2009-10-07 38 -9
Cabo Espichel, near Sesimbra, Portugal.
Since I've been at the RIPE meeting in Lisbon all week, I've been waiting for a good set of coordinates to deflower the graticule with. You couldn't really ask for a better location than today's, on a picturesque headland about 50km south of the city.
I ducked out of the afternoon sessions and set off on my adventure. Not really sure how reliable Portugese public transportation would be, it was with some trepidation that I waited for the 13:45 207 bus to Sesimbra. Luckily it was on time, and I had a few minutes to buy some hashcards in Sesimbra before my 14:50 connection on the 201 to Cabo Espichel. The journey thus far quite uneventful, I took the bus to the last stop, at the convent.
The cliff face exposes billions of years of history due to tectonic movement. Jurassic era dinosaur footprints are visible in the rock. Apparently the locals used to believe these were the footprints of the Virgin Mary. This explains why they built a convent at the top - though it doesn't explain why Christians aren't more terrified about the monumental size and clawed feet of their saviour's mother.
To ease me into hashing in a whole new country, the route to today's coordinates led me across a field. Of course, this being the rocky heathland of Portugal's coast, it was a field of seagulls instead of corn or horses. The hashpoint itself lay a little further in a lush strip of bushes.
A hash-beetle occupied the exact coordinates, but I wasn't afraid of him. His miniature proportions made him seem almost cute; even rabbitfox could had squashed him with her dainty little paw. Coordinates reached, but with the sun beating down heavily, we didn't tarry long. I wrote out the hashcards (will you be lucky enough to receive one?), scratched a sign into the packed mud, watered a parched hash-bush nearby, and set off toward the lighthouse.
Unusually far inland for such an important lighthouse, the adjoining buildings today appear to be converted to apartments. Round the back we found the geocache GC173T7 into which I finally managed to drop a geocoin I've been carrying from Berlin through England.
Getting back was somewhat more problematic. The next bus heading back didn't come as far as Cabo Espichel, but only to Azoia. Fortunately it was not for another hour, so I had time to walk. On the way I followed an inexplicable wall along the entire route, which turned out to be a cute little aqueduct going to the convent.
I arrived in Azoia just in time to tank a bottle of water and a Red Bull before boarding the 201 back toward Sesimbra. The mist rolls in and out quickly in this part of the world, and it quickly overtook us as we left the cape. This time, I got off the bus early at Santana in order to be in time for the next connection back to Lisboa which also passed through that town.
And that's where I am now, writing the report on the bus home. Portugal's sun-parched countryside isn't much to look at, and I have to shower and head out again as soon as I get back to the hotel.
I hereby claim the Virgin Graticule achievement for the first geohash in 38,-9. In fact, unless I'm very much mistaken, I just deflowered the whole country. Hooray!
 Going to the hash
 At the hash
 Around the hash
 The way back home
|davidc earned the Virgin Graticule Achievement|
|rabbitfox and davidc earned the Hashcard achievement|