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 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!
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!