After three days in Lisbon it was time to explore the Portugal countryside. Our plan was to hike as much as possible and get to know the country. I usually like to settle in one place for a few days – but sometimes that first time visit to a country requires a bit more movement and exploration. And with the promise to come back.
We headed to the coast and hiked from Praia de Maças south. Our hope was to see if we could find the dinosaur tracks on the wall near Praia Grande as recommended by our friend and co-worker Andy Mason and his wife Kelly.
Praia de Maças is really cute and I only wish we had stayed long enough to have a cold beer in a chair on the beach. On our way out of town we passed the little tram that goes from Sintra (inland about 10 miles) to the beach. Next time. Odd side note – in Praia de Macas – the main street through town is called Avenida Eugene Levy. If anyone can explain this to me – I would love to know. (Yes yes I know a simple Google search would explain this but what fun is that?)
We hiked south up and over the cliffs that separate the beaches here – in Praia Grande – the biggest hotel pool I have ever seen and a lot of surfers.
At the end of the beach was a lengthy (and new) staircase right next to a cliff face. Thankfully Andy and Kel had informed us otherwise we might have missed the fact that the dinosaur tracks are on this vertical cliff face. It seems that millions of years ago this cliff was a flat muddy plain.
At the bottom of the staircase was a warning – only 6 people are allowed to lean on the railing at a time. Hmmm – sure enough as we discovered – to get a good view of the footprints – you do find yourself leaning out as far as possible on this railing. The three of us were alone so no fear of breaking a railing – we hope.
Impressive sight and so glad Andy and Kel had tipped us on this once in a lifetime experience. We hiked a bit further down the coast – discovering one secluded beach after another. Portugal is a great place to hide!
And looking out at the Atlantic – imagining Magellan or Vasco de Gama heading into the expanse of water – not knowing where they were going or what they would discover – sea monsters, mysterious islands, the edge?