Saturday, July 27, 2019

The Cliffs on Cascais

Room for everyone

The train from Lisbon to Cascais was crowded, so crowded that at one stop people could not get on our car. Many of the people on the train were carrying coolers, beach chairs and umbrellas, and as we travelled along the coast many got off at stops along the way. I figured they were making day trips to the many beaches along this strip of the Portuguese coast. Cascais also has beaches but they are usually framed by steep rocky cliffs.

Today we left the apartment and rather than going down to the historic town centre, we turned right and walked out to the coast. We found a spectacular visitor friendly area. There is a road that meanders up the coast, and running beside it is a nice two way bike lane and a sidewalk. There were actually more bicycles on the route today than cars, and many people out walking. The route is flat and an easy walk or bike. We may rent bikes and explore further up the coast on another day.
The spectacular cliffs at Cascais

The views all along are spectacular. There are no beaches here, just jagged black stone cliffs. In places there are large fissures in the rock bringing the waves crashing in closer, sometimes actually under the roadways through curved bridges. The sidewalk is separated from the cliff edge by a short stone wall, but you can see where many visitors are tempted to climb over the wall to get a view from the cliff edge, ignoring the “Unstable Cliff” signs. I did climb over the wall to take a picture at a spot that looked pretty safe, and while composing the shot, I noticed a pin and carabiner in the rock. I then noticed that a rope attached was moving and suddenly a helmeted head came into view; a rock climber. I guess those cliffs are not actually so unstable. Fortunately
An unexpected arrival
strategically positioned along the route are designated view points where you can get closer to the action. At one point the rocks sloped gently down towards the water and you could get close enough to watch the water thunder into a cavity and blow mist up through a hole in the rock. If you stood close enough you would get misted every time a wave crashed. It was a warm day, but I was not hot enough to be tempted by this natural cooling spray.

On one of these cliffs overlooking the harbour to the town of Cascais there was a large fort built at one time obviously to protect the harbour from attack. Instead of restoring this fort, and making it a park, it has been turned into a hotel. Now you might say “How unfortunate!”, but in fact it seemed to work very well. The hotel has retained all of the old fortress outer walls and
The old and the new
the arched entry. They have converted some of the original inner fort buildings to Hotel use and added many modern hotel buildings to the site, but the modern sections do not reach much above the old walls, so the effect is quite nice. In addition, the fort courtyard has been converted to an art centre with galleries and studios all around. There were many large art installations throughout the complex, so the mixture of the old and new made for an interesting visit.

We also found a great restaurant among the art galleries. Surprisingly it was quite reasonable and unlike the many busy, noisy cafes downtown this one was quiet and peaceful, and we enjoyed a delicious lunch of Portuguese food.

All in all, it was a great day, although when Regis checked her fitbit we had walked 12 km and she is supposed to limit her walks to 3 km.
A cooling mist from the blowhole

Beat you to the top!

Rugged Rocky Coastline

1 comment:

  1. This looks like a place I would love to see! So beautiful. I love the jagged rocky coastline. Glad you two are having a great visit! Thanks for the pictures and posts 😀