Have you ever noticed that most people, when planning their trips, tend to dream about exotic and faraway destinations and forsake all the beauty in our their own backyards?
We all do that, we do that too …
Nevertheless, it’s never to late to rediscover your home country – be it the area surrounding your home, your closest busy big city or quiet nature spot. Small, shorter trips have a lot of advantages:
- It’s easier to travel there – you can take your own car, the train, the bus or even walk, if it’s really close by;
- You are often surprised by what you discover about your own culture and country;
- You can still travel if you are on a tight budget – it’s much cheaper than travelling abroad, you don’t have to worry about accommodation if you can return on the same day or even about meals if you bring your own;
- You take your family and friends with you – (short) road trip!!
- You don’t have to go too far, so you can plan around your working time.
This was exactly what we did a few days ago. Cabin fever was definitely setting in, after a few weeks of furious indoors/computer related work. Our faces were getting paler and our moods were getting darker. We were in desperate need of wide spaces, sun light, fresh air and nature’s white noise.
The Arrabida mountains are only about 30/40 minutes away from where we live the moment and probably about an hour away from Lisbon’s busy streets. How about that? Talk about paradise just around the corner!! We woke up at 6 a.m., dressed in warm clothes, grabbed our coffee-filled-shakers and drove away excited.
This location is a nature reserve, protected for its natural, cultural and historical heritage. Besides the amazing hills covered in aromatic trees and vegetation, this place will marvel you with its little quiet and clear-watered beaches, carved in between the rocks and high cliffs.
We watched the sun rising from the dark and calm waters, making its way through the clouds and coloring everything around it. You could only hear the wind on the tree tops, everything else was quiet and perfect. Nature draws you in and embraces you and your mind finally quiets down and relaxes. Happiness is also enjoying these precious moments of awareness and belonging.
Later, we walked on the wet sandy beaches, took pictures, enjoyed the winter sun on our skins…
Remember the Arrabida Mountains, when visiting Portugal, around 50 kms (30+ miles) south of Lisbon, if you love nature, walks on the beach, mountain hikes and the scent of the ocean mixed with pine trees, among other treasures.
Right next to Arrabida, as you drive down the hills, you’ll find the city of Setubal [population in 2014: 118,166], known especially for its amazing seafood and fish restaurants, colorful harbor, old traditional cobbled streets and friendly and welcoming people.
I hope you get to visit Setubal and the Arrabida Mountains one day!