Travel Photos Home Page
Travel Photos...Spain and Portugal

Nazare, Portugal

To return to the Paintings section of this website, please CLICK HERE
I caught a bus from Lisbon to Nazare (pronounced Na-Za-Ray).

On the way we passed the walled village of Obidos. I wanted to do a day trip to Obidos but it was not to be, alas. All I have of Obidos is this photo taken from the bus as we went by.

Ah well, I will just have to return to Portugal soon and pay a special visit to Obidos.

Nazare used to be an important fishing village, but it is now mainly a very popular tourist destination.

The colourful fishing boats used to be parked on the wide beach, but now they are safe in their own harbour. In the top right hand corner of this photo you can see the break-water and the entrance to the present day fishing port.

Nazare is split into two levels. This photo was taken from the high ground in Nazare Norte, where my B&B was located. The funicular, seen at the bottom of this photo, quickly and efficiently takes locals and tourists up to Nazare Norte.
Before the funicular was built, the locals would have had to trudge up and down the path which can be seen at the top right hand corner of the photo. The path zigs zags all the way down to the beach level of Nazare.
The main reason I came to Nazare was to meet up again with a Finnish artist, called Axel Sutinen, who had once been a student at the art college in Sydney where I had taught. That is Axel on the left with his partner, Petri Salo, who is also an artist.
Axel and Petri had bought a derelict ruin of a building and gradually transformed it into a gorgeous home, using all kinds of recycled material from other buildings that were being demolished.
Petri had cooked a delicious vegetarian lunch which we enjoyed on their terrace overlooking Nazare. You can just see the vertical line of the funicular in the distance.
This is the Municipal Market of Nazare (the Mercado). The reason I mention the Mercado now is because in one corner of the market is a cafe owned by Fernando.
This is Fernando's Cafe in the Mercado.

We came here because it is a favourite haunt of the expat artists from all over Europe who have made their home in Nazare. We met up with Axel and Petri's many friends from places like Finland, Norway, Ireland and Germany. As one would expect from those civilised Europeans, they all spoke English with great fluency.

Fernando looked at my website and was most complimentary about my paintings. While I was in Nazare, Fernando point blank refused to accept any money from me for all the coffees I drank in his cafe.

Muito Obrigado, Fernando!

Axel and Petri's house is on that ridge in the middle disatnce, but somewhat to the right, beyond the borders of this photo.
I started exploring the high ground where I was staying, called Nazare Norte.
This Church, called the Igreja Nossa Senhora da Nazare, is in the main square of Nazare Norte.
The interior of Igreja Nossa Senhora da Nazare.
The blue tiles of the mural act as a cool foil to the gold of the Manueline styled altar.
This photo was taken from the Church porch, facing South.
Evening light in Nazare Norte.
On the beach, looking West towards the lighthouse.
A remnant of the old town walls.
These are a few of the remaining traditional fishing boats of Nazare. As I mentioned earlier, in the past the boats were parked on the beach.
The present fishing fleet, though small in number, have good shelter in the harbour at the Southern end of Nazare.
A well fed resident of the fishing harbour.
The Lighthouse of Nazare sits atop the old fortress of Sao Miguel.
The Fortress of Sao Miguel.

Just when we thought that Nazare was just a pleasant fishing village with a lovely beach, we discover that it has become a Mecca for Extreme Surfing. It has recorded some of the biggest surfing waves on the planet.

This is a photo from the New York Times. The caption reads:"Garrett McNamara setting a world record by streaking down the face of an estimated 100-foot breaker".

The NYT explains:

"There are big wave spots far from land, like Cortes Bank 100 miles west of San Diego, Calif. But there are very few in coastal areas, because the gently sloping continental shelf normally flattens out the giants, gradually sapping their strength before they can reach land. But this small part of the Portuguese coast sits at the end of a giant funnel called the “canyon of Nazaré,” 130 miles long and 16,000 feet deep (at its deepest), that points like an arrow toward the town.

"The canyon, said Luis Quaresma, an oceanographer at the Lisbon-based Instituto Hidrografico, creates “a highway for the swell,” which arrives with a lot of energy, very close to the beach. “While the waves here are almost always imposing, local people say, occasionally — on average, once a year — a few swells of almost unimaginable height will roll in,” he said."

I am told that the canyon in the ocean just a few hundred metres from shore was caused by a huge ancient volcano. If it were on land, the canyon would be deeper than the Grand Canyon of Colorado in the USA.

And on that note, we say farewell to Nazare.

To return to the Paintings section of this website, please CLICK HERE