As Columbus and seemingly the entire United States reels from the frigid, testicle-shying relentlessness of Jack Frost, lately I’ve sought warm and cozy places. Physically, sitting by my fireplace to thaw out my chestnuts and mentally drifting away to sunny daydreams.
One location I keep fondly returning to is Comporta, Portugal; a little slice of heaven similar in transition and progress to the earlier (read: sleepier) days of Tulum, Mexico. And you can imagine my internal struggle in telling you, my dear readers, about such a wonderful place; a place I’d like to keep secret to guard from the touristic hordes. But alas, I’m one of the idiot tourists (keep reading to find out why) in a locale primed to explode onto the travel scene, anyways.
So here it is:
Comporta is a lovely hour+ drive south of Lisbon, along empty, comprehensive highways leading to country roads that look how I imagine stretches of Morocco, look.
We drive south on N261, past Comporta Village, and hang a right down a gritty road towards Brejo Da Carregueira, a very wild west looking village where we meet our Air BnB host, Felipe; a taller, slightly older version of myself if I were really cool and Portuguese and lived in Lisbon and owned rental homes in paradise and drove a sweet hunter green Vespa (Felipe, I’m jealous of your life – borderline man crush).
Felipe takes us down a sandy path to Casa Verde, a cute little hovel in the middle of nowhere.
He gives us quick tour of the place, hands over the keys, and I instantly gravitate to the outside patio for a lounge-sesh, surrounded by piñon trees and open fields. If you’re planning on visiting Portugal please use Comporta Homepage. And don’t let me abbreviate ‘session’, ever again.
Felipe leaves us with directions to the beach:
Take the keyfob to get through the gate to rice fields.
Follow the rice fields to the “road” (quotations added) with the big water spigot
Hang a left, then a right
Follow this to the bamboo trees
Park the car under the bamboo grove
Subdue the evil mongoose
Walk about a quarter mile over the dunes
Fight Tusken Raiders
I remember thinking this may be the part of the Roam About Mike movie where Caitlin and I are murdered by Portuguese banditos, or Felipe is the Air BnB Ripper, but, we’re in paradise so, I guess it’s not the worst way/place to go out.
Instead of a disembowelment, we’re offered absolute seclusion down a snaking path through an interesting landscape along our very own beach stretching for miles each way.
There’s no one around…
There’s a fishing boat off chugging off in the distance, but no resorts just legitimate freedom from modern-day trivialities. So secluded are we that it’s a bit unnerving, and I have to make a conscience effort to get my brain to unwind.
After a couple hours of playing Lost, we start craving frou-frou drinks. With nothing around to create such concoctions, we decide to head towards civilization in Comporta proper.
Conde Nast has written a couple of pieces on Comporta. The presence of super high-end boutiques in a quaint little village of less than 2,000 people affirm this accreditation from the travel riche. Someone is buying this expensive stuff. And the proprietors of these sweet shoppes drive really cool motorcycles and reside in one of the cutest little towns/houses I’ve ever seen.
American travelers get a bad rap. While we may not have the stylish flair of the mullet-ed, Affliction branded and white vinyl shoe wearing Russian travelers, nor the knack of always cutting lines, being generally obnoxious with the I-don’t-give-a-shit-about-anything mentality of Chinese travelers, the Americans’ rap is deserved.
Go ahead and throw me on the pile.
As we make our way to Comporta Beach, a 3 minute drive down the road from Comporta Village, I make the (first) mistake of missing the turn to the beach, and the (subsequently) double incredibly estupido mistake of banking the Fiat Panda into the sandy shoulder for a quick turn around, promptly sinking the bastard car two feet into the earth.
After the couple attempts at shoving sticks and tree bark under the wheel do nothing to dislodge the Panda from the depths of gritty humiliation, I swallow my pride, hike up my shorts, to attract passers-by with some pasty skin. A couple of extremely nice locals stop (out of pity, not my hot quads), hook the Panda (which, to my defense, has the responsive turning radius of a stoned blimp) to their jeep rigs, and bail me out, sarcastically joking that I should, “Take a picture for American Facebook friends.”
I’m kidding. Thank you, random Portuguese dudes. I’m an idiot and you saved me big time.
Comporta Beach is simply amazing. The people are beautiful, the beach is stunning and the two restaurants, Ilha Do Arroz and Comporta Cafe, offer refuge from ex-lax (exposure to too much relaxation) with delicious menus and better cocktails.
What more is there to say about this?
..s…ah! Reality. Daydream shattered. Buzzkill.
Please, go to Comporta. Buy a house. Invite me over. I’ll bring vino. We’ll hit up the aforementioned restaurants on Comporta Beach, or Restaurante Sal on Pêgo Beach, or we’ll gorge on some Arroz de Polvo com Camarão at local favorite, Dona Bia. And I’ll drive you around in a rented Panda…please hurry! Go! Visit!