A walk that takes you to Cabo da Roca, Sintra, the westernmost point of mainland Europe. The 16th-century Portuguese poet Luís de Camões described the place "Where the land ends and the sea begins" (Onde a terra acaba e o mar começa). My dog Chance and I set off from our home in the village of Azóia to find a path that crosses the headland to Cabo da Roca. We made our way to the run down local football field near the Bar Moinho Dom Quixote, a restored windmill, and followed the dirt road at the back until we met a smaller path on the hillside. We looked up to see a couple of peregrine falcons circling high up in the sky. We continued on this path, traversing the hill and down to a copse and we crossed a small stream. It was a steep climb the other side to reach Cabo da Roca and its lighthouse where the cliffs stand 140m above the crashing waves of the Atlantic. You can now understand the meaning of those famous words by Luís Camões. It was busy with day trippers so we didn't linger and set off on the main road to turn left onto a track and head towards "Praia da Ursa" (bears beach). Two enormous sea stacks stand in the wild Atlantic Ocean, one of them at a certain angle looks like a bear posing with pride. There is a legend that, a few thousand years ago, when the Earth was still covered in ice, a mother bear and her young lived here. When the ice started melting the Gods told all the animals to leave the sea shore but the stubborn bear refused to do so, because she was born there and she would stay. The angry Gods transformed the bear into rock and her young into smaller rocks dispersed around the mother and there they stood, giving the name to this beach. We then returned to the main tarmac road for a short distance to then turn left onto a dirt track that eventually took us to the small quaint village of Ulgeira, past the old church and onto the tarmac road back to the village of Azóia and home, just in time for afternoon tea.
A great day out in this beautiful region of Portugal.
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