Day 21: Saving the Best for Last

Today was another light sightseeing day, as it was our last full day in Portugal and we had lots to do to organize for our return trip to Chicago. As a bonus, it was a beautiful (sometimes) sunny day.

One of my many (willing) subjects

One of my many (mostly willing) subjects

We were out and about at the crack of 11am and headed east along the coast into the Parque Natural da Arrabida. There is a drive (the N379-1) that takes you along the coast between Sesimbra and nearby Setubal, with stops at little beach areas. It was a beautiful, peaceful drive and fairly desolate at many of the stops we made, although due to the narrow roadways and limited parking we surmised it must get quite difficult to navigate during high season.

Another willing subject, although only to a point

This crab stopped to pose for a minute before heading back to work

Our first stop was to Portinho Beach, where we moseyed up and down the sand for a bit and I picked up and inspected just about every seashell and added more photos to the Seabird Series. Then we drove east to Figuerinha Beach, where we had a direct view of… Troia. As in, the place where it all began for us on mainland Portugal. While it had only been two weeks since we found ourselves naively driving out to the very point of that peninsula in search of good viewing points for the Sado Estuary Reserve (again, a Tip: don’t), we had seen and experienced so much since then that it felt like a lifetime. But we found it to be pretty funny how we managed to come full circle.

Where the sea meets the sky

Where the sea meets the sky

Once we reached Setubal we cut inland and up the steep cliff just a bit to take N379-1 back west, only this time we were literally taking the high road that runs parallel with the low road and now had a birds-eye view. While the lower road was fantastic, allowing direct access to beaches, the high road was even more spectacular, affording tremendous vistas from the numerous viewpoints along the way of the towns, beaches, trees, and turquoise water (I think the photo sums it right up). By this point in the trip we’d seen some pretty fantastic scenery, but for me, this was the best of all we’d seen.

After taking in the scenery from every single viewpoint, we slowly started making our way back to the apartment, only stopping at one grocery store along the way. Like the Portuguese are with chapels, churches, and cathedrals, we just couldn’t help ourselves. Back at the apartment we proceeded to pack and get ready for our early start and long travel day ahead, where we would sadly bid adeus to Portugal.

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