We needed to take care of a something so a swing down to Portugal this weekend was required. We love Portugal. The people, the towns and cities. The countryside.
As most readers of this blog remember, we came within a hairs breath of buying a house right above the beach on the Silver Coast. We moved into the house prior to closing before signing the final purchase documents. Luckily, Jeff added some terms to our purchase contract, including the requirement that it passed an independent survey showing the property matched the land registry and the building permits filed with the town hall. The house did not, and we backed out of the deal. It was a sad chapter but sometimes not getting what you thought you wanted leads to getting what you really needed. Our drive back to Valencia via Santiago and Palas on the way home meant we saw the sign on a gate, that led to a farm, that would eventually become our home. Things often work in our favor when we think all is lost.
This trip stopped in Leiria to take care of our business. Then walked around before a lovely lunch. I love Leiria and its warrens of little streets. They call it The Big Little City. The food scene here is wonderful. Many immigrants have settled here and food from all round the world is around every corner. We had lunch at Cardomomo – Portuguese Indian Thai fusion. I know, right? Sounds weird but its delicious food and the owners are wonderful people.
After lunch we headed to the beach. Its just 25 minutes from Leiria and we have a hotel room in Sao Pedro de Moel and one of our favorite beaches in the summer.
We walked down into the town for a drink in a beach bar and watched the high tide wreak havoc on the shoreline.
The heavy surf made us curious about how our almost house was faring down the beach. After living there for two months we has begun to notice the slope below the house was experiencing some erosion after a big September storm. So we decided to check it out and were shocked at what we found.
The sand is completely gone below the house. A beach that used to house colorful striped umbrellas and canvas cabanas for rent in summer. Handsome lifeguards on duty. Now there is no beach and the cement steps leading down have been completely washed away and you can see some of them sitting out in the water.
The hillside below the house has failed and debris with plants peeking out has recently slid down onto where the beach used to be. The lower terrace of the house will be in the sea within five years, we are very sure.
But there, amongst this bad news for the homeowners above and the displaced beach goers below, was something remarkable.
It turns out that under all that sand where we used to walk, is rock. Layers upon layers of rock. And those rocks are filled to the gills with fossils. Between waves we did some fossil hunting and the volume of prehistoric creatures trapped in the rocks is unbelievable.
Today we are heading to Nazare to watch the big wave surfers. 23 meter waves are in the forecast by the lighthouse. Should be fun to watch. Then our drive home tonight.
I’m so glad we got to check in with Portugal again. And while this visit solidified my feelings that we dodged a bullet with our home purchase here, this trip reminded me why we love this area and were attracted to it in the first place. Luckily, being in Galicia we are just a few hours away and a weekend on the Silver Coast of Portugal is no longer out of reach.