72 – Praia da Adraga, Portugal

There’s a wedding on when we get to Praia da Adraga and we see whole families arriving in their finery and heading down to the beach. The chairs are set out in the sand and everyone sits facing the sea as the ceremony unfolds. It’s a beautiful backdrop – foaming white waves, smooth sand, black rocks rising like teeth from the shore. Apart from wedding guests, it’s relatively quiet, and we find an empty spot by the base of the cliffs to eat our lunch.

The sun is hot and persistent, so the cold of the Atlantic is unexpected. It is icy against sun-warmed skin and it takes time and courage to fully submerge ourselves. There aren’t many people in the water – and now we know why! Still, the body soon adjusts and instantly the overbearing heat of the day is stripped away. The black rocks on shore are majestic to look back on from water level and the waves are just big enough to ride without fear, letting your feet be lifted with the peaks and deposited back on the bottom as they pass, move on and crash into shore.

Drying off, I look around at all the people, most of them Portuguese with a handful of tourists thrown in, who are enjoying the beauty of this hidden spot. Surfers ride above the water, families play in the shallows and the wedding guests celebrate on the sand.

I’m raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society. Please sponsor me at http://www.justgiving.com/swimbonnieswim

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