Light the road to Cascais

Today we began our Portuguese Caminho in earnest. We heard about the industrial and not so scenic walk out of Lisboa. Instead we walked one mile to the train station and took a 30 minute commuter ride to the seaside town of Estoril. This town has the largest casino on the Iberian Peninsula which provides Estoril with a prosperous atmosphere and a reputation for exclusivity. It is rumored that Ian Fleming was inspired by this casino when writing Casino Royale. We did not visit the casino. Instead, we stepped onto the promenade along the Estuary of the Tagus River and walked past sandy beaches, welcoming cafes and shops, and my favorite…two lighthouses on the way to Cascais (pronounced Kish kysh). These were the first flat-sided lighthouses I have ever seen. The promenade is wide and well maintained. It includes a well marked bike path and many cafes and entrys to the beach. When we arrived in Cascais, the promenade split off into the town and there are many pedestrian walkways filled with shops and restaurants. We wandered around a bit and even found a yellow and blue arrow marking our way, then continued on. We walked through a small municipal park where we encountered a peacock and a few roosters. Continuing up the hill and following the river, we stopped at Boca do Inferno (Mouth of  Hell). It was a good place for a break and we watched the waves splash up from several vantage points.We found our way past a private golf course to our hotel. What a luxurious location. We spent a leisurely afternoon at the pool and on the grounds of the hotel. Finally, we headed back to the town center.  We had a great dinner at a rooftop restaurant, including seafood bruschetta, some incredible tapas and sangria. I will try and make the cucumbers with spinach, mint and basil when I return home. Following dinner, we celebrated this weekend’s sixth annual Lumina Festival. Several artists have created light sculptures and laser shows which are located along streets and alleys through the downtown. One included discarded washing machine drums to create lanterns. Another was a laser display of fireworks, musical instruments and Indy cars. There were twenty displays each very creative and unique. Cascais lights up the night and is worth a visit anytime. 

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