Day three of the Portuguese trip brought me to a few unexpected places. To start with, I didn’t have any plans at all. It would be a day when I let Mr. DS take me around in his car, since he’d know better where to go. I thought we’d mostly be exploring Lisbon again, but the first thing Mr. DS said was, “I’m gonna take you to Cascais, it’s such a nice place.”
Then he asked me if there were places I’d like to go to. I told him that I had originally planned to go to Sintra, but ended up heading to Óbidos with my friends instead. He thought for a little bit and told me, “You know what, I’ll take you to Sintra as well, it’s not so far from here.” Wah, extra plus!
Cascais is approximately 30 km west of Lisbon, and Sintra is another 20 km or so to the north. After having a light lunch by the sea in Cascais, we hopped onto the car and as I thought we were going to Sintra, Mr. DS decided that on the way there, we’d stop by Cabo da Roca first. Ah, what a spontaneous guy! Where exactly ARE we going?!
This is Cabo da Roca, supposedly known as the westernmost point on continental Europe. The view of the sea and the cliffs was simply breathtaking! This is why I was so glad to have Mr. DS, the most authentic Portuguese I’ve ever know, as my companion during the trip. Of course, the car helped greatly. Without Mr. DS, I would definitely have missed out on this detour, which was one of the best part of the day. It was a windy day, alright, more so by the sea!
“Worth it?” Mr. DS asked me. “Of course it was worth it!” I replied. He told me to be extra careful, especially when it’s windy. Cabo da Roca is a cape, so tourists run the danger of falling down the cliffs, and of course that would be the worst thing that could happen to you when you go on vacation…
Description of Cabo da Roca by the famous Portuguese poet, Luís de Camões “Aqui, onde a terra se acaba e o mar começa…[Here, where the land ends and the sea begins…]” The detour to Cabo da Roca only lasted about 20 minutes, because we didn’t have much time in one afternoon to stay too long. After the quick stop, it was time to head to…
…Sintra! Although I would have liked to roam around the historic centre a little bit, it was impractical because of the limited amount of time we had, and parking was extremely difficult to find. So Mr. DS drove up a mountain on very steep and narrow roads towards the castle of the Moors. There would be insufficient time to see the inside of Palace of Pena, so we opted to take a nice walk around the castle walls instead. Mr. DS said this reminded him a bit of the Great Wall of China, and it’s true!
On the way up from Sintra, I saw many gorgeous mansions hidden behind forests and bushes, and that is one unique thing about Sintra. Those huge, glamorous houses were everywhere, and you can see them all from the top, within the castle walls!
When this photo was taken, I screamed, “I know my hair is all over my face, but I don’t care!” The wind was so strong that day that it was virtually impossible to get any photo taken without my hair being in such a mess, but that doesn’t matter. What an amazing view of Sintra we get from up there!
The walk around the castle walls was a bit like a maze, but Mr. DS and I enjoyed it greatly, more so with each other’s company. I realized how talkative this man could be. Having been a teacher for 30 years, he loved to talk about his teaching career, education in general, politics, tourism, economics, travel…everything that you wouldn’t talk about in a French classroom! As my French teacher, our only interactions prior to this encounter was in a school setting, so what an experience it was to travel alongside Mr. DS as a friend!
There’s the Palace of Pena, which would cost us another 7 Euros or so to enter and at least 2 hours to explore. We unfortunately had to head back to Lisbon, so I could only see the colourful from the castle walls, on the other side of the mountain. What a lovely structure though!
On our way back to Lisbon, we had to pass by Cascais again, and again, Mr. DS decided spontaneously that we would drive to Boca do Inferno, the Mouth of Hell. Ha! This reminded me very much of the Grotto in Tobermory, with a much more picturesque description 😉 With the day being very windy, the waves mouth was certainly very “inferno”! If this is hell, then what is heaven like?
Enfin, we rested a bit in Cascais and had a little drink by the beach. Cascais was filled with fortresses like the one shown above. What a paradise this place would become during the summer!
So in the end, I had to say goodbye to my dearest Mr. DS. Most of the time I was with him, I was in disbelief that I actually found in, IN PORTUGAL, after so many years. And he was still so goofy, so spontaneous! His famous saying this time around was, “I’m not saying I’m any worse than before, but I’m still very much spaced out.” Oh, Mr. DS, how you amuse me! I will never forget the conversations about our grade 7 and 8 classes, your passion for fado, you telling me how much you love Lisbon, that phrase in Portuguese that you taught me…and you, most importantly you. You said that when you’re 90, I’ll be the one treating you, and I will remember that, sir. And I wish to one day bring you to China for all the greasy and unhealthy food that you wouldn’t mind trying, as you mentioned. If you are willing to go, I am willing to take you. You will always remain my most favourite teacher. Thank you for your time, your spirit, your love, and your company. À plus tard!