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

Portugal: Day 7

by Kathy 29. March 2011 19:41

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<< Day 6: Dinosaur Tracks to Nazaré | Day 8: Miniatures and Majesty of Coimbra>>


Nazaré and Sítio

The beautiful seaside town of Nazaré was the perfect place for us to wander without any kind of plan. Our feet seemed to be moving in slow motion today, and that was just fine with us.

The narrow streets twisted this way and that, between white-washed buildings with red-tile roofs. Occasionally, we would see a local woman dressed in a plaid skirt and argyle knee socks or stockings:

This type of outfit had its roots in the many layers of skirts, socks, and shawls traditionally worn by fishermen’s wives who would bundle themselves against the frigid winds and wait by the Nazaré shore for their husbands to return from the sea.  

(When I took the above photo, I had been so fixated on the woman in the plaid skirt that I hadn’t noticed the oh-so-casual, bathrobe and slippers attire of the woman in pink.  She is hard evidence supporting our perception that Nazaré had a laid-back vibe.)

On the edge of the sidewalk, Sebastian found a small ride-on animal:

We soon found ourselves at the base of the funicular that stretched up the hillside to the old district of Sítio.

Here is a distant view:

The funicular (called the elevator or “ascensor” by the locals) began operating in 1889 to provide a more fluid connection between the fishing village below and the farming community above. We hopped on board the modern coach cars and headed upwards.

A view from the top of the tracks, looking back down:

Genevieve, Sebastian and Ben, at the top:

The view of Nazaré was stunning. Here is a panorama, looking from the left to the right:

Our apartment was the second rooftop down in a diagonal row of five modern townhouses:

The cliff underneath the walkway had eroded considerably, as shown in this photo of Ben, Genevieve and Sebastian (who squeezed his eyes shut in most of today's photos):

We followed the wall out to the front point. Here are Genevieve and Sebastian, with a seagull flying by:

Genevieve, with a better view of the beach below:

Near this point was a small chapel, called Ermida da Memória:

The chapel marks the spot where a miracle allegedly occurred in the 12th century. Local legend recounts how a nobleman was out hunting a deer in the dense fog. His horse was almost at the cliff edge and would have plummeted over the edge but for the sudden appearance of the Virgin Mary, who stopped the horse in its tracks. The noble built the chapel to thank her.  The horse’s hoofprints from the sudden stop are supposed to be embedded in the soil within the crypt area. 

Here is Sebastian, next to a small memorial post near the chapel—he actually asked to have his photo taken (a rarity), and he has his eyes open!

On the edge of a small plaza was the grand Nossa Senhora da Nazaré church (Our Lady of Nazaré), built in the 14th century but remodeled a few times over the centuries since then:

Many of the old buildings in Sítio were just brimming with character. Look at these doors!

An old window:

The façade of this home was covered in beautiful painted tiles, called alentejos, that we had first seen in the Alfama district of Lisbon:

The area around the church plaza had a few restaurants. A server in one gave a curt wave of his hand to indicate an outdoor table where we could sit. There were a few other tables with tourists who looked like they were waiting for food.  None of them were smiling, and some looked downright unhappy. With still no menus or service after a few more minutes, we saw the writing on the wall—and it said, “Time to leave.” So we did.

We headed for the backstreets of Sítio to find another lunch place:

A woman in traditional garb:

We were delighted to find the Olé Café:

It was named for its location across the street from the local bullfighting ring (the white, circular building):

We had fresh squid, chicken, potatoes, fries, and salad—all delicious!

Sebastian was happy!

So was Genevieve:

After lunch, we headed back to the top of the cliff overlooking Nazaré. Ben pointed out a winding trail that we would be following down the hill:

(Those who follow our stories know that I have a heart connection with images of laundry hanging to dry. In the photo above, I just loved the fact that someone living near the cliff top hangs their laundry, undergarments and all, next to the public sidewalk.)

In the distance, we could see the modern harbor, built in the 1980's to improve the lives of the local fishermen:

Before the harbor had been constructed, the fishermen used to have to drag their boats up onto the wide beach every night, often requiring the help of oxen.

Sebastian and Genevieve led the way down the winding, stair-stepped path to the beach area of Nazaré:

Near the bottom of the path was a white sculpture showing a traditional fishing boat, with waves, and a man holding his head in his hands as if he were distressed:

The beach was cold and windy—the same as yesterday—and the water was still too chilly for swimming:

Genevieve and Sebastian still had fun digging in the sand and playing ball:

Sebastian was chilled to the bone afterwards:

Looking up at the Sitio cliff, where we had been earlier today, we could see severe erosion that has occurred underneath the viewing wall:

The street facing the beach had a small tiled church and some old buildings with lovely architectural details.

An old photo of the waterfront shows the church, the two turreted buildings, and some of the other original structures:

(Photo credit here.)

Even with the modern structures and new areas of town, Nazaré still made us feel as if we had stepped back in time, into a world with a slower pace. We had read that summer crowds descend like ants and transform this place into a bustling tourist town, with little elbow room. Without the masses, however, there was an abundance of charm and a peaceful tranquility that was just what we needed.

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<< Day 6: Dinosaur Tracks to Nazaré | Day 8: Miniatures and Majesty of Coimbra >>

Map of Our Journeys

(click the map to enlarge)
Our travel map

Places We’ve Been, w/Quick Links

   Bumthang Valley
   Gom Kora
   Paro Valley
   Punakha Dzong
   Sangdrup Jongkhar
   Wangdi Phrodrang

   Janko Marca
   La Paz
   Laguna Colorada
   Laguna Verde
   Salar de Coipasa
   Salar de Uyuni
   San Pablo
   Santa Rosa
   Sud Lipez
   World’s Most Dangerous Road

   Banff National Park
   Battle Hill Nat'l Hist. Site
   Boya Lake Prov. Park, BC
   Burns Lake Bike Park
   Canyon Sainte-Anne
   Dawson Creek
   Eastern Townships
   Fort Nelson
   Jasper National Park
   Kluane Lake, YK
   'Ksan Historical Village
   Lake Louise
   Liard Hot Springs
   Niagara Falls
   Quebec City
   Thousand Islands
   Vancouver Island
   Watson Lake

   Forbidden City
   Great Wall at Mutianyu
   Hong Kong
   Summer Palace
   Terracotta Warriors
   Tiananmen Square
   Yungang Caves

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


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


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

   Dead Vlei
   Elondo Village
   Etosha Nat'l Park
   Hippo Pools Camp
   Hoba Meteorite
   Khowarib Camp
   Moose McGregor's Bakery
   Mowani Camp
   Ngepi Camp
   Nkasa Lupala
   n'Kwzi Camp
   River Dance Lodge
   Seisriem Camp
   Treesleeper Camp

   Cañón del Pato
   Cerro de Pasco
   La Oroya
   Machu Picchu
   Nuevo Jaén
   Tingo Maria
   Yungay Memorial


South Africa

   Rock of Gibraltar
   Santillana del Mar

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