Living in Praia das Maçãs was the first time I’d ever lived next to the ocean. We fell asleep to its engines turning over through the night, and we walked the pups on the sand. And I would stand and watch the waves…their blues and greens in a kaleidoscope of colors that never ceased to fascinate me.
I’ve spent only a few bruising hours on a surfboard, but loved it. Mostly I loved being in the waves, feeling them rush over, and riding the afterflow into the beach. Our first New Year’s Day together in Portugal, S and I drove up to Peniche to have lunch and walk on those famous lidos.
And several times over the last four years, we made the trek to the mother of all Portuguese wave generators: Nazaré.
We went first just to visit the town–it was a nice waypoint between Carcavelos and Porto on an early business trip. Next, I tapped into Magic Seaweed to predict when the 35-ft-plus waves would hit, and we drove up one weekend to witness their power. To stand near the lighthouse on the escarpment…then to go down to Praia do Norte and run with the pups–but not let them get too close to the surf–was to witness just what so many billions of gallons of water could thrust up and achieve.
Over the last couple of weeks, Nazaré has hit its first big waves of the season. That’s when everyone goes to see the sights, to climb up the ascensor and the rocks to get the best view–but not too close! You only see a certain side of Nazaré when it’s pumping.
View towards the north and…Praia Norte You know it’s small waves at Nazaré when you can see all of the rocks
These photos, however, are from a gentler time of year, in April 2019, when you could actually climb down the questionable stairs as far as you dare…because the waves were only 10 feet or so…a nothing as far as what could be…but so beautiful nevertheless. This is how I love Nazaré.