As you will have seen our first day’s walk was not too long and followed the Portuguese coastline from Cascais to Guincho. On the first day the walking distance is always a bit shorter than most others because it is your opportunity to meet with the Route Manager and discuss the route, any last minute changes and exchange mobile ‘phone numbers.
The Santa Marta Lighthouse near Cascais
We spent a sunny Sunday morning in a park with Ana, our manager, as there was a big 10k race going on right outside our hotel meaning that access was made rather difficult. Ana had to explain to us that very severe storms last January had caused much damage along the route and some of the paths were now impassable. She had done her homework though, and walked the whole length trying to re-jig the route in just a couple of places. Luckily she was also on the end of the ‘phone when we needed a bit of clarification on a couple of days.
Boca do Inferno
Boca do Inferno
Boca do Inferno and Guia Lighthouse
Our route that morning was busy and ran parallel with the coast road. Lots of walkers, families, joggers and cyclists shared the route with us. We passed lighthouses and dramatic coastal features and were able to take a brief break at The Forte de Sao Jorge de Oitavos. Not far from Cascais is the Boca do Inferno or Hell’s Mouth. “This is a natural chasm and the sea water has access to the very bottom of the chasm so when the sea is unsettled the effect is quite impressive!” [From our Route Booklet] Even when the sea is pretty calm the effect is still pretty impressive! There is a viewing area just down from the path.
The Cabo Roso Lighthouse
Probably about midway between Cascais and Guincho is the The Forte de Sao Jorge de Oitavos. It’s a handy visitor’s centre along the coast and has exhibitions and displays as well as a sheltered courtyard out of the wind. It was built as a defensive fortification against possible landings by pirates or invaders between 1642 and 1648.
Approaching the Fortaleza [yellow building]
The shortish walk meant that we arrived at our most luxurious hotel The Fortaleza do Guincho in the early afternoon giving us plenty of time to relax and read enjoy a late lunch and later an afternoon tea on the sunny terrace overlooking the dramatic waves and nearby beaches followed by a bar meal dinner in the sumptuous lounge area. We needed this rest and recuperation after the long day of travelling the day before and the next day’s walk – the longest of the trip.
The much-appreciated Afternoon Tea at The Fortaleza