Sunday, March 22, 2009

..where the earth ends and the sea begins..

This place is called Cabo da Roca ( Cape Roca) - and it's the very westernmost point of mainland Europe. It's located 18 Km west of the beautiful portuguese region of Sintra , a region with castles and palaces ,wooden hills and vast parks which has won UNESCO heritage status.

Cabo da Roca is a cliff standing out from the Atlantic Ocean. It has a lighthouse, a cafe with a gift shop where one can get an attractive certificate to mark his visit on the rock, and a monument with a plaque bearing the following inscription in portuguese :

"Here..where the land ends and the sea begins (Camoes). Westernmost Point of the European Continent".

It was very windy up there on the day of my visit , and despite the dramatic beauty of the place, I was eager to buy the certificate as a memento and leave as soon as possble, especially as the topic of 'suicide' was brought up by someone among the visitors, and I felt quite bad about it. It was the edge of the cliff , the raging waves of the Atlantic ocean, and the isolation of the place , that triggered the discussion .

My thoughts in those moments, led me to a nurse at our public family clinic in my hometown - a skillful nurse and a kind , smiling person. I was shocked one day to hear the news of her death. It appeared that after being at her husband's grave, she drove her car over a nearby cliff facing the Mediterranean Sea - and that was the end of her.

She was not the depressed sort of woman and she had a lot what to live for. She was blessed with children and grandchildren , and was very appreciated at the clinic where she worked. And yet she felt she could not face life without her husband (a note in her handwriting was found , and that's what it said).

I read somewhere on the Web that suicide occurs when there is "imbalance of pain versus coping resources". Well it seemed indeed that her Pain was much greater than her abilities to cope with it. How tragic !!!

Palace of Pena

The extravagant palace, one of the main landmarks of Sintra municipality, was built on a rock ridge overlooking the town of Sintra. It used to be summer home of portuguese monarchs. The exterior is colorful and has a cyllindric bastion, a clock tower, arches, two gates - a blend of european and arabic style. The view from the palace and its gardens is stunning.

The impressive Palacio da Pena

romantic view of the palace


  1. Beautiful pictures and a sad story. It's such a shame that people feel so lost that there is no way out. We have such a beautiful world filled with so many possibilities.
    Have a Wonderful Day, Duta!

  2. Yes ChicGeek, and what bothers me most is that in many cases there's no outer sign that the person might do something like this.

  3. I think that's what's hardest for those they leave behind. They feel guilt, if only they had
    been more observant they could have helped. I don't think this is true.
    Sometimes terrible things just happen. Maybe those terrible things make the living appreciate how precious the gift of life is.

  4. Hi - thanks for stopping by my blog. I am always amazed that someone takes suicide as a way out. I was heartbroken when an old school friend committed suicide. I guess I just didn't know the pain she was feeling. I wish I could have helped somehow. I still miss her.

  5. Hi Lover of Life,
    They say, if someone has suicidal tendency, nothing and no one could could prevent this from happening. If not this time, then next time. Heartbreaking indeed.

  6. Hello, Duta!
    It is Português.Em soon put images in your language.
    Thanks and see you soon.

  7. Hi Duta!!! I love Camoes. I'd love to visit Cabo da Roca and Palace of Pena. of my ancestors. What a pretty country and how lucky you are to know all these fabulous places.


  8. Thanks for visiting my blog.

    I know a very little of english, please... excuse me.

    Have a nice day, Duta!

  9. Bruna Kim, Marisa


  10. MARIPA,

    Sorry I've mispelled your name.

    Welcome !

  11. Hi Michelle,

    The line that Camoes wrote about the place:".. where the earth ends and the sea begins.." is very powerful. As I understand, he's a very loved portuguese poet.