The One With Cabo da Roca

Cabo da Roca

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.

Cabo da Roca

I wasn’t prepared for the sight before my eyes. The sun was set, but I can still gleam its fading light, across the Atlantic ocean. I imagined myself looking right into America, the land of the hopeful.

Cabo da Roca

The cliff was long and barricaded with mere wooden planks. But of course. No one in the right mind would ever go close to the edge. Especially not me. I had the fear of height in me.

But I just had to do it.

Cabo da Roca

This was as close to the cliff as I dared to move myself to. My new found friends – a Japanese guy who speak four languages, a Taiwanese girl on her grand Europe tour – helped me to overcome my fear and took this shot.

I remember looking out at the vast expanse of the ocean and smiled the smile of a grateful man. Grateful, for I know not everyone has the privilege of witnessing what I saw that evening.

I was a lucky, lucky man.

Cabo da Raca

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