When we were researching this trip, I saw photos of an incredible beach on Spain’s northern Coast, Playa de las Catedrals, or in English, the Beach of the Cathedrals.
It seemed like a perfect name for a beach that was home to a series of immense natural arches that looked like flying buttresses on a Gothic cathedral.
This was something I really wanted to see. So I talked Jamie into taking a day and night away from our stay in Porto and substituting a four hour drive north to see the beach. The key phrase in that last sentence was “talked Jamie into,” because she really loves Porto and wasn’t really crazy about the idea of taking a day out of our stay there.
To make a long story short, we did it, but probably shouldn’t have. The weather sucked — it was gray and cloudy and rainy. The arches were far smaller and less impressive than they seemed in the online photos. There were more people on the beach that you’d find at Disneyland on a busy summer day. And, on top of everything else, our hotel was, well, let’s be generous and say it was not the Ritz Carlton.
This is what the professional photos look like. Perfect light, perfect clouds, perfect water. The arches look spectacular. And huge. Let’s not forget huge.
But this is what our reality looked like. Gray, rainy skies. Just enough sun and hazy clouds to blow out the sky. And people. Lots of people. And to add insult to injury, the arches look kind of puny.
Once again, the professional photographer had perfect light, perfect sky, a perfect water. And all those people seem to have fled the beach as if the professional photographer had leprosy.
We must look like the very pictures of health, because all those people who fled from the leprosy-carrying professional photographer have returned in full force.
Playa de las Catedrals may not have been everything I had hoped for, but there were compensating factors that made it pretty damn great.