When it is windy at Guincho beach, I go south along a rugged and wild coast, dotted with lighthouses and old forts, to the nearby sheltered town of Cascais. Formerly a fishing village and a refuge for deposed kings, in recent years it has become a cosmopolitan town that unfortunately gets filled during this time of the year.
However, in the early morning it is still the sleepy place it used to be. We pass several beach coves, palaces and the massive Cascais fort, and set out on foot on the paredão, literally the big wall, or boardwalk. The solid grey granite paredão snakes behind the beaches to the next town, Estoril, and a bit beyond, along the coast to Lisbon. When the sun is just coming over the horizon, we share the paredão with a few joggers and dog walkers and, later, the waiters bringing out umbrellas and tables for breakfast at the beachfront cafés.
The maresia – the tang of sea and mossy rocks -- is intense. Maxi the dog runs ahead smelling the smells that make a dog’s life so interesting. The beaches are still empty except for the occasional fisherman adjusting rods and lines. The few walkers are diligent in their morning exercises, waving arms, stretching legs, bending knees and limbering up. I laugh to myself thinking that we look like ungainly dancers, with the gestures of prehistoric birds.
At the end of the paredão it is time to start back. But then there is the anticipated stop for breakfast. The waiter has our table set, the shade and sea breeze are welcome, it all looks so appetizing. Maxi gets his bowl of water. I bite into my well buttered ham and cheese toast and I am totally in that moment.