We drove from Evora to Nasare.
- We drove to Pavia to see the dolmen, Anta de Pavia,that was converted to a chapel.
- Small cute town.
- We stopped in tiny cafe to use the WC and ordered two espressos. The cafe was filled with local men in the middle of the day.
- From there we drove directly to Nazare on the toll road.
- We stopped for gas at a toll road service station. I thought I needed to pre-pay the gas because the pump wasn’t responding. I went inside the building and prepaid Euro 50 for diesel (black handle gasoleo – regular diesel, not Ultima Diesel). After filling the tank, which took less diesel than I expected, and requested a refund. The lady behind counter did not speak English and appeared to indicate I should have filled the tank, then pay for the fuel. Fortunately, an English speaking customer helped resolve the issue and I got some money refunded.
- AirBnB apartment
- When we got to Nazare, we worked our way through the tiniest streets to get to the new condo; thanks maps.google street view. We called the owner, Dino, and he came several minutes after we called. He showed us where to park the car in the garage. Then we went to the condo. Great place. He gave us keys to the apartment door and left.
- Once we settled into the apartment, we went out and bought breakfast pastries at a local bakery. The people behind counter in the bakery did not speak English. I used my phone’s “translator” app for communications. We weren’t sure what they all were, so breakfast will be a surprise.
- For dinner we went to t A Lanterna – For dinner we had a Portuguese specialty; Cataplana-lobster, shrimp, clam, mussels in a wonderful fish broth with tomatos and onions. It is served in a copper pot.
- When we returned to the apartment, we couldn’t get into the entrance courtyard or the building. After several tries and routes to get into the building, we called Dino (owner) for help. He showed up on his scooter in a few minutes. It turns out, we needed the CODE for the electronic lock to get in. What a way to end the day.
Anta de Pavia (Atla Obscura)
Even without its history, the Anta de Pavia would stand out. In the dead center of a square in Pavia, surrounded by white-washed, red-roofed buildings, is a giant boulder that has stood there for centuries.
Originally a dolmen, the 4 meter high stone was used as a burial chamber before paganism fell out of favor. When Christianity supplanted most other beliefs, the massive rock was re-designated a small chapel dedicated to São Dinis in the 17th century. The inner chamber of the dolmen was turned into the nave of the chapel, and although it remains sparse, the interior features a small blue-tiled altar.
While the chapel is an interesting landmark, it is even more so as it tells a common story of the conversion of medieval Portugal, and many similarly converted pagan structures exist across the country. However not all Portuguese have given up the old ways and while praying to Christ, many are known to slip in a prayer to the old gods.
Nazare (Rick Steves)
Nazaré is an ideal place for a Portuguese beach break (especially if you’re not making the long drive south to the Algarve). It falls somewhere between a real-life, narrow-laned fishing village and a busy resort with a beach littered with frolicking families. You’ll be greeted by the energetic applause of the surf, widows with rooms to rent, and big plates of percebes (barnacles). Relax in the Portuguese sun in a land of cork groves, eucalyptus trees, ladies in petticoats, and men who stow cigarettes and fishhooks in their stocking caps.
It seems that most of the town’s 15,000 inhabitants are in the tourist trade,
but it’s not at all hard to find pockets of vivid and authentic culture. Somehow Nazaré traditions survive, and the townspeople go about their old school ways. Stroll through the market for some ideal people-watching. Wander the back streets for a fine look at Portuguese family-in-the-street life.
Laundry flaps in the wind, kids play soccer, and fish sizzle over tiny curbside
hibachis. Squadrons of sun-dried and salted fish are crucified on nets pulled tightly around wooden frames and left under the midday sun. (Locals claim they are delightful…but I wouldn’t know.) Off-season Nazaré is almost empty of tourists—inexpensive, colorful, and relaxed, with enough salty fishing village atmosphere to make you pucker.
Nazaré doesn’t have any real “sights.” The beach, tasty seafood, and the funicular ride up to the Sítio headland (for a great coastal view) are the bright lights of my lazy Nazaré memories. Plan some beach time here. Sharing a bottle of chilled vinho verde on the beach at sundown is a good way to wrap up the day