We Will Miss Cascais
The many ways...
Denise, Onix, and I were walking along the path that skirts the coastline in Cascais the other day. It is one of our favorite ways for the three of us to get some exercise and was an absolute Godsend during the lockdowns as walking one’s dog was permitted. I asked Denise, “What will you miss about Cascais?”
I am happy to report that we agreed on the exact list. Frankly, if we were able to purchase a house for under 700,000€ in downtown Cascais we would not be moving. The city has so much to offer. We have enjoyed introducing readers and relatives to Cascais. And to date, nearly everyone that has visited the city with us has seemed to agree.
I could write about the weather…and yes it is pretty good. This past summer, we never turned on the air conditioner. The ocean breeze cools down the air temperature just enough that it is not required even when the thermometer hits the mid-80’s F (29 celsius). And the nights are always cooler. Closing the shutters but keeping the windows open made for ideal sleeping conditions. But frankly, Denise and I have lived in Florida and the California desert…so how warm it is, is not too much of an issue for us. Instead, we settled on these three things.
Walk, Walk, Walk
Do you like meandering down pedestrian streets? If so you will like Cascais. Do you like walking on a promenade from one city to the next? Then you will enjoy the 2.1km walk from Cascais to Estoril. During the summer months, there are many healthy bodies to admire. Sit on the wall and watch the surfers, paddleboarders, and eFoilers (shown above, a type of board with a fin below and motor that lifts the rider out of the water.) During cooler months, enjoy watching the dogs frolic on the sand. There is also the walking/biking path from downtown Cascais to the Guia (2.3km) where a small enclave of restaurants and boutiques invites you to sit and have lunch or just a coffee before you head back to town. Had enough of the ocean? (Frankly, I can’t imagine ever getting enough of it.) There is a wonderful path from the Mercado to a small waterfall that meanders through small, family farms. All of these walks are flat, or mostly flat, and well maintained with lots of benches to sit and relax on…to reflect.
Of course, there are walking and biking paths in Vila Real de Santo Antonio. When we last visited I walked from our future home to the beach in just under 30 minutes. As the Thai say, “Same, same but different.”
Proximity & Public Transit
Next on our list of “the things, we will miss” is “proximity”. There are certainly benefits to being able to easily access a major city: one can buy anything, visit countless museums, attend concerts and more. Our Viva Lisboa cards got a lot of use over the past year!
But don’t assume you have to go to the “big city” to enjoy cultural activities. Cascais has lots of museums to offer, and we even heard Vivaldi’s Four Seasons performed by a Candlelight string quartet at Quinta da Marinha. If it hadn’t been canceled due to Covid restrictions, we would have even attended a John Legend concert in the Cascais hippodrome.
And I will admit, I am glad that the CUF Hospital of Cascais was only a 1.2km walk from our apartment. Yes, most of our visits were for doctor visits or physical therapy; and we will be able to get those services right in VRSA. But when I broke my elbow, I was able to walk to the hospital for surgery. (Don’t worry, Denise drove me home after surgery.) In the future, inpatient services will require a 50-minute drive. (About 2 hours if you rely on public transit.)
And yes there are some friends that we have met along the way that we will miss. Elizabeth, our realtor, provided us with not only exceptional real estate services but friendship. When we needed the water turned on in our apartment, she went along…thank goodness. When we had a question about getting in the Covid queue we called her. And there were times we got together, even when we didn’t “need” anything other than her company!
We also have a few shop owners near our home that we will miss. Not only because they are our favorite places to shop (Invicta for clothes and Cais 16 for Portuguese-made shoes, pottery, art, etc.), but also because they always take time to chat with us. When they ask, “Tudo bem?” they actually want to know our answer.
And there are also a few expats we have met along the way…and sincerely hope will visit us in the Algarve when they are able. We met Shahla, a retired physician from California, who moved to Cascais just a few weeks before we did. She was our primary golfing buddy over the past year, joined me the morning I snapped the photo above, and is a lover of good wine. You gotta love a friend that is willing to share her excellent wine collection!
The young woman that started as Denise’s masseuse became a friend. Often her last appointment of the day, she would join us for a glass of wine. She introduced us to her boyfriend, a young Portuguese man who assisted us with our accents and shared information and perspectives that we would have never figured out on our own. Ajah, Rafa promise us you will visit.
And there are Theresa and Lesley and their extended South African family. (This includes our hairdresser Clint…who is so great. I will hate having to find a new person to cut my hair…but I digress.) When I wrote about being In Search of a Tribe they contacted us. We met for lunch, then dinner, then dinner again. Texts and calls were interspersed between our in-person encounters and with each and everyone we seemed to draw closer. We spent New Year’s Eve together playing a silly game. We laughed the way old chums do. We will miss them very much.
So yes, we will miss Cascais. But we also are looking forward to the next chapter because we came to Portugal less for the destination than the journey.