. Here I encountered some Brits whom I asked in Portuguese if this was the imfamous Boca do Inferno. They said, “um…English?” I then asked them in English to their relief. They said they thought it was and that they were disappointed that it wasn’t more spectacular. Turns out this wasn’t the true Boca do Inferno (pictures upcoming) and that the Brits were utterly wrong. I also told them that Aleister Crowley, a fellow Brit, coined the term “Boca do Inferno” due to the roaring sound the ocean waves make when they pound against the sea caves.
After the Boca do Inferno I stopped at a Pasteleira (Bakery) nearby for a Portuguese delicacy, the Pastel de Nata. I don’t know what’s in it but it is so good. I think its like a sweet rice pudding inside. I topped it off with some cinnamon.
After the oh-so-tasty Pastel de Nata I got back on my fixed gear renta-bike and headed towards Guincho Beach. The bike ride was fantastic with the salty sea air whipping me all around. I pedaled my fixed gear bike as fast as it could go.
About a two kilometers later I made it to this overhang of rock above Guincho beach. The wind was about 25-30 knots and red flags were flying on the beach to caution people of the crazy waves and strong winds. I expected to see a lot of kitesurfers here but there were none today. I don’t think I would even kite here as it is so dangerous with the rocks, huge waves, and strong, unpredictable winds.
At this point I feel like I have completed a cycle (both figuratively and literally). Last summer in July, I first saw pictures of Guincho beach on the Internet while doing research on Portugal. I remember vividly saying to myself, “I have to go there.” Now, here I am, and it’s spectacular.