It was a chilly long ride back from Cabo da Roca, and my stomach was rumbling. Afterall, it was way past eight at night, and this hungry boy could have eaten a cow.
But no deal. My new friends, Komei and Charlotte insisted that we should have a go at the famous local cherry, syrupy drink called ginjinha. And there was no better place than to have it at the birth place of the tipple, a tiny postage-stamp-sized bar at Baixa called an unimaginative A Ginjinha.
The owner smiled as we approached and was quick to point out that they were about to close shop, so whatever that we were about to have, we are to have it quick. So we dutifully doled up our Euros and, slightly unnerved by the ancient poster of the drink’s 19th-century inventor (a cleric named Espinheira), we toasted to each other’s good health and gulped in down.
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Cabo da Raca in Portugal is the most westerly point of Europe. Which means, from that vantage point, you see nothing but sea in every direction. On my one-hour bus ride from Sintra, I imaginedthe kind of sunset a horizon like that would command, and my heart surged.
I love sunset.
And then I realised that I had no idea where to alight. I mean, my non-existent navigation skills not withstanding, I know I was on the right bus, but where do I stop? At the town nearest to the sea? Or anywhere I can see the beach? So I summoned all my courage and asked the driver, whom replied in halting English that we will stop at Cabo da Raca, and he will tell me when we have arrived.
But my watch was telling me in mere minutes the sun would set for good. Time was running out. I was cursing at everything – at myself for not planning this better, at the bus which was going much too slowly in my opinion – and then suddenly we were there.
I alighted at Cabo da Raca.
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