Cascais to Setubal Davis Family Roadtrip #08

Day 11: Thursday Cascais to Setubal

We have settled into a lovely daily routine that works for our family. James and I spend time playing on the bed which usually entails versions of him playing with cups and spoons or torches. (His bag of toys is now old news and far less interesting)

The older boys wake at a more reasonable hour and we pop on a plunger of coffee, tidy the house and do a round of dishes. House chores follow you wherever you go, there is no escaping it but there is great comfort in routine, and going slowly doing things with intended purpose and single minded focus.

I’m realizing now, my default is “multi tasking mode” and I’m always trying to do five things at once. It’s great to simplify if only for a moment in time.

We packdown and get ready to go. As Daniel says “Dads in charge of packing up outside,moms in charge of inside and I’m in charge of packing my toys away” 

As we head down to Cascais beach I suggest to William that we take a drive along the coast before parking. Find a round about (because there are roundabouts everywhere in Portugal) and then head back to park.

We drive through the Oitavos Dunes and nature reserve and end up in the main city center of Cascais. Looking for a spot to park we decide to keep driving until we find a parking lot.

Before we know it we have passed Cascais and are driving through Estoril and onto Carcavelos.

Not a single round about to turn in over 15kms. Coming from a week of every town having round abouts. I make the suggestion that we maybe keep going as we are heading in the Southerly direction but Will reminds me we haven’t actually checked out at the camp site and they are still holding onto my woolies card as a security deposit. They know who we are 🙂

Will pulls an illegal Uturn,we head back to camp, checkout, change the grey water and go back to where we started at Guincho Beach. We park in the 2 euro parking lot and it’s still early enough that there is plenty of space. I head down for a surf while the boys make scrambled eggs on toast while on the clifftop watching the ocean to the left and the nature reserve to the right.

Surfing in Cascais

It doesn’t matter what line up you paddle out into, there is always a pack of hyperactive ants scrambling for ankle high waves and pulling airs in the shorie. Only difference here in Portugal is it’s young ones by the name of “Pedro” and “Joao” paddling circles around you. There are now two peaks forming and there has been a split… Grom’s are sitting on peak one and the adults have moved across to the second peak tired of being snaked wave after wave. When I mean peaks I’m referring to foamies breaking in water that I am standing neck deep in waiting to push myself off into one and pray my shortboard floats me.

The beach is a learn to surf paradise, every man and his dog are dragging their Learn to surf banners down to the shore line and making a space for their learners to take on riding waves. At 1ft gentle crumbly slow rolling waves it’s a Sure thing these guys will be up and riding.

I head back, put D into a wetsuit, pack a beach bag for the boys and we decide to head down to Praia de Cresmina. I can’t face the walk back to the surfing beach as I know I will end up carrying Daniel on my back and a board under my arm down a sand dune cliff and back up again.

We take the short walk down the stairs to the beach and setup camp. Running in the rockpools and building sand castles in our wetsuits. William comes down to the waters edge smiling and blushing so red I can see something is up. “I think we are at a nudist beach he says” I turn to the water suddenly see as we are head to toe laden in neoprene while our neighbours are frolicking starkers!

We get back to the car and james is happily playing on the floor with his new toy bought from the local “Conti” It has an english and Portuguese music option. Switched to Portuguese Daniel says to me “Ma if you turn the switch down it will talk to you in Cape Town “ 

We check the map and decide an hour drive is how far we willing to go so map out all locations within that distance. Setubal is the town where Williams new favourite Portuguese wine comes from so we are heading there!  

I google campsites and find an eco site on an estuary in Parque natural da Arrabida.

Arriving in Setubal in the afternoon, we drive in through the city center and take a roundabout. (Aiming for the third exit) As the breaks slam on, our wheels screech and we all come to a complete standstill I’m still scratching my head to figure out what happened. An old Portuguese lady trying to exit the round about on the inside lane is now less that 2cm away from our car. No jokes we must have an angel watching over us! Will winds down his window because he can’t open the door. You honestly couldn’t put a one euro coin between the space of their car and hours. Near miss like you won’t believe. The Portugese Mama bursts out crying in absolute disbelief and relief, her husband gets out the car to speak to william who is so apologietic and looking like he may burst into tears himself. The man comes accross to the window, holds williams hand and smiles… “all is okay” he says. Slowly shaken we make our way into the nature reserve to find our campsite for the night.

Ocean in front of us, nature reserve surrounding us. It must be the most beautiful camp site setting yet!

• Parent Coping Level: 8/10 I wouldnt mind 5 min adult conversation time with my hubby 😉

• Kids Patience Level: 8/10 Every day Daniel comes up with some fascinating thoughts, ideas and opinions. Today Daniel says “Boys who have good manners you give food and water to them” 🙂 

• Campsite Setup: Best location so far! Peaceful, Eco, On the water. Hot showers (Will says they are the best showers of the trip so far) Flies are everywhere so you cant sit outside 🙁 

• Overall Experience: 4/10 – The near accident really shook Will today. 

• Surf: 2/10 on the waves front. Barely rideable. 

  • Highlight: The look on Wills face when thinking we were at a nudist beach! hahah! And the showers 🙂 


View posts by Roxy
Roxy Davis is proudly 'Capetonian', having grown up in Kommetjie, Cape Town. Roxy has won multiple South African Surfing titles. She is a professional surf coach, business owner, wife and mother with a real zest for life and adventure!

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