We arrived in Lisbon late in the afternoon. We took off for the beach and the Algarve the next morning. We’d be back in Lisbon for the weekend.
Have you heard of the Algarve? I hadn’t until we started doing our vacation research. It’s the scenic and rugged coastline along southern Portugal, and quite beautiful! Our stops included the towns of Lines, Sagres, Cape Saint Vincent, Salema, and Lagos. The ladder three each have a particular claim to fame. Sagres and Cape Saint Vincent are the furthest southwest location in all of Europe. Salema is best known today as a sleepy fishing village, and a great place to kick back and relax. Lagos features the iconic rocky coast and photogenic imagery of the Algarve. Lines, an unplanned stop, is near the picturesque scene in the photo above.
In the 1400’s, Henry the Navigator is thought to have founded his navigation school at Fort Sagres. The location is craggy, windswept, and steep. The wedge-shaped site juts sharply out into deep and mysterious waters of the Atlantic. Seamen of the day, educated with all the available and knowledge and equipment of the time, set sail from here into the unknown. History knows this place to be shrouded in tales of foreboding and legend. The vivid and superstitious imaginings called it the “end of the world”. Each sailor wondered − would they would find treasure, fall off the edge of the earth, or return from whence they came?
Besides the intriguing history, the site is an unexpected host to rare migrating birds and unusual, nearly extinct foliage. Some botanists believe several of these plants are unique to this location. The harshest of conditions makes me wonder how much of anything could live there. But any gardener will affirm, nature is adaptable and will find a way to survive.
As we rounded the last turn of our walk along this craggy coastal edifice, an intriquing round structure, purpose unknown, called for our attention. We approached, and went in with some trepidation to find concentric concrete walls creating the feeling of a open-air cave of sorts. Yes, that is a contradiction in terms. A natural cave was below us, and we stood on open grates above deep crevices. It was quite an eery and humbling feeling to hear and feel the rush of air and the roar of the powerful ocean tide hundreds of feet below.
Next… on to Saint Vincent, Salema, and Lagos. We will get to Lisbon… eventually. I’m having a great time recalling the details of our trip experience!
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