Obsessed by the ocean – in Portugal again

(Listen to the music while reading blog post.)

Does such thing as ocean obsession exist? When you are attracted to it so much, used to it so much and need it so much that if you don’t see the giant turquoise waves and the wild shores falling into the water for a while, you simply need to get back? I don’t know whether I am a subject for psychoanalysis, but after Madeira and the Azores, I finally ended up at the Atlantic again, at the third stage of my volunteering series. They say when you do something twice, that’s already a pattern, and now for me this is the third time in Portugal in a short time, so I have to assume this is intentional now.
Before starting to introduce this amazing world according to my first impressions here, I have to share some grateful words. Mind the map blog was launched last November and since then a couple of my friends did (or plan to do) trips to those places I’ve been to and had similarly great experiences as I had before. Even better that one of my friends quit her job that she already hated, making a big twist in her life and started volunteering as well. Her very first destination is Sri Lanka, just sayin’. So happy for you, Timi!
And I am truly thankful for these! This blog is written with exactly this intention. Everybody loves travelling, sure. If you ask my opinion, there is few better things than travelling (ok, I could list some…, but those can be done during travelling, so it’s just half score), I also love to follow my own path, collecting experiences and being a helping hand in the meantime. But the feeling is even better when you inspire others with your own lifestyle. And it’s not necessarily about that now everybody should quit their jobs and start travelling the world. Obviously. It’s so heartwarming to read those messages from unknown people saying how much they love my blog, my pictures and how much they are waiting for fresh content on facebook, just because they know that their morning will be shiny then. I love those grumpy messages as well in which they ask me to stop sharing all these ugly and miserably awful photos, otherwise they have to reorganise the family budget to be able to go for an ocean holiday. Couldn’t be happier.
Another practical information which is worth talking about. Writing an average blog post takes me 6-7 hours to do, selecting and editing the photos, writing the Hungarian and the English versions and sharing it etc. This hours are evidently spent in front of my laptop being online, instead of being spent outside in the real world, let’s say with a nice beer in my hand. I am constantly and tirelessly trying to find the balance between the online and offline existence, but recently I choose the outdoor world more often, which resulted in fewer blog posts. The daily communication is now on facebook (mind-the-map) and on instagram (mind-the-map on insta), because it’s more easy to share a couple of photos with some descriptive lines by my morning coffee. This is why I put emphasis on this and went out for that beer with local friends instead. Like I said, I try to find the balance so please don’t unsubscribe my blog, I hereby promise to be a good girl and write more.

And now, finally, about Portugal. I know this was what you were waiting for.
At the end of the post you’ll find the map, but I found my local home for May somewhere between Azenhas do Mar and Fontanelas, a couple of hundred meters from the shore in a cosy little guesthouse. This place is approximately an hour drive from Lisbon so it’s said to be crowded in summer, but now the beauty of the landscape and the calming closeness of the ocean is enjoyable enough.

Where there are water and cliffs without a big crowd, I am fine, so I can exceptionally enjoy this little village with its pale white houses sitting on the top of a big rock. This is Azenhas do Mar. In the bottom that brown-gray stripe is a restaurant, just in the ideal location for a romantic sunset-watching wine-drinking evening. But if you want to have a nice fish dinner, go for the other restaurant a bit more up on the rock, for a less touristy experience. Unfortunately I can not present the soft sound of the waves for you, nor the smell of the ocean, but try to imagine. It’s fabulous.
By the amazing shore you can find stylish houses as well, but there are a lot of abandoned homes, standing there sadly and breathtakingly as a memory of a better past. And this blue… Always returning in the colour of the sky, the ocean, the traditional Portuguese tiles, in the calligraphic signs and in the beautiful little details. Everything is a bit dusty, a bit shabby, but certainly has a charm I really like. Because it’s far from perfection.
Also freedom has its levels. When you drive through a country by car, something is missing. You can not feel the breeze on your face, nor the smells in your nose. You can not feel the power of the sun on your skin, nor the raindrops sliding from your eyelashes. You sit in the car, find your next sight, drive there, get out of the car, see it, sit in and start it again with the next sight. But when you drive a motorcycle, everything changes in a second. This is like when a blurred picture is suddenly becomes clear. The world is alive around you, not just when you arrive somewhere. Everything becomes somehow more real, more intense. Worth a try. (No, this scooter is not mine, but I now have the mental picture of my motorcycle journeys here, so I’ll rent one for sure.)

This part of Portugal is very close to the westernmost point of Europe, Cabo da Roca, so wherever you gaze, you’ll see infinite water. You try to recall the map in your head just to realize that in the distance what you can’t see is the east coast of the U.S. probably. It is a bit scary to think and feel these enormous dimensions and I have to admit, you eventually need to feel tiny. It helps to put the intensity of your problems into perspective.
And one last thought: as a photographer, you simply can’t make big mistakes. Wherever you see there is something breathtaking. The challenge is more that you should live for the moment instead of for your shutter.
But I am willing to make this big sacrifice.


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