...is the nickname that Portugal has adopted. The country is well known for its gorgeous beaches, warm weather and laid back culture. Unfortunately, I have not been so lucky with the weather, but on the exceptional nice days here, I have been exploring towns outside of Lisbon. I reached a point where traveling from big city to big city was tiring and they all seemed to meld together, so I decided it was time to get away from the cities and check out nature.

On Monday I took the train 30 minutes southwest of Lisbon to visit my friend Eva in Cascais. The entire ride along the coast was gorgeous, imagine PHC from Big Sur to Carmel, I was mesmorized by the sight and slipped completly back into California mode. Not a bad thing at all considering I was a little homesick for the Golden State.

When I reached Cascais it was love at first sight. It was strikingly similar to Ventura, a small
town situated on miles of coast with green rolling hills in the backdrop. The South side had long sandy beaches and the north side was lined with Santa Cruz style cliffs...perfection.

Eva and I got free bicycles and spent the day riding along the coastal bikepath admiring the humongous waves and rock cliffs. Bike riding seems to be a skill I have been working on perfecting during this trip. Afterward, Eva entroduced me to the most famous ice cream parlor in Lisbon (and possibly all of the world, in my opinion). Cascais definitely gets my vote for best off the beaten path small town in Ember`s Contenintental Europe.
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Eva and I on a bikeride along the beach
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Cascais coast