Landslides in Portugal and Colorado

August 21, 2009 on 9:51 am | In portugal travel, things travelers need to know, travel warnings | Comments Off

When sitting on a sunny beach, the last thing we think about is safety, at least as long as we are not in the water. Similarly, when we are on vacation and driving a car, we drive defensively, but rarely worry about anything other than the drivers on the road. During this last week, we learned that we need to be a little more “”aware” when on vacation.

Earlier this morning a portion of a cliff above the beach in eastern Albufeira ( a coastal town southern Portugal between Portimao to the west and Faro to the east) collapsed and two people, who were sunbathing, were killed by the landslide. The cliff area apparently was well-signed indicating that it was unstable. See the BBC for more details and a video.

We have hiked along beaches with signs warning that the cliffs were “dangerous”, but we had always considered that this was a warning not to climb or hike up them. While cliffs certainly add to the beauty of a beach, we now realize that we had better pay more attention to those warning signs.

Last Saturday, near Aspen, Colorado a man driving his family home from vacation was killed when a briefcase-sized boulder fell off a mountain and through the windshield of his car (see for more information). At the time, the vehicle he was driving was on a steep downhill and his wife, from the passenger seat, managed to stop the vehicle before injury to her and her family. We’ve driven mountain roads numerous times and read the signs warning about the possiblity of falling rocks, but for some reason always visualized them as something that we could see and combatting them would require defensive driving, swerving and braking. For some reason we had never thought that perhaps we would not even see the rock that might threaten our car.

So, when you are on the road or at the beach, be prepared for the unexpected. It’s probably not what you want to hear, but it is a safety practice that you should think about when you travel.

Our heart goes out the the families of those who lost thier lives in these terrible accidents.

Click for the ThereArePlaces Website

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