Nazare, Portugal: Putting the “Fun” in Funicular

Today, we rode the funicular up to Sitio to explore the north shore, home to the biggest waves in the world.  Last year, Garrett McNamara broke the world record for the largest wave ever surfed at 100 feet.  Ever since then, Nazare has been on the radar for places we’d like to visit. When we got up to the fort, we could see that there was a competition going on, and realized it was the APB World Championships for Bodyboarding.  We sat in tbe shade of the fort and watched through binoculars, looking down over the competition, and could hear the announcers from the beach.  We felt like we had VIP seats!

Afterwards, we explored the fort and found a big wave surf museum inside, along with information explaining why this spot forms such massive waves.  We went up onto the roof and saw the historic light on top.  We learned more history regarding Portugal.

Further history lessons awaited at the Church of Nossa Senhora da Nazare, which now houses a small Black Madonna, brought from Nazareth.  Legend tells of a Templar Knight, Dom Fuas Roupinho, who was saved, along with his horse, via intervention from Mary, from plumitting 100 meters off the cliff while in pursuit of a deer on a foggy morning on September 14, 1182.

Nazare: More Than Waves

Nazare is known as the place with the biggest waves in the world, but it is also like stepping back in time.  The people of Nazare are keeping the traditions and customs alive here. 

There is a market every morning where the locals go to get their fresh vegetables, baked goods, meats, nuts, fruits, and fish.  We learned we can go every morning and for only a few euro, we can get a delicious, fresh salad, chopped and ready to eat along with some baggets. We found the store across the street has fresh, hot Pastel de Nata for .35 euro, which is the best price for the best ones we’ve had so far.  

The women dress in traditional skirts with seven layers of petticoats.  They filet the fish and lay them out out drying racks on the beach, which we can see from our balcony.  You can wander down the street and see the women knitting and sewing items for sale.  The men are painting miniature fishing boats. Everyone is friendly and greets you, but you are not hounded or bothered while you look. 

The sand on the beach is clean and beautiful.  The pace here is slower and the sunsets have been breathtaking.  We will definitely come back and spend time here again!

Nazare, Portugal: Our Home on the Beach

We left Lisbon via a hike down the hill to the metro, metro to the bus terminal, and a two hour bus ride to Nazare – home of the biggest waves in the world. It was only a short walk to beach and we met Patricia, who gave us the keys to our home this week. Well, it didn’t take more than a minute to realize we SCORED!

Lisbon, Portugal: Portuguese World Explorers

Kirk and I, along with our friends, Russ and Judy, took a bus to Belem to check out the Martitime Museum.  I have to admit that I probably squeeked through history in school, but I find that I wish I had paid better attention now.  The scope of influence the Portuguese had in the age of exploration was amazing – far reaching.  I remember the names Magellan and DaGama, but I didn’t know they were Portuguese.  There was also Bartolomeu Dias who led the first expedition around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, and Pedro Alvares Cabral who discovered Brazil. 

Lisbon: Ferry Ride to Almada

Kirk wanted to check out the statue of Christ, “Cristo Rei” (Christ the King) which was modeled after the Chrst the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  Today’s adventure would take a trolly, the metro, a ferry and a bus ride. This also took us through the beautiful Praco de Comercio, a large square opening up Lisbon to tbe Targus River, bustling with activity.  The impressive city gateway that draws you in ftom the square, the mosaic work as far as you can see, the statues, street artists -they are all a lot to take in along the way.  And a little history lesson:

The 25 de Abril Bridge, the Golden Gate look-a-like, was opened in 1966, with the train tracks underneath added later in 1999.  It was built by The American Bridge Company and spans 2,277 meters across the Tagus river connecting Lisbon to Almada. The bridge was originally named Salazar Bridge until 1974, and renamed to commemorate the Carnation Revolution.

The Cristo Rei is a monument dedicated to God for saving Portugal from the effects of WWII – Portugal did not participate. The construction was approved in a Portuguese Episcopate conference held in Fatima on April 20, 1940, as a plea to God to release Portugal from entering WWII, however it was not until 1952 that construction began.