Monday, September 19, 2022

Restaurante Rosa dos Ventos and Nazare, Portugal

Nazare, Portuguese for Nazareth, is on the Silver Coast of Portugal. It is also the "capital of big wave surfing," a new designation granted since 2011 when a surfer rode a 78 foot wave right off its coast and in the short time since then five of the six biggest waves ever surfed were there (the most recent wave record, set at Nazare, was in 2020 when an 86 foot wave was surfed there). The large waves are due to the deepest sea canyon in Europe, over 5,000 meters, located just off the coast. The big waves have always been there, it just took until 2011 to find someone brave (or crazy) enough to surf them. 

Fort St. Michael the Archangel (Fort of Sao Miguel Arcanjo) was built on a cliff in 1577 right where the big waves come in and is where the big waves are filmed. In 1903 a lighthouse was also built there, to assist local fishermen, including a museum (which also includes surfboards and tributes to the big wave surfers that now go there from all over the world). 
The point with the lighthouse. 
About a half mile up the hill from the Fort, set back from the cliff a ways, is the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Nazare, built on the site of a small grotto where the monk, Romano, accompanied by the last Visigoth king of Portugal, Roderic, came to live as a hermit in 711, bringing a fourth century wooden statute of the Virgin Mary. After his death Romano was buried in the grotto and the wooden statue remained on an altar. In 1182 the knight Dom Fuas Roupinho who was hunting deer in a dense fog had his life saved by the Virgin Mary, as I understand it, by bringing him to the grotto. So he had a small chapel built over the grotto. In 1377 King Fernando I of Portugal built a new church over the grotto, the Sanctuario de Nossa Senora da Nazare), a baroque building and interior.
Sanctuary of Our Lady of Nazare.

The chapel over the grotto.

The wooden statue of the Virgin is normally in the middle window in the chapel. It was out for examination when we visited. We were able to go up where those people are by paying a small fee. 

Two paintings in a different chapel. I'm guessing that the one on the left is Romano and Roderic and the one on the right is the hunter. 

Beautiful window and Portuguese tile wall. 

Floor tile design. 

Floor, wall and ceiling tiles. 
The top of the hill (mountain) where the grotto/church is located is known as the neighborhood of Sitio. The ocean below the mountain, which includes the fort, smashes against cliffs. But just to the south, along a beautiful sandy beach, is the neighborhood of Praia. 
The neighborhood of Priaia and the lower beach. 

The water along the cliff. 

The other side of the point and lighthouse where the large waves crash. 
We spent the night in a hotel there and ate at Restaurante Rosa dos Ventos, just a few blocks off the beach, rated the no. 3 restaurant in Nazare (out of 159) on Trip Advisor. The restaurant was just a short walk from our hotel. 

The restaurant has been in the proprietors family for years, a family of fishermen, and they catch much of the fish that are served in the restaurant. The proprietor mentioned that the first surfer to surf the big waves of Nazare has eaten in his restaurant on a number of occasions. He brought us a big plate of whole fish and asked us which one we wanted. We shared a big grouper and it was cooked perfectly, per our instructions. We also got clams in a butter broth that were delicious. A small salad and bread and butter were starters to the meal. 
Plate of available fish. 

A grouper, like the one we ate.

Our cooked grouper. 


Salad fixings and potatoes.
Afterwards we walked down to the beach and Judy put her feet in the water. The beach is hard on bare feet as it is not fine sand, but much larger pebbles. 

Nazare is a beautiful town and Rosa dos Ventos is a wonderful restaurant for enjoying the fish off its coast. 

1 comment:

  1. Another small town chock full of beautiful scenery, interesting things to see, and amazing food to boot. That's a good microcosm of our Portuguese experience