Around the World... One Journey at a Time. Around the World... One Journey at a Time.






Portugal: Day 6

by Kathy 28. March 2011 19:20

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<< Day 5: Magical Castles of Sintra and Óbidos | Day 7: Nazaré and Sítio >>

 

Dinosaur Tracks to Nazaré

Today we would be driving from the beautiful castle town of Óbidos to the seaside community of Nazaré, about half an hour away. However, we would be adding another hour and a half of driving to make a detour loop that would take us to see some dinosaur tracks. Not just any dinosaur tracks, mind you. These were the longest and oldest set of sauropod footprints in the entire world. We couldn’t pass that up!

Our route took us along two-lane roads that wound in and out of small villages, as well as larger towns:




Many of the older homes, as well as boundary walls, were made of stone:

This wall with massive stones marked the edge of a quarry:

The dinosaur footprints were located in a former limestone quarry, which is now a Natural Monument. The tracks were discovered in 1994. Scientists believe that sauropods created the tracks about 175 million years ago, when this area was a shallow lagoon. Their footprints had been fossilized into the rock. Here is a drawing of the sauropods on the cover of the Natural Monument pamphlet:

A blast of cold wind hit us as we got out of the car. To reach the tracks, we had to walk down into the quarry area—about a mile loop. First, however, Genevieve and Sebastian played on the small climbing structure (in the shape of a dinosaur) near the ticket office.


Genevieve pretended to be a blue T-Rex:

The walk to the tracks seemed a lot longer than it actually was. I think that after all of the hiking, exposure to history, and new experiences over the last few days, Sebastian’s sensory receptors for new information were on overload (Genevieve’s too, perhaps). He also could have used a few more hours of sleep. The bottom line was that he was five years old and a bit on the cranky side today. The chilly air and whipping wind did not help his mood.

Our path led to an overlook on the edge of the quarry. On the viewing platform was a large photograph exhibit with arrows pointing to the seemingly obvious sets of tracks.

We tried to visually match that photograph with the actual view in front of us, . . . but things just didn’t quite line up:

We pointed out what we thought were dinosaur tracks to Genevieve and Sebastian, but it was hard to be convincing when we weren’t sure ourselves. Whatever we were selling, they weren’t buying.

And so we followed the path down into the quarry where the tracks were roped off and more obvious.




Ben and I were very impressed with the sheer number and clarity of the footprints. One set of tracks was about 155 yards long; another, at 160 yards, was the longest in the world.

From the size and shape of the prints, scientists were able to discern how long the legs were, and they also deduced that the creatures who walked here were loners that did not travel in herds.

After more looking, we were ready to leave the quarry area:

The path led us back up to the quarry edge and then down some stairs into a garden area. Near a small pond was a long white exhibit board with information about the evolution of life on Earth throughout different periods.

Ben pointed out some of the sea creatures to Sebastian:

The group of dinosaurs showed a sauropod raising its head high above the others:

The cold wind was taking its toll on Sebastian, and he was walking at a slow speed. Here he is with Ben, coming up the long path from the quarry:

I loved this dinosaur sculpture near the exit:

The town of Fátima was only about six miles away—the perfect stop for lunch. A small rural community, Fátima was transformed into a major pilgrimage site in the 20th century. Three children (Lucia, age 10, and her younger cousins, Francisco and Jacinta) allegedly saw an apparition of the Holy Mother Mary while tending sheep in May 1917. She was purportedly “brighter than the sun,” and she asked the children to return to same spot each month for six months. Despite tremendous public ridicule, as well as harsh interrogations by the government authorities, the children refused to recant their story. Although crowds of people accompanied them during the next five apparitions, only the children were able to see Mary and hear her words. During her last apparition, Mary asked for prayers to end World War I and requested that a church be built in her honor. A small chapel was built, which was visited by thousands and thousands of people over time. After the Vatican authenticated the apparitions in 1930, the great Basilica of Fátima was constructed.

Sebastian, in front of the Basilica of Fátima:

Each year, over two million pilgrims (mostly women) come here to express devotion to Mary as a mother figure that understands and cares deeply for women and children.

The large open area in front of the Basilica is twice the size of St. Peter’s in Rome and can purportedly hold several hundred thousand people. During our visit, some type of religious service was being held on the side:

Some sculpture along the church plaza:


Here are Ben and the kids in downtown Fátima, after lunch:

Another 45 minutes of driving, and we reached the town of Batalha, which has one of the most visually stunning cathedrals in Portugal—the Monastery of Santa Maria of Batalha. I would have liked to stop, but I didn’t have the heart to wake Sebastian:

So I contented myself with snapping photos as we drove by. Coming up on the cathedral:

There it was, right in front of me, but the camera was on the wrong setting:

Watching it disappear in the distance:

We would be staying the next two nights in the seaside town of Nazaré. Here is the view out over the red-tiled roofs from the terrace of our apartment:

There were steep stairs leading down to our apartment:

Outside our apartment entrance, ready for a walk:

We headed straight for the beach, wearing our jackets instead of bathing suits—we seemed to have brought the cold wind with us from the dinosaur tracks.

Ben:

Me:

Genevieve and Sebastian found a grandstand area to play on:

Stretching up the hill were the tracks for the furnicular (or ascensor) that ran between Nazaré and Sítio, the old district above:

Ben gave Genevieve a piggy back ride out of the sand, while Sebastian ran around trying to get warm:

We escaped the wind one block inland, where we wandered through the narrow and charming streets:

Genevieve led the way:


Sebastian got a ride on Ben’s shoulders:

The old doors were so enchanting—look at how skinny these are:

Walking up to a viewpoint, we passed this graffiti art:

At the viewpoint circle:

Overlooking the town of Nazaré:

Today hadn’t exactly gone as I had envisioned when planning this day. In my fantasy world, the children were completely engaged and intrigued by the dinosaur prints, we had plenty of time to see the Basilica at Batalha, and we were all relaxing right now on the warm sunny beach below. Ha! But the bumps in life add texture and richness, and make things . . . .interesting. And that’s what it’s all about (oh, yeah)!

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Places We’ve Been, w/Quick Links

Bhutan
   Bumthang Valley
   Gom Kora
   Kanglung
   Mongar
   Paro Valley
   Punakha Dzong
   Sangdrup Jongkhar
   Thimphu
   Tongsa
   Wangdi Phrodrang

Bolivia
   Caranavi
   Guanay
   Janko Marca
   La Paz
   Laguna Colorada
   Laguna Verde
   Llica
   Potosí
   Queteña
   Rurrenabaque
   Sajama
   Salar de Coipasa
   Salar de Uyuni
   San Pablo
   Santa Rosa
   Sorata
   Sud Lipez
   Tupiza
   World’s Most Dangerous Road

Canada
   Banff National Park
   Battle Hill Nat'l Hist. Site
   Boya Lake Prov. Park, BC
   Burns Lake Bike Park
   Canyon Sainte-Anne
   Chetwynd
   Dawson Creek
   Eastern Townships
   Fort Nelson
   Isle-aux-Coudres
   Jasper National Park
   Kluane Lake, YK
   'Ksan Historical Village
   Lake Louise
   Liard Hot Springs
   Montreal
   Niagara Falls
   Ottawa
   Quebec City
   Quesnel
   Thousand Islands
   Toronto
   Vancouver
   Vancouver Island
   Victoria
   Watson Lake
   Whistler
   Whitehorse

China
   Beijing
   Datong
   Forbidden City
   Great Wall at Mutianyu
   Hong Kong
   HuaShan
   Lijiang
   Summer Palace
   Terracotta Warriors
   Tiananmen Square
   Xi’an
   Yangshuo
   Yungang Caves

Costa Rica
   Arenal Volcano
   Finca Corsicana
   Hanging Bridges
   Manuel Antonio
   Poas Volcano
   Proyecto Asis
   Quepos
   Sarchi
   Sky Trek Zip Lining
   Venado Caves
   Zarcero

France
   Paris

Ecuador
   Amazon Rainforest
   Chaquiñan Bicycle Trail
   La Mitad del Mundo
   Napo Wildlife Center
   Papallacta Hot Springs
   Proyecto DCR
   Quito
   Yasuní National Park

India
   Bagdogra
   Darjeeling
   Delhi
   Gawahati
   Jaigaon
   Kalimpong

Mexico
   Baja California
   Crucecita
   Frida Kahlo Museum
   Hierve el Agua
   Huatulco
   Marietas Islands
   Mazunte
   Mexico City
   Monte Alban
   Oaxaca City
   Patzcuaro
   Puerto Angel
   Puerto Escondido
   Puerto Vallarta
   San Agustin
   San Martin Tilcajete
   Santa Fe de la Laguna
   Santa María el Tule
   Sayulita
   Studio of Jacobo Angeles
   Teotihuacán
   Teotitlán del Valle
   TzinTzunTzan
   Yagul
   Yelapa

Namibia
   Caprivi
   Dead Vlei
   Elondo Village
   Etosha Nat'l Park
   Hippo Pools Camp
   Hoba Meteorite
   Katutura
   Khowarib Camp
   Moose McGregor's Bakery
   Mowani Camp
   Ngepi Camp
   Nkasa Lupala
   n'Kwzi Camp
   River Dance Lodge
   Seisfontein
   Seisriem Camp
   Sossusvlie
   Swakopmund
   Treesleeper Camp
   Twyfeltein
   Windhoek

Peru
   Balsas
   Barranca
   Cajabamba
   Cajamarca
   Caraz
   Cañón del Pato
   Celendín
   Cerro de Pasco
   Chachapoyas
   Cusco
   Huamachuco
   Huánico
   Huaraz
   La Oroya
   Leymebamba
   Llanganuco
   Lima
   Machu Picchu
   Moyobamba
   Nuevo Jaén
   Pallasca
   Pampas
   Tápuc
   Tarapoto
   Tarma
   Tingo Maria
   Tocache
   Yungay Memorial

Portugal
   Burgau
   Coimbra
   Evora
   Lisbon
   Marvao
   Nazare
   Obidos
   Portimao
   Sintra
   Sitio

South Africa
   Johannesburg

Spain
   Barcelona
   Bilbao
   Hondarribia
   Madrid
   Montserrat
   Nerja
   Rock of Gibraltar
   Ronda
   Santillana del Mar
   Tolosa
   Zaragoza

United States National Parks
   Arches National Park, UT
   Badlands National Park, SD
   Bandelier National Monument, NM
   Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
   Cahokia Mounds (UNESCO site), IL
   Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
   Canyon de Chelly Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Cape Hatteras National Shoreline, NC
   Capitol Reef National Park, UT
   Civil Rights Memorial, AL
   Death Valley National Park, CA
   Denali National Park, AK
   Devil’s Tower National Monument, WY
   El Morro National Monument, NM
   Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C.
   Glacier National Park, MT
   Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
   Grand Tetons National Park, WY
   Great Basin National Park, NV
   Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI
   Joshua Tree National Park, CA
   Kaloko-Honokohau Nat'l Hist. Park, HI
   Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks, NM
   King's Canyon National Park, CA
   Martin Luther King Jr. Nat'l Hist. Site, GA
   Mesa Verde National Park, CO
   Montezuma's Castle Nat'l Monument, AZ
   Monticello, VA
   Mount Rushmore National Memorial, SD
   Mt. Rainier National Park, WA
   Olympic National Park, WA
   Petrified Wood National Park, AZ
   Pinnacles National Monument, CA
   Pu'uhonua o Honaunau Nat'l Hist Pk, HI
   Pu'ukohola Heiau Nat'l Historic Site, HI
   San Antonio Missions Nat'l Hist. Park, TX
   Tuzigoot National Monument, AZ
   Walnut Canyon National Monument, AZ
   Washington Monument
   White Sands National Monument, NM
   Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, AK
   Wright Brothers National Memorial in NC
   Yellowstone National Park, WY
   Yosemite National Park, CA

United States, Cities and Places
   The Alamo, TX
   Alaska Wildlife Conservation Cntr.
   Alpine Loop in CO
   Anchorage, AK
   Antares Junction, AZ
   Arctic Circle, AK
   Barrel Oak Winery in VA
   Biloxi, MS
   Bottle Tree Farm in CA
   Calico Ghost Town, CA
   Canfield Mountain Trail System, ID
   Cape St. Vincent, NY
   Carson City, NV
   Carter Caves State Park in KY
   Chappie-Shasta OHV Area, CA
   Child's Glacier, AK
   Circle B Chuckwagon Show in SD
   City Museum in MO
   Cody, WY
   Corn Palace in SD
   Crazy Horse Memorial in SD
   Custer State Park, SD
   Dalton Highway, AK
   Dinosaur Tracks in AZ
   Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC
   Dry Falls (Sun Lakes-Dry Falls), WA
   Fairbanks, AK
   Front Royal, VA
   Gallup, NM
   Goffs, CA
   Grand Canyon Caves, AZ
   Grand Canyon Skywalk, AZ
   Grave Digger Monster Truck in NC
   Great Salt Lake, UT
   Hackberry General Store in AZ
   Hannibal, MO
   Hatteras Island, NC
   Hawaii (Big Island)
   Hickison Petroglyphs, NV
   Holbrook, AZ
   Hole in the Rock, UT
   Homer, AK
   Honey Island Swamp Tour in LA
   Hoover Dam, NV
   Hyder, AK
   Jim Gray’s Petrified Wood Co. in AZ
   John’s Peak OHV Area, OR
   Kailua-Kona, HI
   Keepers of the Wild Nature Park in AZ
   Kennecott, AK
   Kennecott Copper Mine in UT
   Kingman, AZ
   Lake Havasu, AZ
   Lake Tahoe, NV
   Las Vegas, NV (winter 2010)
   Little Brown Church in IA
   London Bridge in AZ
   Loneliest Road in America, Hwy. 50, NV
   Los Angeles, CA
   Lost Colony Show on Roanoke Isl., NC
   Lowe’s Speedway in NC
   Mardi Gras World in LA
   Mark Twain Museum in MO
   Meteor Crater, AZ
   Million Dollar Highway, CO
   Minnesota Zoo
   Mitchell, SD
   Moab, UT
   Moab, UT (dirt biking)
   Montgomery, AL
   Montpelier, ID
   Navajo Nation, AZ
   Needles, CA
   Nevada Beach, NV
   Newberry Springs, CA
   New River Gorge, WV
   New Orleans, LA
   Niagara Falls 
   North Pole, AK
   Oatman, AZ
   Old Faithful Geyser in WY
   Omak Stampede, WA
   Painted Desert, AZ
   Park City, UT (summer)
   Plymouth, NC
   Portage Valley, AK
   Portland, OR
   Prospect OHV Trail System, OR
   Resaca, GA
   Riverside State Park, WA
   Rock City in TN
   Rosa Parks Library and Museum in AL
   Roswell, NM
   Russian River, AK
   Salt Lake City, UT
   San Antonio, TX
   San Diego, CA
   San Juan Islands, WA
   San Francisco, CA
   Santa Catalina Island, CA
   Seattle, WA
   Sedona, AZ
   Shoe Tree in CA
   Shoe Tree in NV
   Silverton, CO
   Sonora, TX
   St. Louis, MO
   St. Paul, MN
   Talkeetna, AK
   Telluride, CO
   Route 66
   Twin Knobs Recreation Area in KY
   Virginia Beach, VA
   Washington D.C.
   Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park in IL
   Williamsburg, VA
   Winom Frazier OHV Area, OR
   Winslow, AZ
   Zion National Park, UT

Planning Our Adventures

For us, each journey begins with the initial heart pangs to venture to a certain part of the world. Then the ideas start coming together . . . ahh, the possibilities . . . and the dream evolves gradually into an actual plan. But, oh, the joy of the dream!  Click here to learn more about how we plan and prepare for our journeys.

Where Are We Now?

Click here to discover where we are now, as well as our uncoming travel plans.


Words for the Heart

“. . . and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Anais Nin