At last, the end of my Portugal chronicles just in time for our trip to Montana this weekend. Why do I procrastinate on these? I couldn’t tell you…perhaps an attempt to make the memories last just a bit longer, especially in the case of this especially lovely, low-key day: our first wedding anniversary, celebrated in our style of simple indulgence.
I declare our wedding anniversary my favorite holiday of the year, to be celebrated by experiencing a new place together every year–whether that mean traveling across an ocean or across town. The morning started with espresso served in proper cups while overlooking town. Being a Saturday, it was relatively quiet.
After breakfast, we set out in search of Azenhas do Mar-it seemed like a straight shot from town along one road, but judging from our past attempts at navigation ala Google, I wasn’t convinced. Even still, we set out through town-past the restaurant where we celebrated the night before and a butcher I promised to return to on our way back.
We spent the next hour walking along a sleepy road that wove past vineyards and through a pine forest filled with grand homes, some with the requisite beasts en garde who I learned to greet in a sing song voice from observing the locals- not sure I have the knack just yet. At last we approached the sea, first passing cafes filled with locals catching up over a morning coffee and even a birthday party in the making.
Azenhas do Mar is simply wonderful and very deserving of a visit, even just a quick one. This village is nestled on the side of a cliff, while the ocean roars below. In high tide in summer, the pool below fills below and swimmers hop in. On this day we were simply happy with the views and a quick wander before starting our journey back.
Once in town I stopped in at the butcher I spotted earlier before returning to my grocery spot to load up on supplies for our anniversary lunch. Once back, we got to work compiling a feast in our little rented kitchen; just like on our wedding day one year before, come to think of it. Sweetly enough, after lunch I looked out upon the square hoping to catch the fishmonger said to bring his offerings in the afternoon- no such luck- but instead the square was filled with people celebrating a wedding.
Never wanting to be defeated, we set out for one last attempt at finding the Capuchos convent. If you have been following along, I think you can predict the end of this story. We braved treacherous roads were met with private property and were not at all successful. This place was just not meant to be found. Instead, though, we ended up at the Monserrate Palace–a massive summer property that for years was abandoned and broken into here and there but is now a regal visiting site.
We reluctantly admitted defeat and made our way back to town, first stopping to admire an abandoned, stand alone home right at the end of town-a venda– for sale. This is where I insert my Portuguese version of Under the Tuscan Sun and tell you we left everything and bought the house then and there…not quite. We dreamed, though! And drew conclusions about our future plans for adventure and creating a life we are excited by; That’s what I call inspiration.
So thank you for your hospitality, Portugal: While our still-slightly-under-the-radar status is good for us travelers, I know it is not good for you and that is selfish of me to think, so you better believe I’m going to spread the word.