Sailing Long Distances

Cascais – the city of kings and fishermen


January 2020
Cascais was and is somewhat different from Lisbon and other cities in Portugal. It started its career as an elegant summer residence for the Portuguese kings of the 19th century. In neutral Portugal, it was a refuge for aristocrats during the Second World War. Over the past two decades, Cascais became a picturesque resort, a glamorous center for culture, nightlife, and a luxurious lifestyle.
Nevertheless, the town has retained its seafaring splendor, such as the elegant fortresses, lighthouses, and 17th-century citadel. And it’s the hometown of the Portuguese President, Marcelo Nuno Duarte Rebelo de Sousa. He lives next to the marina and takes a regular dip in the waters of a small beach nearby. Until now, we didn’t see him. Thus he is easy to spot – a person with at least two bodyguards at his side.
After nine months of travel without missing a car, the luxury of a rental overtook us. Friends fled the rain and coldness at home for a short visit and along with them a car.
Twenty minutes traveling west took us to the famous beach Praia do Guincho, which is part of the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park. The dunes and the breaking waves of the Atlantic Ocean were the shooting location of the opening scene of a 1969 James Bond movie ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.’ Handsome James, played by George Lazenby, plunges into the waves and rescues lovely Tracy, Diana Rigg. Today the beach is especially popular among water sports fans.
We left the pleasant beach Guincho and continued to Cabo da Roca, the most western point of the European mainland. Early December, we passed the lighthouse on the seaside. In the warm light of the setting sun, it shone red like a huge bonfire. Standing in front of it a month later, I was surprised to note its height above the water. Less surprising were the numerous people, who we could see from the seaside as well. It looks like the word has spread as far as China. Many visitors of the far eastern country flooded the site and did what they are known for, smiling at everything resembling a camera …Read More