In mid December, I had the chance of going to one of my favourite places in Portugal: Serra da Estrela. For those of you who don’t know, this is the highest mountain range in continental Portugal, with the highest peak reaching 2km of height. Whilst it’s definitely no Kilimanjaro or Everest, it’s still high enough that snow says hello quite easily when it’s cold down below.
That day, however, the mountains decided to play a trick on us. Odd as it may be, it was quite hotter at the peak than it was down below. And I do mean hotter. Some people were walking around on t-shirts, and everyone down in the villages had their teeth chattering.
And the snow? There was some. Pearly white but hard as rock. No, that was not the most beautiful part of it. The sunset was.
Forget sunsets at the beach. Sunsets at the mountains are the most beautiful, awe inspiring spectacles of light I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing.
I’d never have guessed I’d see something so unworldly that day. After all, at the base of the mountains, a look up provided us with nothing but grey clouds. As we started to go up, the clouds turned into rather thick mist. Anyone who’s travelled in Serra da Estrela knows that it might be best to turn around in those conditions. The mountains can be tricky in a good day, but with the possibility of ice? It’s best not to take chances.
And yet we did. Suddenly, there were blue skies up ahead and below us was this sight:
Clouds and clouds as far as the eye could see. My mother called it a sea of clouds, and it really was.
It didn’t change as we took the twist and turn road that circled its way up to the peak of the mountain range. If anything, it just became more beautiful by the minute.
And then the top, with the scarce icy snow that hurt when you got hit with it, more cloud sea covered mountains, and the most beautiful sunset of my life.
“You see, one loves the sunset when one is so sad.”
The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry