Nazeré, Portugal - 39 35.1 N 09 04.36 W
Charles & Maggie Bevis
Fri 9 Aug 2013 20:24
We took a venicular railway to the top of the cliffs and found ourselves in a really beautiful part of old the town. Gorgeous cobbled streets, a really lovely town square with market stalls, cafes and a splendid church. We don't normally go in much for looking inside churches but this one couldn't be resisted and was well worth the visit. A lot of hand painted ceramic tiles, centuries old, decorate the walls and corridors and the ceiling was a barrel shape covered in oak we think, very simple but very lovely.
The stalls in the square sell many traditional items, including embroidered table cloths together with many hand knitted items, in particular shawls, wraps and cardigans, and of course, all the usual cheap touristy stuff, I guess someone must buy it as there's plenty to be had! A football crazy nation, there are loads of stalls and shops selling 'T' shirts, almost all emblazoned with Ronaldo's image and name, clearly a favourite.
The square outside is paved completely in small cobbles stones and centuries of footsteps have polished them. The old town is spotless and clearly there is a deal of pride here. The people are very friendly and hospitable and happy. Something we didn't find so much of northern Spain!
Nazeré is very much a holiday resort and the beaches are fabulous, very long and clean, providing plenty of canvas beach huts and play areas together with a few water sports. The sea is a wonderful shade of turquoise and there is a good surf.
As I write this we are sat in a pleasant little cafe, immediately atop the cliff and overlooking the whole of the beach and town, it's a really magnificent view. We are waiting for lunch to arrive and although this coast is famous for its sardines, neither of us are particularly fond of them, so we've ordered freshly caught sea bass, and are enjoying a jug of sangria. There isn't a cloud in the sky and we have a gentle offshore breeze keeping us pleasantly cool, what could be better?
After lunch we cycled very slowly downhill and ventured around many of the lanes in the main town. It's wasn't too busy as many were still on the beach, but it's all very clean and extremely pleasant. A lot of new buildings naturally but also many old houses, which provide the character. We can quite see why it's a popular resort, it has everything a traditional family holiday needs to have, together with a pleasant and charming old style feel.
Portugal is on the same time zone as the UK so everything happens at a sensible time here, including evening dining. It was crazy in Spain, sometimes we couldn't get a meal before 9:30 or 10:00 pm, much too late and many dined even later. Also, everything stays open during the day, none of this crazy closing for three hours for lunch. So yes, Portugal suits us very well and if today is anything to go by, the people too, friendly, polite and welcoming.
Tomorrow we leave for Cascais which is about ten hours or so away, although if the wind picks up as it did on our way here, we'll be there even faster, but no night sailing this time. Alkira responds really well to a good wind and it's a great feeling. The weather looks good and settled, even better, the wind is in our favour, so we should actually be able to sail rather than motor.