The Fishertown of Setubal

“Let’s go to the train station and see what the cheapest buses are out of Montijo.”


Soon thereafter we were off to the Montijo bus station to see what was happening and make our way elsewhere. Our host gave us a number of days off so we decided to take advantage and explore a city we hadn’t been to before. And while we had some names in mind, it was mostly price that determined where we would go so we decided on Setubal — an industrial and fisher town about a 30 minute bus ride from Montijo — for a whopping 3.30 euros.

We didn’t know what to expect aside from the fact that there was a beach — we came prepared with towels and bathing suits in case the water was in fact as warm as the sun shining down on us. I am always so surprised by how incredibly clear Portugal’s skies are because they are ALWAYS clear and there are hardly ever any clouds covering the sun.

We began at the central bus station and just walked around as we saw fit, stopping at a cafe to have a freshly concocted mango juice, admiring the street art and crumbling houses and walking along the parks until we got an urge to head to the water. That’s when we began walking in the direction where the breeze was coming — logical right? We walked uphill and downhill, past narrow streets and busy corners until we made it to a brown and blue tiled patio area overlooking the port. The view was magnificent! We could see the very many boats, the ferry and the beach across the sea (presumably where the ferry went to). I sat there admiring the view, counting my blessings and taking in the sun until I was close to falling asleep. How beautiful it is to sleep to a warm sun and a cool ocean breeze.

And as we were descending the hill we’d climbed to reach the view, we were met with an archway leading into the city center peeking into white houses with adobe-colored roofs almost stacked one behind the other with different heights so it looked almost chaotic and from a painting. We passed through closed shops and dilapidated homes, walking on mosaic floors that reminded me of Ostia Antica in Italy. Whichever way we turned there were people laughing, enjoying their coffee and pastel de nata under parasols to keep the sun at bay. Other streets had flowers and decorations hung across to the other side of the street so as we walked along there were bouquets and numerous colors above our heads. At one plaza, there were bronze sculptures all around and a big tree with a bench encircling it beckoning one to sit and enjoy. After all, Portuguese people are known for their relaxed demeanor and idgaf attitude. Why not join in?

And luckily, we were headed downhill which meant the port (and ocean) weren’t too far away. And they weren’t. The closer we got to the water, the cooler it got and windier it was. That’s the untamed ocean for you. I felt so energized being there and so rejuvenated it had me doubting myself as a Leo (fire sign) with a moon in Gemini (air sign). I think the stars may have been confused with me. Anyhow,I sat there thinking of how amazing it was to be able to explore little towns like these, to have the time to not feel stressed and busy and to have the energy to make such a trek. Portugal is a vast country with so much beauty to offer and so much opportunity to fall in love with nature and the elements — one of the reasons I chose this as my getaway spot.

But by the time we made it to the port it was too late to get to the other side of the water to the beach so we decided we could come back another day. So I just chatted up the dolphin tour guide, looked as far into the ocean as my eyes would let me and soaked up all the power and beauty from Mother Earth. It was day well-explored anyhow.



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