Go West

After our mighty Morocco adventure, we cross the Straight of Gibraltar back to our beloved Tarifa. There, we have a little celebration to say goodbye to Sonny and Yael who are on their way back to The Netherlands. Sonny´s grand guacamole, together with other nibbles and generous amounts of wine make our last Monopoly game much more exciting, and also at some point in time somehow the Monopoly notes and board get showered in red wine. Yes, I am afraid it was me. We also totally forget to take any photos during the evening, so the words will have to be enough for now. Tarifa is our home for the few days, since our front tyres need replacing, so we relax and enjoy this pretty town and some of its restaurants. Taberna La Morena  (http://tabernalamorena.com) very much stands out. We eat a small collection of greatly unforgettable dishes, like the artichokes with baby squid and soft boiled egg or the butterfish with spicy mango sauce and couscous. Delicious!

With our brand new tyres we head west and attempt, without success, to visit the famous Doñana National Park. After being fortunate to be in several National Parks in 5 different continents, I can say that this one is the most cumbersome and hard to enter. Sadly! To cure our frustration we follow the Village People advice and continue to Go West. Soon we reach Portugal and arrive in the pretty little village of Canela Velha, with cobbled streets, white houses and great ocean views.

Life is peaceful there (Go West) / In the open air (Go West) / Where the skies are blue (Go West) / This is what we’re gonna do (Go West) / We will love the beach (Go West)

Go West – Village People

The Village People proof to be right again as we arrive to Praia Marinha, the beginning of the 7 Valleys trail. The views are stunning. The colour combinations mesmerising, with the warm earthy orange and yellow cliffs sinking into the fresh turquoise and deep blue of the ocean. The air along the trail is aromatised by the scents of thyme, pine trees and juniper. The white seagulls nest on the rocks.

We reach the most Southwestern point of the European continent at Cabo Sao Vicente. The wind blows hard, the sea is rough and the views are spectacular. A lighthouse, like a cherry on top of a magnificent cake, adorns the edge of the mighty cliffs and gives guidance to the sailors with its redemptive light. Once more nature surprises us in this rocky windswept corner of the world, with low vegetation that strongly hugs the grounds and carpets the inhospitable environment.

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Bordering the wild west Portuguese coast we arrive to the little town of Porto Covo, where the immense waves spray the sunset with salted delights.

Returning to Lisbon is like a balsam for the heart. Its many hills are like the penitence to redeem your sins, its old trams are the soundtrack of time, its restaurants a taste of heaven, its tiles the colours of imagination, its view points the windows to its charming anatomy, its people the most hospitable souls.

The piece that puzzles us a bit is arriving to the city and finding a full display of the armed forces, including navy, land and air, mounted forces and music band, standing in front of the red carpet. For a second we wonder if they really have made all this preparations for welcoming us back. True that we love the city, but we expected to be incognito and this is a bit much… Then we see him,´El Presidente´, Marcelo Nuno Duarte Rebelo de Sousa, has prepared the reception for the Peruvian president, who also happens to be in town. As they look to us though, they seem to be very happy to see us.

Without a scar of disappointment we go on our way to walk through the city once more and admire its tiled and colourful facades.

We wonder at its meridional skyline framed by the river.

We fall in love once more with its old yellow trams.

We enjoy the warm lights of the city at night.

We take an excursion to the coastal towns nearby, including another geographical point of significance the Westernmost point of the European continent, Cabo da Roca, where we enjoy a gorgeous sunset with old friends Alfredo, Cristina and daughter Teresa. Who had previously welcomed us to their home with an amazing lunch.

We also spend short but memorable times with more than 20 year old friend Carlos and met more recently but equally wonderful, Vera and Jose.