Having left Peniche just after dawn, I had plenty of time to reach Nazare in daylight, just 24 nautical miles to the north. I ambled along at my usual 4 to 5 knots as the skies grew overcast and a strange mist rolled out over an oddly smooth sea. The scene would not have been out of place in an episode of the twilight zone, but at the time I was busy enough hauling in catch after catch with my recently salvaged blue fishing lure, to pay much attention to the unusual weather.
Photographed here are two fine specimens wrapped in paper towel soaked in seawater (to keep them fresh without refrigeration). But more were to come!
Nazare has an interesting geological feature (a deep sea trench) just offshore, which makes it a safe port of entry in even the worst conditions. I had little need for it on a flat sea, but it was comforting to know this nevertheless.
After making fast to the visitors pontoon early in the afternoon, I made my way to the marina office only to find it closed until 14:00. I entered the adjacent bar to wait and was stuck once more with the unnerving impression that I had somehow found my way into the twilight zone!
A roughhewn lot of fishermen sat quietly drinking coffee or beer as the television droned on unnoticed and gnats flew in lazy circles around the center of the room. I ordered what turned out to be a surprisingly good espresso and joined in with the unofficial Nazarean sport of gnat watching.
If fact, I enjoyed it so much, I decided to stay several days… but perhaps impending rain and the need to wait out the spring tides may also have played some small part in arriving at this decision. 🙂
Later, the surreal nature of this place was further emphasized, while exploring the port on foot. Stray dogs fought by a series of workshops, while angry fishermen interrupted with their net mending made ineffective attempts to separate them….. with of all things, oars! Well I guess it’s smarter than using your hands. 😉
Perhaps if I walked into town I might come across the path back to the real world?
Failing that, I’ll settle for a pizza.
As luck would have it, after coming across a couple of elderly ladies drying fish on the beach, (I didn’t purchase any), and a fisherman making nets (now that’s something I’m more interested in and I did purchase one), I stumbled upon my Shangri La and sat down to a magnificent feast of pizza napoletana (or should that be pizza portuguese).
Nazare is now in my book of places well worth the visit, marked as an atypical place with charm… (Oh, and decent pizza to boot).