Porto covo is a charming fishing village on the coast, a couple of hours south of Lisbon. We see very few foreign tourists – the beach goers are mostly local families. The buildings are whitewashed and the beach is at first hidden behind the car park. We walk past two young girls who have set up a stand selling home-made string bracelets.
When we get out to the cliffs we see the beauty. The coast stretches away in either direction, yellow-gold rocks crumbling ruggedly into the blue Atlantic. The beaches – and there are many – are in small coves at the foot of towering cliffs. They are busy in the middle of the day, so we walk past the tiny harbour and out along wooden walkways on the cliff top that seek to prevent damage to the vegetation. Then we go back and down to one of the smaller coves.
Because of the angle of the bay and the way the rocks curve out under water, the waves are not too fierce. The tide is rapidly pulling out so I hurry in, grateful for the cool of the water. I swim toward a channel where the sea surges in then out again. At the end where it opens to the ocean, the waves crash into white spray, but where I am it’s a more controlled rise and fall. I like to feel the cold spray on my face as I paddle though, to hear the roar so close.
Soon, the water is so low I have to be careful not to skin my knees on the rocks. I go back and sit in the shallows for a while, and then dry off in the shadows of the cliffs.
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