Thursday, October 18, 2018

Nazaré, Portugal, October 18, 2018

I had a leisurely morning in Coimbra and on my way out of town passed under the former wall-


I parked, you can just about park anywhere without a problem - 2 deep, on a corner, on a boulevard, one on each side of the street with just enough room for a car to pass between, it doesn't really matter, and ended up at the steps up to the university where I'd been last night.  There's a great pastry shop next door so I had a piece of chocolate cake with lime filling - it was so good, a beer and a baked spinach and cheese pie, all for under $6.  The baking is so fresh and real - no cake mixes or Dream Whip or Cool Whip used here.  I then seemed to zigzag through town, I'm not sure if mapsme was making sure I saw everything or if it truly was the way out, but eventually I was on the freeway, heading to Nazaré.  It got warmer and warmer and clearer and clearer the closer I got to the Atlantic.  Traffic was light too which I liked.  The drivers are absolutely crazy.  The speed limit is 120 but if you drive that, you better stay in the far right lane.  I drove up to 140 and was passed like I was idling on the shoulder.  And, touch wood, I haven't seen an accident.

My room in Nazaré is in a house that was hard to find, but it's just steps to the main square and the Church of Nossa Senhora da Nazaré-


Inside is typical but at least it didn't cost anything to enter.  The columns are in Solomonic style and from the 17th century-


There are blue tiles on the corridors of the Sacristy dating from 1714-


And a much smaller pipe organ compared to yesterday-


Looks like Rudolph fell off the edge of the earth while Mary wonders how she'll get her presents.  This painting is called " A Combination of Myths"  - not really but why not?   Actually, it does represent a myth about Nazaré.  It seems that early in the morning of September 14, 1182, Dom Fuas Roupinho Alcalde of Porto do Mos was hunting near the coast when he saw a deer and started chasing it.  All of a sudden, a heavy fog rose up from the sea but the deer continued running away and Dom Fuas soon realized he was on the edge of the cliff.  He was next to a small grotto where a statue of Our Lady with Baby Jesus was venerated.  He prayed out loud for help and immediately his horse stopped at the end of a rocky point suspended over the void.  He and his horse were saved from a 100 metre fall.  He got off his horse and prayed again, giving thanks for the miracle.  Later, he ordered masons to build a small chapel over the grotto as a memorial for the miracle.  The myth, like many others, is on the wall of the church-


The legend also explains the very new statue called Veado near the Praia do Norte that incorporates today's surfing culture with the horns of a deer-


I walked through the square and looked over the wall - so gorgeou!


Nazaré has the biggest waves in the world, sometimes up to 20 meters.  A local told me they were only about 7-8 meters today and it was too windy so there were no surfers.  Apparently in 2011, American Garret McNamara set the world record surfing a 78 foot wave here and in 2013 shattered his own record by surfing a 100 foot wave at this very beach-




I went below the lighthouse and watched the waves crash in on the rocks-



It was so cool!  There were very few people on the beach and they were a long way down-


I spent the afternoon in a café in the sun, then bought supper and cooked for the first time.  Looking forward to a good sleep and visiting historical Obidos' old city as well as a castle, before heading further south to Sintra for the night.  

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