It is always good to go back for a visit. Checking how your friends and family are doing. Driving the good old car, through the good old neighborhood where you were born and raised. Eating out at some of your favorite restaurants. Tasting the best traditional food and snacks that you’ll not find anywhere else in this world. Hanging out at the same coffee places and bars. Sunbathing at the same exact beaches where you used to spend vacations when you were a kid.
Although I’m not happy with the current economic situation in Portugal, I still love the country where I was born, and I do have to admit that it is a wonderful destination to spend vacation, or to live, depending on your financial situation. Who wouldn’t like to live in a country with such amazing weather and such incredible coastline?
In June 2017 I flew to Portugal for vacation and I visited some of my favorite beach destinations, where I spent many days of my life during my youth.
Costa da Caparica
Located on the western coast of the district of Setúbal, south of Lisbon, Costa da Caparica reminds me mostly of my mother and the summers we spent together. That was the place we chose to spend a two-week vacation every year between 2006 and 2012.
For two weeks every summer, we would spent vacation together, with no car, no computers and no one else. That was our “Vacation Agreement”. It was all about enjoying the beach. I really loved those times. I miss them so much, that I wish I could go back 10 years in time.
Last year, when I travelled to Portugal, I knew I had to visit this place and of course my mother had to be there with me. I met her at her place, where I lived my entire adolescence and then we drove her old Peugeot 206 across Lisbon and the 25th of April Bridge towards Costa da Caparica.
Other than street art added to some of the walls that can be found in this town, nothing seemed to have changed. We started by visiting the city’s Urban Garden where we used to go for a walk every day. I felt really nostalgic.
From there we walked all the way to the beach. Even though the weather wasn’t that great, the view was spectacular. The waves crashing on the beach, old people walking the piers, seagulls squawking… I had to move to Sofia, where no sea can be found within a range of 300 kilometers, to start appreciating it. We only value things and people after we’ve lost them.
Of course this wouldn’t be a normal visit to Costa da Caparica without going for my favorite dish. Cooked snails! “Disgusting!”, that’s probably what you’re thinking right now.
Fonte da Telha
That is the name given to my favorite Portuguese beach, also located on the western coast of the district of Setúbal, south of Costa da Caparica. Another place that brings back so many memories from my childhood.
Before my parents split up, together with my sister, we would travel to Fonte da Telha, to spend the day at the beach. By 7a.m we would be on the road and the radio would be playing some of the greatest hits from the 90s. Lighthouse Family was one of the bands that played on the radio all the time. My parents always loved to get to the beach as early as possible. I believe it was probably because they wanted to be the first ones to put down their towels.
I kept visiting this place as I grew up. Not that often of course, but at least once a year, I would drive to Fonte da Telha to spend the day.
When I visited Portugal last year, I kept the tradition. I travelled to this beach accompanied by my girlfriend, her mother and a few friends. It was crowded! Not with people, but with seagulls. I managed to get some really good photos!
However, it didn’t take long to understand that it was impossible to stay there for more than a few hours. It was extremely windy! Something I’ve always known is that sand and wind do not combine. We ended up leaving and stopping at “O Dias dos Caracóis” for their speciality, snails! (Caracóis means Snails in Portuguese, by the way)
This one is a must-visit if you ever visit Portugal. Sesimbra is a small fishing village located on the southern part of the Peninsula de Setúbal, mostly famous being one of Portugal’s best diving locations, and for being one of the best places to celebrate carnival.
While Costa da Caparica reminds me of my mother, Sesimbra reminds me mostly of my father. Not that we hadn’t visited when they were still together, but since they’ve split, Sesimbra became my father’s favorite destination, where he ended up renting a flat. Throughout the last 15 years I have spent hundreds of weekends in this town and I’ve celebrated the New Year’s Eve in three different years.
I’ve been there so many times that I eventually got bored and stopped going. Of course life was not that easy anymore, I had to start working when I was 18 and free time became short. I didn’t feel like spending the only free days of my life, visiting the same place over and over again. In the winter it isn’t that nice. It rains and a lot and there’s nothing to do.
However, I still believe that this is an incredible summer destination. It’s not that expensive and it combines amazing crystal clear water beaches, incredible gastronomy and really nice people!
In July 2017, together with my girlfriend and my dad, I travelled to Sesimbra for a weekend. It was good to be back. I managed to sunbath and swim during a hot summer day, see old faces, eat some of the most amazing dishes out there and shoot some really good photos. It felt good to be back.
All photos above were shot in 2017. Click them to enlarge!