There’s a new vlog up on my YouTube channel, friends. This year, I’d prolonged my summer with a holiday in the South of Portugal. If you watch the video until the end you’ll see a quote that, translated, goes by
But await me
However long the roads
I shall return. *
And return I did.
It took a very dark night of the soul for me to finally embark on this trip. After a long season of chemo, radio, and immunotherapy treatments, I spectacularly recovered from a cancer ordeal that kept me busy for more than a year. October is breast cancer awareness month, and this video celebrates my recovery. When I write these words, it feels like I’m talking about someone else. Like I’m watching a movie, and everything I experienced belongs to another person, another life. I got struck by precisely the same when I learned my diagnosis in July 2019.
The Algarve trip was a gift from my mom, who wanted me to have the best possible holiday after everything, bless her soul. She took me to her happy place in the Algarve. I gave back in adventurousness and dragged her on a hike to our most famous coastline trail, leading up to an Instagram-famous sea cave in Benagil. The route itself takes around five hours if you don’t fool around with your camera too much. The starting point is near Vale de Centeanes beach and follows the coastline all the way to Marinha beach. We shortened the itinerary and walked until Benagil beach, but the path still took us three hours. And, with breathtaking views of steep golden cliffs, turquoise waters, pristine vegetation, and wild beaches, the journey was worth every second.
At the beach, we booked a boat tour with Taruga Benagil Tours – which we highly recommend, by the way – and went to the epic cave, among others. These caverns are only accessible by sea, so next time, I’m hopping on a paddleboard and spending time inside these ancient rock formations. You can see a rough sketch of our itinerary on the map below as the walking route near the coastline doesn’t show up on google. Our favorite stops are marked in it, as well.
For me, returning to my homeland is synonym to returning to the sea. This water connection is inevitable when you’re born and raised by the Portuguese seaside. After all, the ocean is our West and South-side neighbor, along with Spain, on the East. Historically, we’ve turned our backs to the Spaniards, who wanted to invade us, and paid our respects to the sea instead. It was our entrance door to new worlds and escapism from a grim existence at times. Our literature and music are a testament to it. “Oh, salty sea, how much of your salt / Are tears of Portugal!” our most prominent poet Fernando Pessoa famously wrote. The poem by Sophia de Mello Breyner I’m closing the video with goes by the title “On the beaches.” Indeed, only after spending time by the ocean on my own did I release the remains of my sorrows and feel fully ready to embrace a new chapter in my life with the joy that characterizes me. I’m editing another video as we speak about the solo part of the trip. Stay around, friends!
* Mas espera-me:
Pois mais longos que sejam os caminhos