Saying Goodbye to the Cliffs

My days in Portugal are numbered and therefore I wanted to give goodbye to the cliffs where I and my friend Plz used to go hiking. I always thought that Czechs and Slovaks like hiking a lot, but even so it was difficult to find someone to go with me. I tried to convince more people, but only one Czech girl Jana showed the interest to join me.

Not even speaking of other available nations. I didnít even expect her to go with me so I was ready to go alone. After all, another girl Katarina, a friend of Jana who I didnít know before, decided to come along, too.

Jana managed to sprain her ankle during one of her kickbox trainings several weeks before this trip. I asked her to choose from three possible paths, from a difficult one with little rock climbing to very easy one. She had chosen the difficult one. I guess she regretted her choice later, but since it was her choice I didnít mind making her crossing difficult terrain despite the discomfort caused by her ankle.

We were supposed to meet at the bus station in Lisbon. I was there already half an hour before the departure time. Girls came just in time and they had to be running, while doing that Katarina fell and slightly hurt her left knee. They had got sweaty already and we didnít even start our trip yet. Only the next day I had noticed the sms I had received on my cell phone, saying that they were going to be late and asking me to make the bus waiting for them. What a crazy idea!

When I looked at Katarina I had got scared a little. She had small rucksack on her back and sleeping bag holding in her arms. She tied it to her rucksack later, so it wouldnít be a problem after all, but as she told me the rucksack was actually a laptop bag. She said that it is an inflatable one, what is supposed to be a Czech way of saying that it is elastic and therefore she managed to fit in there everything she needed. And they both neglected to carry sleeping pads. But they were right saying that home in Czech Republic they had better hiking gear and that here in Portugal at Erasmus program they just had to improvise.

After getting off of the bus in Sesimbra they had yet to buy some water. When we crossed the city, the first ascending started. Later in the day they said that it was the most difficult part of the trip. They had no notion of what was awaiting them the next day, though.

After crossing the stone pit that was in the way, only pure nature was surrounding us, meaning a dense growth of vegetation consisting of stunted trees and bushes with visible path within it used usually by local fishermen. So we reached our first beach. There were stairs carved into the stone on which we were descending down the cliffs. More or less in the middle we had left our backpacks behind and carried down only the swimsuits. At the same time, a group of Portuguese fishermen came there through a different path and also wind was blowing, so after all we gave up our plan for swimming in the ocean, for the moment. When we put our clothes back on, the wind stopped blowing, though.

On our way back up, the Portuguese guys started to shout at us from great distance trying to call us back to join them, saying that they had already caught a big fish. But that was just a joke, because he was doing signs showing that the fish had at least a meter or so, but the fish he was holding in his hand had only few centimetres. Another guy was saying that they had beers in order to make us come down. Both of them were using English. But why did they decide to invite us only when we were back in the middle of the ascending? I shouted back at them that it is nice of them, but all of us are abstainers and off we went.

Although, at the beginning, Jana tried to keep up with my speed, her ankle didnít like it and forced her to slow down, what, naturally, forced me to slow down, too. I counted on it, though. Therefore, we started our trip earlier than we used to with Plz. At the next feeding break she complained about her ankle and since I counted on that too, I carried an ankle support bandage, which I had used before on my bicycle tour. Later, Katarina complained about her right knee and my neoprene knee support found its usefulness, too.

During that day, almost the entire trip was only through visible paths and shortly before four pm we found ourselves at a good spot for spending the night. So we descended the cliffs again to reach the stony beach below us. We had got to swim in the ocean finally, but Katarina stayed only by the side. I have recorded a piece of the ocean in case someone would be interested in watching waves for one minute.

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Already on our way there the girls were asking me if we were going to set up a fire later. They had brought some sausages for that purpose. I said no, so they had eaten them fresh. I donít like fire in nature, its smoke attracts the attention of people from great distance and my clothes smell of smoke after. Nevertheless, down at the beach they decided to set up a fire. And when it was done they regretted the already eaten sausages. But Katarina was thrilled, because it was her first fire from dry bamboo sticks.

Download the Flash Player to see the video.

At evening, I took a bath in the ocean again. It was too cold for girls already. I approached the water only with towel around my waist. Then, behind a bigger rock, I took it off and jumped into the water naked. The stream took me a bit farther from the towel and although it was nice place to get out of the water I had to swim back so I didnít show too much of myself.

Girls slept on a big flat rock with slight angle and they were slowly sliding it down lying there in their sleeping bags. So we had to put some of the smaller but heavy surrounding rocks on top of it to make a small stonewall to keep them there. I had found a nice spot where I had slept pretty well. Although, I was setting up the things to sleep during the sunset and so only the next day in the morning I had noticed the spider webs that were near my head. Fortunately, I had noticed it only in the morning, because otherwise I would have to be looking for some other place to sleep and there werenít many places like that.

We had got up with the sunrise. Katarina woke up full of joy, happy that she managed it. It was her first trip like this and she was worried. Me telling her about the possibility of drug smugglers coming by boat to the beach and then having to kill us as witnesses didnít help her either.

Shortly after packing up our stuff, two fishermen descended down the cliffs to our beach. One of them had only half of his right hand. Passing around us, he asked if we were about to leave. After my positive answer he looked surprised that we were leaving so soon. He didnít realize that we actually stayed there overnight.

I had sent the girls to climb up the cliffs first. I wasnít paying attention to what Katarina was doing there, so I had got surprised hearing the two fishermen, who meantime got far from us, shouting at us. They were older than the ones from the day before, so I didnít expect them joking with us. Although, I didnít understand what they were saying, from what they were signing with their three and a half hands and after looking at Katarina, I understood. She was trying to climb up through a loose part of the cliff which could fall down with her. I didnít realize that she could have chosen a different way up from the one we had used before to descend.

We managed to do most of the trip during the first day and Katarina therefore drank her all water supply, thinking that she could handle the rest of the trip with no water. Jana was willing to share her remaining water with her, but I gave her my almost full three quarter litre bottle. I still had one more for myself knowing that it would be enough for me and that the Janaís water would not be enough for both of them.

The rest of the trip was shorter but more difficult at the same time. Most of the trip was through the dense growth of vegetation with no path to walk on. Moreover, many times we had to be doing rock climbing. It didnít seem that difficult to me, though. However, seeing the girls fighting with the rocks I couldnít understand why it was so complicated for them. Their legs just didnít want to do the right movements. Apparently, they were more scared of it and therefore too much careful.

Sometimes, we were passing right next to the edges of the cliffs, where one slip could be followed by long fall down to the ocean. Jana, with her bad ankle, was slipping a lot. Fortunately only in the right places farther from the edge. They were almost completely quite during the last kilometres. I could say that they had enough. I had to repeat to myself that it was their choice to do this difficult path so I didnít have to feel pity for them.

Before our last ascending there was one more beach. Girls decided to let me go alone and wait me up. So I went there to take a bath in the ocean and spent there quite a lot of time. When I met them up on top of the hill they told me that I was very quick. It probably took them a lot of time to get there and I alone could go up with my speed. So even though I had spent some good time at the beach I didnít reach the top of the hill much later than them.

We were not that far from a beautiful place called Cabo Espichel, but the next bus from the nearby village had its departure time three quarters of an hour later. Girls didnít want to risk it so we went directly to the bus stop. We had spent the rest of the time at small cafeteria waiting for the bus back to Sesimbra, where we were around two pm. From there, they went alone to Lisbon and I had a meeting with some other people to whom I wanted to give goodbye, too.

Jana's photos here and mine are these:


Firmino Esůfago:
Those trips are nice... and sleeping outside too...
Smart cameraman on the second video ;)

Milan Toma:
Firmino, thanks but I didn't film their butts intentionally, they just popped up there like that...


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