Nazare, boats and some beach time, sort of.

It’s Thursday afternoon and we just got back from a day trip up the coast and back.  We are staying very close to Nazare, a small resort town and fishing village.  As is the case up and down the Portuguese coast, there are very few protected harbors.  In Nazare, they have carved out a very well protected little harbor inside of two gigantic breakwaters.   Inside is an interesting mix of commercial fishing craft and some sailing and power yachts.

Most of the boats in the harbor were less than 40′ and it was pretty clear where the pleasure boats and working craft were located.  Not together, as by and large, they didn’t mix.  I guess that the “yacht set” didn’t want to smell fish.

Me, I was drawn to the fishing boats and enjoyed seeing the many colorful boats. In the distance you can see the “other side of the harbor” where the yachts are.One group of fisherman were unloading their catch.  Note that the two boxes closest to the front are full of octopus. or would that be octopi?  Anyway, the other one has fish, or should I say fishes?Nazare has several miles of wide beaches and along the way were large racks of split fish drying in the sun.  Tasty yes?  “Mom…The fish are looking at me!!!  Tell them to stop.” We headed up the coast and stopped to watch the waves crashing up on the cliffs.  I can only imagine what this scene would be like in heavy weather.  In spite of it being a calm day, with no wind, the waves were sometimes crashing up as high as 100′ cliffs.   The noise was deafening.   If you think that these waves were more wimpy that I am describing.  Trust me, you had to be there.
It’s hard to understand how big these waves were and how high the spray was going.  However, one minute in this surf and you’d be crushed.

I guess this is like fishing and it’s always “the big one that got away”.  Anyway, if you look closely you can see some spray nearly up at the top of the cliff.  That’s Brenda standing at the top.  Still not convinced?  Oh well, I give up.  They looked big to me at least…

So, after that, we headed up the coast a bit further to have a late lunch.  We’d have eaten earlier but we weren’t able to find the place suggested as we blew by the “exit” on the coastal road. Anyway, we finally found it.  This beach was several miles long and nearly deserted.  We were told that, in the summer, it is mobbed.   The waves were huge here too.  Quite a few surfers. Interestingly, we drove along the coast through mile after mile of pine trees in what looked like a huge managed pine farm.  Nearly every tree for miles had these cuts in the bark to collect pine sap.  I wonder what this is used for.  You’d think that the process of cutting such a big slab of bark out would kill the trees, but it doesn’t.   We saw trees where the bark had grown back over the old scar. We did spend some time on the beach, no make that looking at the beach.  No swimming in monster waves for us chickens.  Besides, we are told that the water is always cold.  No, I’ll have an ice cream.  Brenda and I are happy to watch others in the cold surf.  Besides, it is nearly November.

Perhaps I should wrap this up for now and start to think about dinner.   I know, I’ll go wake up Brenda from her nap.  Yes, good idea.  Tonight we are going to head into the village for dinner at a place where locals eat.  

We got a bottle of wine at the the grocery and were stunned, as always, by how low the prices were.  There wasn’t a bottle in the place for more than six Euro. The best bottle of port was only 7.5 Euro.  No wonder many places have a sign that says “a meal without wine is breakfast”.   

I guess that we’ll share some wine to regain our strength after a hard day of almost going onto a beach before dinner.  Indeed…

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