What were you thinking?

(Nighttime in the sand dunes of Figueroa da Foz)

Next morning we headed for Figueira da Foz. This town was recommended by a Portuguese Camino walker friend who was here. It is lovely, thank you!

(An adorable statue gifted to the town for their role in world peace)

There’s a huge, gigantic sandy beach and huge sand dunes. Huge in coastline and in distance from land to water. Very impressive. There’s also a cute little old town with plenty of cafes and restaurants and even a casino.

(Wording at the statue)

We were in a restaurant in the old town on Monday night when we saw Notre Dame was in flames. (Did I mention every restaurant has a tv or two playing constantly?) It was a strange moment of disbelief, shock and sadness.

(Our view)

Since then I have been wondering why I was so affected. Yes, I have seen the cathedral in real life. No, I was never inside. No, I have no special memories attached to it. No, I’m not (secretly) French. And yet… I was upset. On top of that I had this intense interest in discovering if it was an accident or an attack.

(There was an old fort across the road with bunting)

It turns out it’s not the cathedral burning that’s upsetting me. It’s the meaning I was applying to the burning of this famous place that’s upsetting me. You can see a hint in the fact that I am so interested to discover if it was an accident or an attack. I have given that meaning too.

(Huge art piece on the boardwalk)

So what meaning is my mind giving to this situation? My mind thinks that if a huge part of the definition of Paris can be destroyed then nothing is safe. If nothing is safe then I’m not safe. That’s very upsetting indeed to my mind. And what about my interest in the cause of the fire? The difference between an accident and an attack? An accident is less frightening because there are no baddies when it’s an accident. No baddies means no future danger to me, just an accident, all over now.

It definitely upsets me to realise I’m so self-centered, Mairead.

(Here we are on the map. Free parking in the car park near the fort at the beach near the old town)