By Antonio Malara
Cascais was the last place in Portugal I visited during my trip together with my travel partner in October 2018. Cascais was also the last day destination where I visited Sintra in the morning and Cabo da Roca in the afternoon. And it was from the westernmost point of Europe that we set off on board a bus where we reached Cascais in about an hour. This small town faced the sea but on the south side and was popular for having a very original place nearby called “Boca do Inferno”. This was a particular rock that had an arched opening on the sea which brought the water up to the widest and most circular part of the rock. The peculiarity, in addition to the beauty of the rocky ridge itself, was given by the tide which, when it was agitated, broke and passed through the "mouth" creating roars and throwing nebulised water into the air. I hadn't personally seen this process but already the rock formation had caught my attention enough to make me wishlist the place. As for Cascais, I hadn't studied anything and it was my intention to discover it that day, actually underestimating the city a bit.
We arrived in the city around 6 PM, near the train station. The city was small and we quickly found the main street. Cascais was a surprise, a bright place with low colored houses. The center was closed to cars and the main road was paved with small stone pebbles forming a wave-like pattern. In addition to this, the place was full of shops and a lot of people, in general there was a positive atmosphere. Walking we reached a very beautiful beach called "Praia da Rainha" it was a rocky basin but with very fine sand. Right in the middle of the beach there was a rock that people used as a location for photos, otherwise, the weather didn't give the opportunity to swim. The beach was further down the road and I personally would have loved to go down and explore it, however my partner and I would have definitely filled our shoes with sand and still had a long way to walk.
Our exploration took us to a very particular place: “Praia da Ribeira”. This square had a very beautiful style both for the paving made with regular bricks and for its shape which essentially reached the sea from the city where it was protected by low stone parapets. But the most beautiful thing there was a palace, called “Palácio Seixas” this was on one side of the square and ended up on the sea, it had a royal style and was built with stone blocks. In practice we spent the time there taking pictures of the glimpse of the building, something that got us to agree without arguing.
To reach “Boca do Infierno” we had to leave the center and take a wide road which in twenty minutes took us to the coast outside the city. Even before arriving at the site, I noticed how all that part that overlooked the sea was completely rocky, with high gorges and the water that crept between them. "Boca do Infierno" was shaped like a half moon and beyond the slamming waves and the particular noise they produced, the place was beautiful and particular even from an aesthetic point of view. In fact, a small part of rock formed a kind of bridge that connected two banks of much larger and more imposing rocks. The water entered from under the arch and then widened until it reached the cost that was underneath us. The high position overlooking the gorge allowed us to enjoy the show perfectly, we could see the whole path of the water from when it entered until it widened. Surely that scene also had a latent sexual component that I, on the other hand, was able to notice in a rational way. Subsequently, skirting the gorge we reached the left side from where there was another beautiful view and there the pulverized sprays of water reached our faces. In all we stayed there for about twenty minutes, there was nothing else in that area and if I'm not mistaken there was only a small bar other than chemical toilets.
On the way back to the center, we took a different route passing through a square where there was an English pub with a very original design. That was the last place we stopped before returning to the station and actually saying goodbye to Cascais. However, even the return to Lisbon was particular because we had the "Lisbon Card" expiring, so we arrived at the station not yet knowing if the gates would open or not. Luckily for us, the card worked, so we took the train on the fly without waiting. Cascais was the last visit not only of the day but also of the whole Lisbon area and I perfectly remember that moment of excitement before taking the train, it was like a general greeting before returning home. Cascais was a very pleasant visit, a city of which I had no particular expectations and which turned out to be surprising in its simplicity.
Pictures: Antonio Malara
Camera: Fujifilm XT-20